Should We Be Working Out in Ramadan?

fitnessUsually for even the most die-hard gym lovers, Ramadan can shift and change normal workout routines. HEALTH speaks to Fitness Manager Subodh Balakrishnan at the Body & Soul Health Club in Ajman to find out how we can still stay fit and healthy throughout Ramadan.

Exercise is Key

Exercise is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, reveals Balakrishnan. “If you do it right, it brings huge positives into your life; both physical and mental,” he says and for this reason, you should absolutely continue to train during this period.

Specific Benefits in Ramadan

According to Balakrishnan, quality exercise will definitely help avoid weight gain during Ramadan. “People tend to break their fast with big meals and then sleep,” he tells and as the body slows down, all the calories you consume is likely to be stored on your body during sleep. Therefore, if you have a brief exercise session during
the day, those calories can be used up by a body looking to put itself back together again.

Timing Matters

The best time to train, suggests Balakrishnan, is two hours after Iftar. “Your body has been refuelled with a large meal and therefore has the energy and hydration to go through a gruelling workout,” he explains. “This is the best time to hit the gym and do some muscle training.” He advises to work hard, but be smart. Fasting does impact the body, so he points out that this is definitely not the time to try to smash all of your personal bests. “While some people train before they break the fast, the problem with this is it can trigger low blood sugar levels, so there may accompanied feelings of dizziness and nausea,” he notes. “Furthermore, after fasting all day, your body will lack energy stores; it’s therefore more likely to breakdown muscle for energy instead of carbs or fats – which we don’t want.”

Which Exercise To Do?

Balakrishnan recommends compound exercises which are basically any exercise that involves the use of more than one major muscle group at a time. “Typically, there is one larger muscle group that ends up doing the majority of the work, and then one or more smaller muscle groups that are recruited secondarily,” he says. “This sort of training helps to keep our metabolism higher, therefore leaving no chance for fat accumulation.”

Tips to Losing Fat in Ramadan

Fasting, indicates Balakrishnan, improves fat loss. “You can get away with more carbs than you would normally, without gaining fat,” he explains. “The following are some tips to keep you on track.”

  • Get Stronger. Strength training prevents muscle loss. Keep lifting weights and work at getting stronger.
  • Eat Healthy. Eat whole, unprocessed foods 90 percent of the time–chicken breast, canned tuna, oats, rice, pasta, bananas, and eggs.
  • Drink Water. Avoid coffee and green tea as they are diuretics. Drink water to avoid dehydration. Aim for about three and a half liters between dawn and dusk.
  • Avoid Junk Food. Lots of people gain weight during Ramadan because they gorge themselves with foods that aren’t healthy.
  • Avoid Cardio. You can’t drink water during he fast so cardio or HIIT is a bad idea. Stick with lifting only until Ramadan ends.
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