The Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us and millions of Muslims the world over have one pressing question, “how do I manage my fitness goals during 30 days of fasting?”
Any disruption to your daily schedule, such as travelling for work or going holiday, will put a wrinkle in your health and fitness goals. So, when that routine change is in the form of a sacred month of religious practice with clear guidelines on many areas of daily life, including diet, for many it may feel like a good time to put fitness aspirations to one side.
But worry not! With a bit of careful planning and a clear nutritional strategy, keeping fit while fasting doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem at first. In fact, if you were thinking of jumping on board the Saudi Sports For All Federation’s ‘Start Now’ Campaign, then with an increased focus on daily intake and the introduction of exercise to your routine, this could even be the perfect time to start!
7 Top Tips To Stick With Your Health And Fitness Goals Over Ramadan
Adjust your mindset
There could be some days where the fasting period may seem like a long stretch of just not being able to eat. But, if you take into account the spiritual reasons for the fast and couple them with a few physical benefits, you may find the wait for Iftar to be manageable. Fasting offers several benefits, including boosting blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance, fighting inflammation, perk up your brain function, and help with weight management due to limiting calorie intake.
Just because the fasting period puts a cap on your calorie consumption, that is not an open invitation to consume everything on sight once the sun sets. Consider the window when you can break your fast and the opportunity to nourish yourself with nutrient-dense foods and water to help it absorb what it needs without putting any strain on your digestive system.
Get adequate protein
Getting the right amount of protein for your body weight can seem daunting given the smaller window for eating but with the help of a vegan protein powder, you’ll be able to maintain your muscle mass without straining your digestive system. One of the (many) massive perks of reaching for plant-based alternatives is that they are way gentler on the body when breaking your fast and won’t leave you feeling sluggish.
Rethink your carbs and sugars
It’s not an issue to have fast-burning carbs and sugars around the times of your training sessions, but in favor of avoiding a blood sugar crash and not wreaking havoc on your hormone levels, it’s best to avoid them when breaking your fast.
Schedule your workouts
You don’t have to forgo your workouts simply because you’re fasting, but rather do them within an hour (before or after) Iftar to ensure you’re adequately fed and hydrated, and you can recover. It’s also not necessary to skip your workouts either. Try to get to the gym at least three or four times a week and tweak your workout plan for lighter training sessions – if you and your friends or family join a group on the SFA App, you could help keep each other accountable to stick to your goals.
Make sleep your priority this month. Try to get eight hours a day and make the most of shorter working days by napping as much as you can. Good quality sleep will not only help you recover from your workouts but also help to stabilise your blood sugar to help ward off those hunger pangs and cravings.
By planning ahead, you’ll be able to get the most out of your fitness regimen while still adhering to the practices of the Holy Month of Ramadan without sacrificing any of the hard work you have put in during its lead-up.