May 10, 2019, by Charlotte Gauja

How to Keep Fit during the Month of Ramadan

University of Nottingham Sport will be extending their offer during Ramadan to accommodate for members who will be fasting over the next month. We will be offering extended opening times, 1-1 fitness programmes and guidance. One of our instructors, who is providing 1-1 fitness programmes during this month, has created some top tips on keeping fit during Ramadan.

The biggest adaptation you’ll need to make is to your workout times. There are three times of day when a workout would be most effective whilst fasting, make sure avoid high intensity exercises:

  1. Before Suhoor – Training before your morning meal is when a lot of people normally train, however during Ramadan this will probably mean training at 3am. If you’re not fussed about having strange sleeping hours this will be the most effective time to fit in a work out. You can replenish your protein and nutrient levels afterwards as well as being able to drink fluids during the workout itself … but it would be at 3am.
  2. 1 hour before breaking your fast (Iftar) – Generally good for a low intensity workout rather than HIIT or weight training. Your carbohydrate levels will be very low at this time so you won’t have as much energy as you normally would, however it’s a more sociable hour. Major downside is you can’t drink water during your workout so make sure you get plenty of fluids in the moment you break your fast.
  3. After Iftar – The added benefit of training after Iftar is there will have been plenty of time for your evening meals to digest. You can also drink water or workout drinks whilst training.

There is no perfect time to exercise during Ramadan, it’s all about what works for you.

Diet and Water

Exercise and nutrition should go hand-in-hand during Ramadan, People should focus on good quality nutrition in order to keep energy up during the day and while exercising as well as workout consistency.

Those wanting to exercise after Iftar to break their fast with a small meal, consisting of natural sugars like dates or fruit and carbohydrates, and then allow some time to digest before exercising. The workout should be followed with a bigger meal consisting of protein-rich foods as well as lots of water to replenish lost fluids.

Make sure your diet is varied and has a good balance of all the major food groups – for example carbohydrate, protein and fat – including lots of fruit and vegetables, try to eat things that release energy slowly so you will feel less hungry between meals and it will keep you going, such as oats, wholegrains and high-fibre foods.

Maintaining fluid levels plays an important role is staying healthy during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Water is one of the most important components of the human body representing between 60 to 70 percent of the human body weight. Water plays an important role in the vital performance of many body systems and organs. During the Holy Month of Ramadan, it is necessary to drink plenty of fluids, especially water because of the long period of fasting and high temperatures. Water, juices and soups, as well as vegetables and fruits, are good sources of fluids for the body.

However, a fasting person should drink extra water because water contains no calories and could compensate for the body’s fluids lost due to fasting.

Other calorie-rich drinks can cause weight gain and stimulant drinks such as coffee and tea can increase fluid loss because they are diuretics. Some vegetables such as watercress and fruits like watermelon known for their high content of water are recommended as a rich source of liquids.

Note: It is generally advisable to avoid, or at least limit, some types of foods during Ramadan, such as:

  • Fried and fatty foods, such as fried potato and samosa. These foods contain a high percentage of the daily recommended fat and sodium intake, so eating them frequently may increase the impact of fatigue and exhaustion caused by fasting in Ramadan.
  • Foods that contain high amounts of salt, such as pickles. Sodium can dehydrate the body and impact its ability to absorb fluids.
  • Foods that contain large amounts of sugar. These foods are often high in calories but poor in nutritional value. While these foods provide the body with instant energy, the energy is generally short lived.

Sleeping pattern in the Holy Month of Ramadan

During Ramadan your sleeping schedule is likely to be disrupted enough as it is, waking up early to eat before sunrise and staying up late to fill up on calories and nutrients you’ve missed out on during the day. Knowing this you should make a conscious effort to get in as much sleep as possible. If your working hours permit, then take a nap after work and before Iftar to try and get in as close to the ideal 8 hours a day as possible.

Not getting enough sleep not only lowers your energy levels and worsens your concentration but has a whole host of negative physical side effects. It is during sleep that growth hormones are released that repair the skin and muscle tissue. Reduced sleep has also been linked to decreased production of leptin peptides and higher levels of gherlin. And as we all know leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite while gherlin stimulates hunger. Not what you need when you’re fasting all day.

If you would like more advice or support regarding your training type and pattern during Ramadan then please email Raza who will be happy to help

Have a lovely Ramadan. 

Posted in Health and Fitness