Ramadan in UAE: Fitness and nutrition tips
You can spend the month building self-discipline, along with faith.
The holy month of Ramadan is a great time to restore balance and focus on living a healthy life. While many people spend the month focusing on binge eating, you can actually spend the month building your self-discipline and use your time to focus on faith not food.
I’ve noticed that a lot of my Muslim clients that fast during the holy month fear that they will lose all the progress they have made towards their fitness goals during Ramadan. The latter, however, is not true if they follow the right plan and make some adjustments to their schedules.
Work out after Iftar
When possible, avoid working out during fasting hours and wait till after iftar to hit the gym. This will ensure you have adequate energy to work out and will allow you to drink water while you train. If this is not possible, exercise just before breaking your fast so you can rehydrate immediately after.
Ramadan is not a time where you should be looking to make maximum progress. Instead of aiming for more reps, more sets and more cardio; reduce your intensity and just focus on building and maintaining healthy habits.
Listen to your body
Pay attention to how your body feels. If your training time isn’t working for you or the food you’re eating isn’t giving you enough energy, change it. Your body is smarter than you give it credit for and while you’re fasting, it’s extremely important to give it what it needs.
Avoid processed food
Eating healthy and limiting refined sugars can have a massive impact on how you feel while fasting. If you cut out salty, processed and fried food, you don’t feel as dehydrated as you would otherwise.
Drink enough water
With a smaller eating and drinking window, most people don’t drink enough water in Ramadan. It’s important to drink plenty of water however, the trick is to sip this gradually and not guzzle it down in one go. Drinking a glass or two of water as soon as you break your fast will also make you less likely to binge.
Choose carbs wisely
Complex, fibrous, slow-release carbohydrates including wholegrain rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, or sweet potatoes are great while you are fasting because it takes longer to break them down. Such foods will release energy slowly and stabilise your blood sugar.
Yasir Khan is a Dubai-based transformation expert with 17 years of experience in fitness and mind coaching.