The holy month of Ramadan is a very special time for the Muslim faith and community. Following the lunar calendar, Muslims across the world fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset. It is a time of great reflection, peace, forgiveness, patience and mindfulness for Muslims.
Given the nature of fasting, to go without food or drink for a prolonged period of time, many athletes and members of the Tone & Sculpt community have expressed their desire to continue some form of exercise, but they are not sure how to do this. In this feature, we aim to provide the Tone & Sculpt community with the information you need to maintain your fitness habits in the month of Ramadan.
Before we think about exercise, nutrition during Ramadan is key. Just like with your everyday exercise routine, prioritising your food and drink intake is very important. In fact, we strongly recommend sustaining balanced suhr meals (before sunrise) and iftar meals (at sunset) to manage your energy levels throughout the month of Ramadan.
Our in-house nutritionist, Nicole Ramirez, has provided further information on nutrition during Ramadan with a range of nutrition information. All of our in-app meals are designed with balance in mind and provide the fuel you will need to support your health during the month of Ramadan. Focus on your nutrition leading up to Ramadan and during the holy month, and then let’s think about exercise.
The main question: can I exercise in Ramadan? The simple answer is yes, if you want to. You may just need to adapt your exercise regime and routine to allow for the changes in diet and routine during the month.
1. Avoid high impact cardio
Depending on where you are in the world and where we are with the lunar calendar in the year, the duration of a daily fast in Ramadan can vary. Equally, if you are in a warm climate or approaching the summer season, high impact cardio is something to be mindful of.
There is research to suggest that as much as there are several benefits to fasting (many practice intermittent fasting on a regular basis), it can leave you feeling dehydrated. During the month of Ramadan, as your diet changes, your body will take time to adapt to the changes too and you may feel light headed, dizzy and tired with the lack of water during the day. We advise avoiding high impact cardio such as long distance running and HIIT training to preserve your energy and hydration levels.
2. Strength training is possible
People can be quick to avoid heavy weights and strength training during Ramadan because they think they’ll be too tired or it will take up too much energy. Naturally, your body will need time to adapt, however strength training is possible. Due to the nature of fasting, ‘bulking’ season probably isn’t one for Ramadan! However, consistency and maintenance is achievable.
You would need to consume your maintenance calorie intake (this can be calculated on the Tone & Sculpt app) and this is something to be mindful of at suhr and iftar. Ideally a great time to train is 2 hours after your iftar meal. During Ramadan, it might be helpful to reduce the volume of your training and perhaps workout with a little less pace and pressure - take your time. However, this is a choice and it is important you listen to your body. Some people choose to relax their training regime in the first week of Ramadan. Others keep it going. Some even choose to train before suhr!
All is possible, and we advise reducing volume and listening to your body.
3. Bodyweight training and walking
Bodyweight, low impact exercises are very possible during Ramadan. Combined with walking as your cardio, it is a great way to get some fresh air to beat the dehydration yawns and tiredness lulls, which are very common during Ramadan.
These types of workouts can also help pass the time and lift your energy levels across the month. There are several bodyweight workouts on the Tone & Sculpt app and the Beat Your Best challenge can also be adapted to support your exercise routine during Ramadan too.
4. Mobility, yoga and pilates
Workouts like yoga, pilates and mobility workouts are great during Ramadan as they are low impact and work on aligning your mind and body in a way that may not feature with your usual workouts. It’s a great time to try something new and incorporating these low impact workouts into your routine might be a welcome change!
Some people find their joints and bones can ache during Ramadan, so it is important to keep on top of your vitamin intake, especially if you find your meals are inconsistent. Ramadan is a time to enjoy with family and we understand suhr and iftar especially can be filled with some delicious foods! We want you to enjoy this month with your family and friends and we don’t want you to continuously worry about achieving balance or losing your way with your fitness regime. It’s ok to enjoy this time and being mindful with your fruit, vegetable and vitamin intake around all the fun-filled foods is all that is needed!
Be patient and kind to yourself
The month of Ramadan is the most sacred time of the year for Muslims. If you are observing Ramadan, please do not feel pressured to work out. The month is a deliberate change to your schedule for a whole host of reasons which benefit your mind and body in different ways. You may feel the community and those around you are continuing with their fitness routine, working through their goals and making progress - so are you, in your own way and on your own journey.
Think about the rest and recovery your body is getting during Ramadan; the patience and discipline you are so graciously embodying, which will serve you so well when you return to your fitness schedule after the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations at the end of the month! In fact, you will come back to your fitness routine, brighter and raring to go!
The Tone & Sculpt familia is here to support our Muslim sisters in everything you need; you’re training during the month of Ramadan is that of a true athlete; Krissy and Danyele are with you 100% of the way!
We wish you a wonderful, blessed and peaceful Ramadan, from all of us at team Tone & Sculpt!