Exercise tips when fasting in Ramadaan

Shaheem Laattoe said if you can’t make it to the gym during Ramadaan, you can do a workout at home using minimal equipment.

Exercising in a fasted state is not an easy feat, especially when it’s in warmer weather and when it’s a 15-hour day long fast. Muslims will be fasting in the month of Ramadaan in two weeks. In order to spiritually, mentally, and physically prepare the body, it is recommended by Muslim scholars to fast two or three days a week before Ramadaan. Fitness trainer Shaheem Laattoe, shared some tips with ROSHAN ABRAHAMS on how to find the best time for keeping your exercise routine safe and sustainable when fasting..

When asked which time of the day or evening is the best time to exercise, Shaheem said he always mentions to his clients, who want to gain muscle, to look at the period of Ramadaan as a maintenance period. “Don’t expect too much ‘results’. In a perfect world, it would be ideal to first work out then have a nutritious meal. While some find training before Iftar (when breaking your fast) fine, others may not due to time constraints or they might not have the energy. Others might not have a problem training after Suhoor (breakfast), where some might find it uncomfortable training with a full belly or may not be able to have a productive workout as it may be too early for them. So, instead of trying to be as consistent as you were before Ramadaan, don’t be too hard on yourself and just do the best you can.”

Shaheem’s daily routine is not to have breakfast until after a workout. “I always prefer training first thing in the morning as I am an early riser and I am not too bothered with eating first then training. However, because of my work schedule, I fit in my training wherever is convenient.”

Throughout the year runners take part in races and they may feel anxious not competing for a month. However, people manage to enter races and complete them in a fasting state. Shaheem has experimented with taking part in races. “I completed last year’s Two Ocean Marathon in Ramadaan and will be doing the same this year too. Even though I didn’t experience any adverse reactions, just to be safe, consume electrolytes, leading up to the event.”

Hydration plays a big role in a non-fasting state and Shaheem suggested when you are fasting it’s best to drink water in the morning and evening but to also include “drinking more electrolyte drinks.”

The consequences of not hydrating enough can lead to dehydration and one may suffer from “headaches, fatigue and dry skin,” said Shaheem.

If one’s stomach cannot take too much liquid there are different types of water-providing food that you can fill your plate with, including “fruit and veg with a higher water content such as tomatoes, berries, watermelon, etc,” said Shaheem.

When asked if one should limit your cardio workouts during Ramadaan, Shaheem said: “If you feel like it would be better if you limit it, by decreasing the time, your pace and intensity.” He said the consequences of intense cardio can lead to headaches, poor concentration, dizziness, etc.“

Shaheem exercises daily but what if a rest day is required? “If you think a rest day would be good, then do so but you don’t have to do nothing at all. If you gym daily then do a walk over the weekend. People usually refer to this as ‘active recovery’.”

While some people exercise to stay healthy others want to lose weight. However, in order to reach your goal you need to “starve your distractions, feed your focus,” quoted Shaheem.

• People with pre-existing medical conditions should consult with a family physician before starting an exercise programme.