From April 23 to May 23, Muslims across the world observed the holy month of Ramadan as millions came together for 30 days of prayer, reflection, and community.
Norwich City Under-23s striker Gassan Ahadme completed Ramadan for what he said could be his ninth time, as he explained more on the month.
“Once a year, Muslims have a month where we fast during the whole day, from sunrise to sunset. We’re only allowed to eat and drink from 4:30am to 9:00am or 10:00am, it’s a sacred month.
“We do it to feel how people less fortunate than us do, those who don’t have much to eat and live poorly for the whole year. We do it to empathise with those people and be aware what they’re going through. I’ve been doing Ramadan for eight, maybe nine years, so I’m quite used to it.”
Discussing the physical requirements of a professional club, Ahadme said it’s been a bit more challenging to complete training during Ramadan in recent years.
“I’ve been in a professional club for the last two years, where the demand is higher than other clubs, so it’s been a bit more challenging to follow my programme and do my runs.
“With the help of Jay [Eastoe-Smith, Head of Academy Sports Science], we planned on how I should get my nutrition during the hours that I can eat.
“I’m not finding it really difficult, but when it reaches about 6pm I start to feel more tired than normal. I manage to do my runs and follow the programme during the lockdown though, so that’s the main thing.”
Asked about his day-to-day routine during the month and support from the coaching staff, Ahadme revealed a bit more detail on his plan to work around fasting and training.
“I wake up at 3am, prepare my food and get ready to eat. Once I’m finished, which is around 4:30am, I rest for about an hour to digest my food.
“After that I go straightaway to train because that’s the time of the day where I have the most energy, as I’ve just finished eating, so I can feel that energy and work my hardest.
“I normally work from 6am to 8am and then I rest in the afternoon, before my next session. We’ve timed that session to be about an hour before I can eat again, then I can work and take my supplementation.
“The main thing the coaches told me is that I don’t have to follow the programme completely. If one day I’m not feeling good or I can’t do my runs or anything too easily, I don’t have to worry about it.
“It hasn’t been really difficult because I’m used to it, but the main thing they tell me is to not stress myself, as it’s not a big deal and to just do what I can. I asked about nutrition and that was really good, they gave me tips on what to eat to help me.”
Speaking on how he’s finding his experience this year, Ahadme said the absence of football and a full training schedule has made it much easier for him.
“It has been made so much easier now football isn’t on, as I’m back home in Spain. It’s nicer to be with my family as we all prepare the food, everything is a lot easier.
“When we’re training at the Lotus Training Centre, the schedule is really tough, because we train a lot. We do a training session, then a gym or another training session right after, so being at home during lockdown has made it a lot more convenient and less tiring for me.”