The Holy Month of Ramadan can be a difficult time to stay on top of your normal fitness regime. The fasting and heat can be a horrible combination when you’re think of going to the gym or trying out an exercise class. So to help here are some tips to keep up your workouts without damaging yourself during Ramadan.
Your first instinct will be to just take a break during the fasting period, but this will confuse your body into gaining weight. As we maintain our muscle mass during exercise our body forms a routine. Break this routine and your body will slowly gain back the weight, which will also cost you extra energy. It doesn’t matter if you are not gaining muscle during Ramadan just as long as you preserve what you already have.
If you insist on an intense workout then you are still going to need carbs. Without them, your body will shut down and again you will either damage yourself or become ill. Most people will have a pre-workout meal which will be filled with carbs but as this is not an option during Ramadan try to incorporate more carbohydrates in your morning meal before you start fasting.
If you are used to doing heavy weights during your workout or your exercise programme is filled with intense endurance-filled sets then you might want to take a step back. Fasting for eight to 10 hours means your usual heavy workout won’t work and will often lead to illness. Don’t look at it as something negative—with your carbohydrate reserves depleted due to the fasting you cannot physically work out with your normal intensity, so slow down a little bit. Also try to change your workout schedule to just after your morning meal to maximise on your carbs intake.
Normally you might have several small doses of protein over the day but this is something you can’t do during fasting hours. This means you will have to have your daily intake of protein in your morning meal. Remember that protein in food will be absorbed by your body at a much slower rate than if you use powders or shakes. This means you will have the benefits of protein for a longer period during the day. If you do use protein powder then stick to the casein-based products and not whey-based.
As mentioned above, just after your morning meal is the best time to workout due to the carbs intake but this may not be a possibility for those people still working in the morning. So do your workout when you have the time enjoy it and get the most out of the energy it will provide. Don’t squeeze it in or force it into your working day as it will deplete your energy reserves and will prevent your working out again.