Working out during Ramadan may feel like too much of a strenuous task for Muslims who fast during the holy month and frankly, it can be. Using up high levels of energy on an empty stomach and maintaining your fitness can be difficult, especially when cravings kick in and you're not getting enough nutritional foods in the few hours after sundown where you do eat and drink.
However, this doesn't mean that those who would like to continue with their perfect workout routines can't do so during the special month.
Ramadan is a time for Muslims across the world to hone in on their faith, self-reflect and reconnect spiritually whilst fasting from sunrise to sundown. It is a time for community, generosity and strengthening your ties to Islam—as well as your loved ones—and preserving your own inner peace and wellness. This is why many choose to continue their fitness journeys despite the small window they have to fuel their bodies with food and water. If you'd like to do the same, then Bulk™ (opens in new tab) ambassador and fitness influencer, Maymah Makda, (opens in new tab) has the best advice.
Here, she shares her five top tips on how to maintain your fitness during Ramadan...
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How to stay safe when working out during Ramadan
Fitness influencer Maymah Makda has shared some important advice on how to ensure that you're staying safe and keeping your body healthy when working out while you're fasting.
Here are her five top tips...
1. Stay hydrated
"It seems obvious, but this is especially key when fasting for Ramadan, as there are only a few hours to fit in a full day's worth of hydration," advises Maymah. "Nutrition is also a very important element, as instead of being able to top up our hydration and macros throughout the day, we can only do this at night."
"Ideally, I would recommend having one main meal at sunset followed by snacks after prayers then try and catch up on sleep, with another small meal pre-sunrise," she advises.
2. Time your workouts effectively
"Conserving your energy is key, so consider all you have to do in a day, whether that's work, school or simply spending time with family and friends.
"Don’t use all your energy on a workout in the mid morning, as you’ll burn out very quickly. Instead, I’d recommend working out for one hour pre-sunset. "
3. Keep things simple in the gym
"When in the gym, keep things super simple—no supersets, no drop sets, no reps to failure. You’re not trying to pass out," she advises.
"Short, low-intensity workouts are best suited during this time—personally, I cut my compound movements short and only do two working sets as opposed to four, with half the weight I'd be lifting if I was not fasting.
"When it comes to accessory movements, I prefer doing working sets of eight reps at a lighter weight, as the goal here is to maintain muscle mass, as opposed to increasing strength or muscle growth. Intense cardio is definitely not something you want to do when fasting because of the risk of dehydration."
4. Plan your meals
"Breaking fast at sunset (Iftar) is usually a time spent reflecting with family and friends—and after a long day it can be easy to binge, especially if you’re staying up late into the night to fit in more meals or snacks before Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal).
Maymah advises to "plan your meals ahead of time to stay on top of your nutrition."
5. Carbs and protein are your friends
"Ensure you’re fuelling your body with good, nutritious food that’ll give you sustained energy. It’s tempting to turn to sugary foods, but you’ll soon crash after.
"Carbohydrates will power you through, whilst protein will help you sustain muscle mass."
Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty. She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.
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