Nicola Martin Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: For a lot of people, maintaining their gym routine is hard enough, but working out regularly during Ramadan is even more challenging given the long fasting hours. Fitness trainers, however, say that maintaining a gym routine during the fasting month is possible with planning.

“People can still work out during Ramadan. The timings are just different in terms of when they eat and what time they work out,” said Nicola Martin, who works as a personal trainer at StayFit.

“The first week of Ramadan is probably the hardest because the body has to adjust and change, but after the first week, the body gets used to it and adapts,” she added.

Martin explained that consuming the right food the night before is important for people who want to work out while fasting.

“People can still train, but the workout will obviously be lighter. If somebody wants to train while fasting, I suggest they train at around 6pm because they would have only around an hour before they can eat and drink,” she said.

“Nutrition intake is very important. So if someone wakes up at around 3am, I would suggest they eat complex carbs, which are high in nutrients and give you good energy,” she added.

Martin said that working out after ending the day’s fast is the more preferable option.

“It really depends on the person, but I would say that working out at after ending the fast is better because one would have eaten and also had time to digest the food.”

Martin said intensity levels of the workout should also be lower during Ramadan.

“I do a lot of boxing which consists of three-minute rounds and a minute’s rest. During Ramadan I change it to 3 minute rounds with 2 minutes rest. For someone lifting weights, I would recommend decreasing the weight and increasing the reps. What I would say is that if you were working out at 100 per cent before Ramadan, come down to 80 per cent during Ramadan because your body is not going to have the same levels of energy,” she added.

Basheer Jadallah, who also works as a certified personal trainer, said people fasting during Ramadan did not have to work out every day; a 45-minute workout is enough.

“It’s beneficial to train during Ramadan. Working out three to four days a week is very good, with 45-minute sessions, which is the best duration,” Jadallah said.

“The intensity should definitely be less than what it was before Ramadan because before Ramadan a person would have around two to three meals before their workout, whereas in Ramadan it is only one meal, so the energy levels are different and so it’s more suitable to scale back the workout intensity,” he added.

Jadallah also recommended working out soon after iftar rather than late in the evening.

“Studies have shown that training very late in the evening raises body temperature and makes it difficult to sleep. So train at around 8.30pm after having a light iftar and drinking plenty of water. Fatty foods and a heavy meal should be avoided if you want to work out soon after iftar,” he said.

“People should focus on foods with high fluids as this will ensure they are getting all the fluids they need back into their body after fasting. Having a deficit in terms of fluid will drastically impact the performance and energy levels the next day, which makes it more difficult to workout.”