Some people can’t be bothered with exercising during Ramadan. But by not exercising for an entire month you are much more likely to lose strength, gain weight and feel less energetic.
So how can you remain active whilst fasting? Here are five guidelines to help:
Adjust your fitness goals: No matter what
your fitness goal is, put your ambitions on hold in Ramadan. During this month,
your aim should not be to improve your fitness levels but to maintain what
you've already achieved. You can do that by setting easier, yet slightly
challenging goals. Reduce the intensity and duration of your workouts and make
sure you maintain an easier workout programme throughout the 30 days.
- Don’t work out while fasting: The best time to perform your strength or weight training workout is not while you are fasting. If you are exercising when you don’t have energy, your body will significantly increase a catabolic hormone called cortisol, which can cause a lot of muscle breakdown. An hour after Iftar is the best time to exercise.
What type of workout: Perform more weight training exercises and limit cardio exercises to no more than twice a week. Listen to your body and do short and intense 20 to 30 minute workouts, or try yoga and pilates. If you wish to alter your exercise routine, you can play a game of basketball, squash or football. Some people may prefer to go out for a brisk walk after Iftar. The trick is to change up your routine and try different ways to exercise, so that you don’t get lethargic.
Watch what you eat: Consume healthy foods and drinks between Iftar and Suhoor, this way you will have more energy to carry you through the day as you fast. Eat foods such as dates, fish, raw and unfiltered honey, figs and olive oil. Eat a small healthy meal every two hours or so to spread and sustain your energy level.
- Consistency is key: It is vital that you remain at least 80% consistent in your exercising efforts. Remaining determined to exercise requires self-discipline that may be a challenge to some. Rather than not exercising at all, to help you remain consistent, you can modify your workout for the days that you feel you lack motivation.
The reality is, you can fast and exercise if you set
realistic goals, know when to exercise, and remain attentive to what you eat.
If you want to maintain what you have worked so hard to attain, avoid the Iftar
gorge-fest, relax for an hour, then make sure you go do some exercise that you
feel happy and comfortable doing.
Be disciplined and consistent, as best you can, throughout the 30 days of Ramadan, and you will maintain your current fitness level.
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