Streaking welterweight contender Belal Muhammad shared details on what it is like to train during Ramadan.
For those unfamiliar, Ramadan is a month-long spiritual rejuvenation within the Muslim community that occurs during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. This year, Ramada takes place from March 22 through April 21, 2023. During that time, Muslims will practice self-restraint, abstaining from food, drink, tobacco, and sexual activity, including impure thoughts, from dawn until dusk.
That can prove to be an incredibly difficult task, especially for a professional fighter such as Belal Muhammad. Last April, ‘Remember the Name’ not only trained during the sacred month of religious reflection, he even stepped inside the Octagon, going 25 minutes against top-10 contender Vicente Luque. In an interview with Arda Ocal of ESPN MMA, Muhammad spoke about the difficulties of training, weight-cutting, and competing during Ramadan.
“It’s really hard, I’m not going to lie to you. I always tell myself and I tell my coach, ‘This is the last year. No more times,’ because I’ve had three camps during Ramadan so I kind of like got a good process through it and I got it down to what works and what doesn’t work for myself, but when [they] call you for a main event spot, you’re not going to turn it down. You’re never gonna say no and it’s an opponent that I’ve had before so the opportunity was just too big.
“So for me, this time around I think having gone through it multiple times, I think I perfected it pretty much for this camp. A lot of the thing is just knowing what you’re putting into your body. You gotta know the right thing, so every night we’re fasting from sunlight to sunset so right before I wake up in the morning. We usually wake up at 3 a.m, 4 a.m. and I’m putting all the right liquids right into my body. I’m trying to get at least one Pedialyte in and at least half a gallon to a gallon of water.”
Alhamdillah Ramadan is here this week perfect timing to reset and remind myself of what’s really important
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 19, 2023
Belal Muhammad Discusses the Mental Advantages of Training During Ramadan
Discussing the differences in training during Ramadan compared to any other time of the year, Belal Muhammad believes that, despite the disadvantages of fasting, his mind is clearer than his opponents which will ultimately give him an edge when the two men step inside the Octagon.
“It differs a lot. Just based off of how my body feels. I think mentally I’m in a different place during Ramadan because it’s not just fasting from food and water. You’re fasting from a lot of the things you should try not to do. If you’re a curser, you should try not to curse. If you used to waste time watching TV or something. You’re trying to bring yourself closer to God in general. You’re trying to bring… You’re trying to read the Quran a lot more. You want to listen to prayers a lot more. Not rap music. Not stay on Tik Tok the whole time.
“I think your mind’s a lot more clear and for me, it’s getting my mind off the fight because I’m trying to get closer to God. It’s not like I’m going through stresses of, ‘What is my opponent doing? What is this guy doing?’ I know he’s not doing what I’m doing. I know that he’s not fasting. I know that he’s not working out without drinking water so I already know I’m beating him on that level right now. That’s giving me that edge.”