The Most Effective Way to Work Out If You’re Fasting During Ramadan | Savoir Flair
Ramadan
The Most Effective Way to Work Out If You’re Fasting During Ramadan
article @NIKEWOMEN
by Savoir Flair 4-minute read March 1, 2024

We asked three personal trainers to share their advice for keeping fit over the next month.

Keen to stay fit throughout Ramadan? Exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holy month can be challenging, especially when fasting prohibits eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. However, fitness experts assure that with the right approach, it's entirely possible to stay active and healthy. Adapting your workout routine and diet to accommodate the fasting hours is key to achieving this balance.

We asked three personal trainers for their insights on how to effectively maintain fitness during Ramadan. Here's what they had to say.

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1

Hydrate in the Morning

Drinking as much water as possible between iftar and suhoor can help reduce your risk of dehydration during the day – especially if you’re planning to work out at some point, says Sunny Salique, personal trainer and ambassador for Bio-Synergy. “It’s the only water you’re able to have until sundown – which falls at about 6:30pm this year – which means you’re fasting for almost 12 hours.”

“I usually have around four big glasses of water just before sunrise, to make sure I’m hydrated for the day ahead.”

2

Find Your Golden Hour

Fasting is different for everyone, so it’s all about finding the workout time that’s best for you. “I personally train in the evening, several hours after I’ve broken my fast, as it means I can drink water during my sessions and not worry about dehydration,” says Salique.

Souad Gharib, owner of women-only personal training service Female Trainer, says getting her workouts done early in the day helps her feel energized during the challenging afternoon hours when hunger and fatigue can typically set in. “In the evenings during Ramadan, I’m completely zapped out. Exercising before I break my fast works for me, as I personally feel like I have a bit more energy if I do it first thing in the morning.”

3

Join a 24-Hour Gym

You don’t have to sacrifice the weights room while you’re fasting. “Most gyms close at 10pm, but if you join a local 24-hour gym for the month of Ramadan, it gives you the flexibility to work out after you’ve broken your fast or between prayer,” says Salique, “You could work out at home of course, but I like getting outside and being in a new surrounding.”

4

Try Strength Training

If you’re a fan of HIIT workouts, it’s tempting to stick to your usual cardio schedule, but it’s advisable to switch to workouts that aren’t so intense – with lower reps and more rest time.

“I like to take my workouts quite slow during Ramadan, and I usually choose to do strength training,” says Gharib. “That way I can continue with my leg days, upper body days, and split days, but I’m not working out in a way where I’m sweating lots and feeling thirsty. It’s slow and controlled for me – it’s not about smashing my personal best.”

5

Eat a Filling Breakfast

“Eat a good breakfast (before sunrise) with complex carbohydrates,” advises Salique. “For me, that includes lots of oats and nuts with dates and bananas, as this will give you slow-release energy through the day and keep you fuller for longer.”

6

Make Time for Recovery

Every workout regime needs rest built into it – but when you’re waking up early to pray and going to bed late during Ramadan, it can be tricky to get the sleep you need. “Naps are so important for recovery. I usually go back to sleep after morning prayer at 5am and have a little nap, then exercise at 9am,” says Gharib, while Salique says he takes a nap from 5pm until it’s time to break fast, to re-energize himself.

“It’s all about being strategic,” says Gharib. “You can feel really light-headed in the first week, so have more frequent power naps during the day if you can.”

7

Exercise, Even If It’s Only for 10 Minutes Per Day

If you don’t have the energy for a 45-minute workout, just factor in whatever gentle activity you can.

“Stretch, do yoga, go for a walk – whatever kind of movement you feel up to doing, just do it,” says body transformation coach Nazia Khatun. “It will help your mental wellbeing, as sitting down all day long – or sleeping – can make you feel even more fatigued and tired.”

Salique adds: “I don’t train for longer than an hour, which is less than usual for me, and I keep my workouts very easy to sustain during Ramadan.”

8

Eat the Foods You Enjoy

Fitness experts assure that you can eat the foods you enjoy without cutting out any food groups during this period. "Ramadan is not the time to diet," Khatun stresses. "If you eat in moderation and factor in good portion sizes, you’ll find yourself feeling better for every day of Ramadan – which will elevate your energy levels throughout the fasting period." This approach underscores the importance of a balanced diet even while fasting.

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