Many people struggle to keep to a healthy lifestyle, diet and fitness regimen under normal circumstances. Even when we have access to the best quality nutrition, training facilities and all the rest and relaxation between workouts we could ever want, keeping fit is hard!
When these things are taken away, it becomes that much harder.
This is the situation for nearly 2 billion Muslims around the world for a full month every year, as Ramadan begins. Exercising during Ramadan - hitting the gym during Ramadan - is tough but not impossible
Sleep patterns are broken up as people prepare and eat their meals before the crack of dawn (often 4am or thereabouts) and after sunset (often around 10pm). Nutrition can fall by the wayside as inadequate macronutrients are taken in during such slim windows, and as water is under-consumed and neglected throughout daylight hours. Energy levels plummet because of all of this, and exercise can become a monumental task.
However, there are some things you can do with regards to your Ramadan workouts to make the process a little easier on yourself and to make sure that you are able to stick to your program. Here are 8 tips from the best personal trainers in Dubai to help you ease into the process:
Exercise during Ramadan: 8 top tips
1. Make sure to keep your diet varied, with a good balance of all the major food groups and macronutrients. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats all need to be taken, from diverse sources. Include lots of fruits and vegetables for fibre, plenty of lean protein, and as much healthy fat as you can.
2. Eat slow release foods like oats and wholegrains, alongside high-fibre foods, to keep your energy levels up during the day. This will help you to motivate yourself at the gym, retain a degree of mental clarity, and will help to keep hunger pangs at bay.
3. Keep yourself hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty when you can, taking in as much water as you need to keep yourself hydrated during the fasting hours. Pay attention to electrolytes: eat salty food for the sodium, eat electrolyte-heavy fruits like bananas, and try to get some sugar into your diet for glucose.
4. Going to the gyms in Dubai during Ramadan can hard enough, let alone pushing yourself hard when you get there. Try going for moderation, rather than hitting beast mode. Diet and exercise need to be in moderation throughout the whole month and intensity levels will vary from person to person.
5. Rather than working on pushing the boundaries of physical progress - look for other ways to further yourself and grow. Ramadan is a perfect chance to make positive lifestyle changes outside of the gym. Use your fast as an opportunity to think about what you are eating and drinking - to make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle. This could mean quitting smoking or drinking excess caffeine. The month’s fast is also a time of meditation and reflection: work on these as much as exercise during Ramadan.
6. Timing is everything when it comes to your Ramadan workout schedule. According to the best personal trainers, there are a couple of times throughout the day when training is most opportune. The first is early morning, around 6-7pm, so a couple of hours after your pre-dawn meal. Your body will be fresh, you will have glycogen in your body, and you should be nicely hydrated. Failing this, go for the evening, a couple of hours before you break your fast. The prospect of the upcoming meal will motivate you, you will be able to get a good nutritional fix soon after the end of training.
7. Low-intensity workouts are a good idea for exercise during Ramadan, as are shorter sessions evenly spread throughout the day. Rather than hitting a hard session for an hour and a half, try a few 20-30-minute lighter sessions.
8. This being said, and returning a little to point 4, you don’t always need to think about hitting personal bests. Trying to perform at your usual capacity will potentially burn you out, be unachievable, and will likely be disheartening. Work on perfecting form at lighter stimulation, no matter your athletic discipline, so you can come back hard when Ramadan is over.