Ramadan 2022 in UAE: Busy Muslim fitness trainer has Iftar with colleagues, calls them his extended family

'We share dishes from our native countries, celebrate UAE's multiculturalism'


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 2:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 4:10 PM

Fitness instructor Mustafa Gamel usually breaks fast in Ramadan with dates and water only with his extended family – his colleagues.

“As a fitness trainer, my job involves creating tailored fitness and wellness plans for individuals and groups. I also assign exercise routines based on clients’ physical needs and monitor their progress. I help them in achieving their fitness goals. I often break the fast at work because we have clients to look after during the evening hours,” says Gamel.

He often breaks his fast with only dates and water, followed by dinner later once clients’ classes are wrapped up for the day. Since Gamel breaks fast while on duty most of the week, he only gets an opportunity to have Iftar with his family on days off.

“Sadly, I am not getting enough time to spend spiritual days of Ramadan with my family who do sometimes insist on having Iftar with them but it’s difficult because I have clients and classes planned during the evening hours,” says Gamel, an Egyptian national, who trains clients at Body & Soul Health Club.


“My colleagues are more of an extended family, and it’s nice to break the fast with them too, especially when we share dishes of our native country - celebrating UAE's multiculturalism with colleagues of different nationalities. However, I do get to have Iftar with family during my days off,” adds Gamel, who has been a UAE resident for the past four years.

Is exercise recommended during fasting?

Gamel recommends Muslims to exercise while fasting but avoid over-exertion and burn-out.

“Yes, exercise is recommended for everyone because it doubles the benefits of fasting as your body goes through a detoxification process, and your vital organs recover from the loss of nutrients (due to fasting) as soon as we replenish them through a healthy diet and good work-out routine. Some of the other advantages include weight loss, maintaining strength and endurance, and preventing a breakdown in muscle function as a result of extended inactivity and rest,” added the fitness trainer.

He stressed that people should focus on maintaining their fitness through creating sustainable and safe exercise routines while concentrating on nutrient and water-rich foods.


“Although the benefits of following a work-out routine in Ramadan are significant, one must be careful to avoid over-exertion as it may cause acute dehydration and fatigue, which can result in dizziness. Finally, always connect with an instructor to incorporate a variety in exercises as that can help in keeping you motivated in the gym, avoiding burn-out and an understanding on what exercises can be done safely and effectively whilst fasting,” added Gamel.


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