How to keep fit during Ramadan

Adjust your fitness goals and reduce the intensity is the advice from our fitness professional.

June 30, 2015

While it’s important you know how to eat healthy during Ramadan, exercising regularly is just as vital although also just as tough, especially if you’re fasting.

Not putting any fuel in your body for long periods of the day mixed with the Gulf’s intense summer heat can understandably leave you feeling like you have no energy to hit the gym.

But exercising during the Holy month is highly recommended. Partly because you need to burn off those gluttonous Iftars, but also because it’s easy to lose muscle and add on additional fat during long periods without food and water as your body goes into hibernation mode, consuming and storing fat to cope with the prolonged periods without fuel.

Here are five tips from Nathan Brown, group exercise manager at Fitness First, on how to stay fit during Ramadan:

1. Timing

The one and a half hour window before Iftar is an ideal time to slot in your workout. At this time, exercising will take your mind off your appetite and knowing that you’ll be able to eat shortly will keep you motivated. If you can’t fit in your workout before Iftar, you could have a light Iftar and fit in a moderate-intensity evening workout. With this option, leave a two-hour window after breaking your fast, so that your body has enough time to stabilise, digest and get hydrated. Keep your workouts concentrated and short.

2. Adjust your fitness goals

This month, make your goal simply to maintain your current weight. Making fitness or weight loss improvements requires you giving your body a deficiency of some sort, which causes a reduction in energy, and often compromises the immune system. Both of these will affect your ability to fast.mansitups

3. Reduce the intensity of exercise

This allows you to stay consistent in working out without over-taxing your energy reserves. If you usually lift 10 kg weights, switch to 8 kg, and if you normally work out for an hour, reduce that to 30 or 45 minutes. Try taking 3 to 4 movements hitting major body parts in a circuit style arrangement. Four rounds of 10 reps using larger muscle groups when you train will allow you to sculpt as well as define your body during this period.

4. Mix and match

If you usually do separate cardio and resistance training sessions as a part of your workout and can’t do both in Ramadan, combine both in a resistance training circuit.

5. Be consistent

Consistency is the key to success! It will make the biggest difference in keeping you fit during Ramadan. Focus on small, regular work-outs instead of your usual routine. Do what you can, when you can. The important thing is to stay fit and stay healthy and always listen to your body.

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