How to stick to your gym routine during and after Ramadan
Exercise during Ramadan is tough - far more so than usual, for obvious reasons. Given the long fasting hours and the hunger and sleeplessness that often result, Ramadan can be a time for gym routines to crumble and for athletic gains to disappear.
It’s easy to see why somebody might allow this to happen - indeed, they might even think they don’t have any other choice than to turn their back on the gym during Ramadan. However, it needn’t be so: exercise in Ramadan is doable and worthwhile. Though you might not make the progress you usually make (though you will likely find your athleticism, strength, and endurance all diminishing over the month) you should still keep your gym routine going.
Exercise during Ramadan
At gyms in Dubai, you can still get a good Ramadan workout in: in fact, you should still aim to get in a few per week. Then, in a few short weeks, after Ramadan, it will be business as usual, your routine will still be in place, and the losses brought about by fasting will be greatly mitigated (you may even find you’ve made some gains!)
Timings will just be a little bit different, and a lot more important. This includes the timing of food, obviously, but also of training itself, and with sleep timing playing a major part.
The first week of Ramadan will be tough, as is the first week of any fast: anybody who has run an intermittent fasting protocol can attest to this. It’s the period in which the body is adapting to its new nutrient loading schedule, and when it is really learning to use alternative energy systems (like ketones, for example) where glucose is in shorter supply.
However, after this first week, adaptation should occur, and you should feel a lot more comfortable. It’s, therefore, a good idea to scale back intensity in the first week of the fast, going for much lighter workouts. Then, as you hit the second week, you can go back to a higher intensity.
This being said, exercising at gyms in Dubai during Ramadan may not look like it does during the rest of the year: it may be far less intense. Your body may not able able to handle training at your usual intensity, so don’t try to force it to. Use the month to take a more relaxed approach, not pushing yourself so hard. What you do in the gym will have a lasting effect on how well you stick to your gym routine.
In addition, you want to be careful about when you are training during the day. You need to find the best time to work out during Ramadan for you. Early morning is a good idea, as you will be freshly nourished from your pre-dawn feeding. Alternatively, it may be that training at more like 6pm could work better for you, as you will only have to wait a short while afterward to eat again. Listen to your body and get a feel for what works best.
Staying adequately nourished is key to maintaining your gym routine. Exercise during Ramadan can be tricky as hunger pangs lay you low. Therefore, make sure to bulk out your meals with slow-digesting, complex carbs and plenty of protein. This will both give you long-lasting energy and will provide you with everything you need to recover from a hard gym session.
Hydration is important, too. If you can’t drink whilst you train, make sure to take in plenty of water where you can.
Getting back into it
If you follow these important rules, exercise during Ramadan should be easy enough to sustain. You should be able to keep to your gym routine, even if what you do in the gym may be less intense than usual. Then, when Ramadan is through, you should be able to easily adapt back into your old regime at your gym in Dubai.