It’s around the middle of Ramadan and we’d like to congratulate all our Muslim friends for making it this far. We’re curious. Do you workout during the fasting month?
There’s no harm getting your sweat on during this period as long as you know your body and do it within moderation. Here are tips on how to successfully workout during the Ramadan month.
You know what they say about timing and in this case, it couldn’t be truer. When working out in the fasting month, you want to make sure that you’re able to accomplish all your daily tasks, workout and feel great. The last thing you’d want is to be walking around feeling like all your energy has been drained. Working out during the following times may avoid all of that:
Before Sahur (Breakfast)
This a great option if you like working out first thing when you wake up. It also allows you to rehydrate and nourish your body before the day’s fast starts. However, do keep in mind that you would have to wake up around 4am if you would like to have enough time for a 45-minute workout and Sahur.
Just before Iftar (Sundown)
When choosing this option, always check-in with yourself before and during the workout to ensure that you’re up to it. You should also properly hydrate yourself prior to fasting to avoid dehydration.
However, there are two sides to this coin. Working out while fasting may result in the loss of lean muscle. The reason for this because the body starts breaking down muscle when it thinks it’s starving. On the other hand, a benefit of working out while fasting is that the body is more efficient at burning fat. When we fast, our body’s sugar (glycogen) is used up which will result in the muscles using body fat for energy.
A few hours after Iftar
Once you’ve broken fast and had your dinner, be sure to give yourself at least 1/2 hours rest before working out. Strenuous physical activity on a full stomach may lead to some terrible side effects like vomiting, nausea and hiccups. But will all this activity so close to bedtime affect your sleep? Not according to Journal of Sleep Research’s study that found that an addition of a 35-minute workout did not affect their participant’s sleep.
If your poison is working out while fasting, then what you put into your body will make a world of difference when it comes to your day’s performance. Sure, that Roti Bom is tempting but how long will it keep you going during your fast especially if you intend to workout? Try including these foods for Sahur to help you get the best out of your workout and fast:
Foods that give you long lasting energy
- These foods will keep you going throughout the day. Say goodbye to that sloth-like feeling.
- Ex: Banana, sweet potato, eggs, apple, quinoa, oats, edamame, lentils, etc.
Foods that digest slower
- Food that digests slower will keep you feeling satisfied and full for a longer period. That means that mid-day tummy grumble will come later or maybe even not at all.
- Ex: Vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts, bread, etc.
Most importantly, DRINK LOTS OF WATER. The body can survive up to 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water. That’s because about 60% of the body is made up of water and needs it to help get rid of waste, regulate the temperature and as a lubricant for the joints. So, do drink a minimum of 2 litres a day.
When working out while fasting, it’s an absolute must to know that you aren’t going to perform as well as you would if you weren’t. This is perfectly normal and in fact, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Whatever your motivations are for working out, your wellbeing should always come first.
Avoid trying new workouts
Now is not the time to be trying out that new cycling class or twerking workshop. As exciting as starting a new workout is, you are unable to foresee how your body will react to the intensity of the workout. Adding another layer which is fasting, you do not want to push yourself beyond what you’re capable off especially as your not drinking or eating.
Stick to simple workouts
Think of easy workouts such as swimming, walking, basic yoga and etc. You could always do your usual workouts but with its intensity reduce by at least half. If you happen to feel faint or dizzy when working out, stop immediately and break your fast or visit the doctor.
Keep your body cool
The last thing you need any Ramadan is heat exhaustion or worse, a heat stroke. When deciding where to workout when fasting, choose cool and shaded places such as a gym or at home. Wearing loose-fitting clothes will also help as it allows air to flow past your skin, taking excess heat with it.
We wish you the best of luck with working out this Ramadan. Remember that you should make sure that you feel up to working out before you do. If you don’t, there’s no harm in giving yourself a rest.
To all our Muslim friends, Happy Ramadan and safe fasting!
Disclaimer: This article can be used as a guide. Do consult with your doctor prior to working out during Ramadan.