Find what works for your body! Maintaining a health and fitness routine during the month of Ramadan isn't all that difficult. This is actually the key! What works for your gym buddy might not necessarily work for you. It's all about knowing your body and understanding when it is able to function optimally. Ramadan is a month of reflection and a key time to focus on your body and your health, acknowledging your achievements and even setting new goals.
While people who are fasting might think that all gains will be lost during this month, a better way of approaching exercise during Ramadan is to think about maintaining a moderate level of activity, slightly below your normal intensity level, to make sure all of your accomplishments up until now remain.
Here are some of the questions I'm often asked...
Should I exercise or postpone all activities for during the month of Ramadan?
I think that this is very much a personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer, however, most experts agree that, unless your medical practitioner says otherwise, you should continue with your normal routine - at a lower than usual intensity. Try to find out what timings work for you based on your energy levels. This is done by trial and error, especially during the first week of Ramadan. Sensibility should prevail and needless to say, please stop training if you feel weak, dizzy or sick.
What should I eat at Suhoor and Iftaar?
Try to consume wholesome, complex carbohydrate-based foods that are high in fibre. They're slow-digesting and they'll sustain you for as long as possible. A few examples of these include bran cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds.
Foods to avoid are refined carbohydrates including sugar, white flour or fatty foods like cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. Most importantly, steer clear of deep fried foods. You can use the Glycaemic Index to distinguish between foods that yield a slow or fast to release of energy.
Try to avoid coffee as it is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss. Needless to say, try to exercise portion control during Iftaar and drink water too.
The holy month of Ramadhan is all about training the body and the mind. This discipline can be applied to just about any activity and exercise routine that you embark on.