Whether you’re an all-year-long gym enthusiast or prefer seasonal workouts to get ready for the summer, Ramadan has to be a bit of a challenge for you. Reaching your goals isn’t impossible, but it’s all about re-adjusting your routine during this holy month. While you may aspire to reach an ideal physique, it is also important to remember your body’s limitations; so try out these six simple tips and treat your body properly during those 30 days of fasting.
1. Understand Your Eating Schedule
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Your body gets used to an eating schedule just like it does a sleep schedule. If you eat lunch every day at noon, then at 11.30 a.m. your body will release hormones that tell you that you are hungry. So for the first couple of days of Ramadan, some people recommend not working out and allowing your body to adjust to the new eating schedule. Others suggest doing a few smaller fasts before Ramadan to prepare your body for what is about to happen. Either way, do whatever feels more comfortable for you.
2. End Your Workout with Iftar
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Given that Ramadan starts mid-May to mid-June, it’s doubtful that the weather will be all that helpful to your fitness routine. So to combat thirst, try and schedule your workouts to end with iftar; that way you can exert as much effort as you want and know that at the end of your session you can rehydrate and replenish your body.
3. Choose Maintenance Over Progress
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This is an argument that a lot of professionals agree on and a lot of athletes will defy. It’s in an athlete’s nature to want to constantly progress, which is what separates the good ones from the bad ones. That being said, it’s important to know your body’s limitations given circumstances like work, university, the weather, and fasting. A lot of trainers will insist that you focus on maintaining your progress during the holy month as opposed to attempting to progress further. It would be a shame to defy that and then find out at the end of the month that you’ve actually taken a few steps back instead.
4. Eat a Light Iftar, Digest & Work Out
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This tip refers to people who play sports that are more in the weight lifting area as opposed to squash or football. The progress is much more visible in that situation so this school of athleticism suggests that you don’t work out and end it with iftar; rather have a light and moderate iftar, watch an episode of whatever’s on (giving your body a chance to digest) and then go to the gym and work out to your heart’s content. Afterwards, you can come home to a healthy dinner.
5. Don't Get Technical
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If you subscribe to the pre-iftar work out, it’s important that you understand that anything too technical or anything that requires a lot of focus isn’t necessarily the best idea after you’ve deprived your body of food and water for about 15 hours. No matter how well you think your body handles fasting, there are cognitive effects that occur with food and water deprivation. Don’t try and do an Olympic snatch and grab with a barbell or go into the streets of downtown and practice your parkour right before iftar; you might end up hurting yourself.
6. Go Easy On Yourself
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We’re not just talking about the workouts here; Ramadan is a time for family, friends and charity after all. No one likes the buzzkill who’s always demanding that their chicken be cooked without oil or butter and no seasoning. It’s okay to allow yourself to enjoy yourself during this time without going against what you believe in. Don’t eat an entire cake, obviously, but don’t be rude if your aunt made food that isn’t necessarily the healthiest and insists that you eat. Be nice to your aunt!