A commonly asked question during the month of Ramadhan is whether one should continue to work out during the fasting period. People often try to maintain their weight during the fasting month but the truth is, most of them gain more weight during the fasting season.
In this article we will list down some dos and don’ts during Ramadhan regarding training and maintaining the fitness lifestyle that you’ve spent time building up.
- Set goals
The goal shouldn’t be to lose or even gain weight. The priority should be given to preserving lean body mass with any fat loss being a bonus to the routine. It is almost impossible to increase your sports performance during the fasting period. Compared to intermittent fasting where the fasting includes sleeping hours, Ramadhan fasting requires more discipline and awareness as people fast during the waking hours without food and water. Fasting without water will also pose a risk towards injury or dehydration during an intensive workout. In other words, the aim of exercise during Ramadhan month should be to keep a clear and fresh mind while maintaining an active lifestyle.
- Set the frequency
Generally you can maintain your normal workout routines, but if you’re a hardcore fitness freak, you can still choose to maintain your workout regime with reduced intensity. For those wanting to maintain their workout schedule, do alternate between moderate intensity and low intensity with 1-2 days of rest day for recovery and also family time. On the other hand for those wanting to loosen up a bit during Ramadhan, working out 3 times a week with one rest day in between every workout is the ideal routine.
- Set the duration
Since the body’s food intake has lessened, one session should be around 30-60 minutes depending on the intensity you are going for. Though working out on a fasted state has been proven to burn more fats and does support muscle growth, a lot find it difficult to generate energy with a low blood sugar level. In addition to that, working out long hours without nutrient replenishment will eventually lead to muscle breakdown, which is the last thing we want during Ramadhan.
- Set the intensity
Intensity of workout is highly related to the meal time. If you plan your workout before Iftar or before Suhoor, then you definitely should plan a workout with lower intensity. This is to avoid breakdown of muscles due to a too high of an intense workout and overeating during the meal time.
It is common for people who have had an intense workout to overeat. However, one might consume less during Ramadhan and thus resulting in feeling lethargic easier than usual. People might make a mistake of having a really hard workout when the truth is that they might not have even burned half of the calories of their usual workout.
- Set the time
If you plan to do a real intense workout with the goal of gaining muscle mass and losing fat, then the best timing would be after Taraweeh prayers. This is the time when the body has properly digested the food consumed, and you would have sufficient time to replenish the body with a light meal or a shake following the workout. Regardless, the workout should not exceed 30-60 minutes. Wouldn’t it be better if one takes a brisk walking exercise together with the family after the meal to strengthen the family bond and also promote a healthy lifestyle?
- Set the type
As mentioned, with the goal of maintaining muscle mass, the best thing to do is to maintain light weight training. Avoid high intensity exercises like sprinting or heavy weight lifting (go for lighter weights than you would normally go for) as it can cause joint or muscle injuries and also lead to complications such as low blood pressure, hypoglycaemia and dizziness. Cease your training if you feel weak, dizzy or sick. Always remember, Ramadan is not the time to push your limits or set personal records. Aim for 12-16 reps with light weights with compound workouts being prioritized.
Writer: Teddy @ Rev Publika (Pro Trainer cum Nutritionist)