An exercise programme during Ramadan is subjective to the person, whether you’re fasting or not, and what time-frame within your fast you’d like to exercise. There are two main workouts you can do for this: Cadio-vascular workouts and strengh and resistance training.
The two main methods of “cardio” are steady state and interval training. During Ramadan, we can take advantage of our depleted energy stores by creating a calorie deficit:
Steady state cardio – 60 minutes. You can choose any piece of CV machinery or head outside for a brisk walk or a jog.
Running clubs and cardio based classes are great for this.
Interval training – 45 minutes. After our 10 minute warm up, work as hard as possible for 30 seconds and recover for 1 minute. If this becomes easy look to increase your working time or reduce the recovery time. A fun way to interval train can be in a class setting, such an indoor cycling class.
STRENGTH AND RESISTANCE TRAINING
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – 60 minutes
Picking a set of around 10 exercises, work for 30/45 seconds before moving on to the next exercise with minimal rest. Depending on the time given to the workout, repeat this 2 to 3 times. This can be with or without added weights. Below is a body weight workout. Do this after a 10-minute watm up and 30 seconds of each exercise.
When done right, this exercise is a high-calorie burner as it targets some of our largest muscle groups within the lower body. The Squat exercise mainly targets the thighs (quadriceps & hamstrings) and the glutes, however, core strength & stability, ankle mobility, back muscles, calves, and other factors play an important role when you are doing this exercise. Make sure you keep your chest proud and spine long through the crown of your head, as you lower your hips and hinge back until you feel your deepest stretch, and lift up to a upright position. Make sure you squeeze the muscles in your lower body as you move through them to optimize the exercise!
Another lower-body gem; the lunge! This exercise involves a focused downward movement working the hamstrings, quads and glutes. Make sure the front foot stays grounded and back heel stays up as you lower and lift your bodyweight through the front leg, while the back leg provides balance and support to the body. Make sure you even out the sides and work both legs!
A full body strengthening exercise with a strong focus on core. This exercise fires up the entire body while also providing balance, posture improvement. You can do many plank variations in a high plank or hand plank position, where you align your wrists directly below your shoulders, and hips slightly lower than shoulders height; or a forearm plank, align the elbows below the shoulders, hips right in line with your shoulder height. Make sure you reach your belly button to spine, keeping a neutral pelvis and don’t forget to breathe.
Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. pull your navel in to also target your deep abs. Place both hands behind your head, and lift your shoulder blades off the mat. Bring both knees in towards your chest, reaching opposite elbow to opposite knee, while alternating a bent leg, and a straight leg at about a 45-degree angle off the ground. Make sure your rib cage is moving in full rotation and not just your elbows! Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth.
Another full-body exercise! Here’s how to perform a burpee: First, hold a high plank position. From the plank position, in one fluid motion, lower down to a push-up, chest to floor, press back up, jump your feet to meet your hands, to jump all the way up and back down to your plank/push-up; repeat for 30 seconds! Beginners, move slowly to focus on form. Once mastered, for medium to advanced level burpees, go as fast as you can. This HIIT exercise improves skeletal muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
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— Herns Agyemang-Duah is the master trainer at 1Beat gym, One Central, DIFC.