Abu Dhabi: After a long day of fasting, going to the gym for a workout may seem like a major bother for a lot of people. But fitness trainers say that maintaining your workouts is possible even during Ramadan with good planning and healthy eating.
“It’s all about commitment and consistency. Just like any other time of the year it’s important for people to remain physically active during the month of Ramadan,” said Basheer Jadallah, a professional personal trainer who recommends working out for up to an hour at the gym.
“They should spend around 40 minutes to an hour at the gym maximum. That’s more than enough time to get in a good workout. It’s not very time consuming, it’s just an hour and they can plan this routine for four days a week, which only comes to four hours in total. Everyone can find the energy and time for that,” he added.
In terms of workout intensity, Jadallah said that people should workout according to their energy levels.
“There is no one rule that fits everybody, they have to individually assess their energy level when they’re at the gym and decide whether to up the intensity of the workout. They have to obviously break a sweat when they are working out,” he said. “They need to find what suits them best as well, I would recommend functional training workouts — these are workouts that replicate your daily activities.”
Jadallah also warned that overeating during Ramadan would make the workouts ineffective in the long run.
“If people overeat during Ramadan, especially with foods that are unhealthy, they’re going to gain weight irrespective of the workouts that they’re doing. So it’s important for people to not simply assume that remaining active and going to the gym can leave them guilt free for having a very heavy iftar meal,” he added.
“It’s important to eat at a reasonable level with healthy options. Choosing the right foods and diet will complement your physical activity,” Jadallah said.
Ron Forlan, a professional trainer, said that creating a plan specifically for Ramadan would be helpful.
“The person needs to know what their goal is during Ramadan. Is it for weight loss, muscle gain or to just maintain a balance? Once they set their goal, they should make a schedule and routine that they need to stick with for the month,” Forlan said.
“Four days a week during Ramadan will be more than enough with an hour workout on those days. People are more tired during Ramadan with less energy and so that’s really the ideal framework to go with. They can split their workouts between cardio work and weightlifting,” he added.
“It also depends on someone’s experience level. Some people will be able to workout more and on more days, and so if someone feels comfortable to do that they can go ahead. But on a basic level, going four days a week for an hour will be more than enough,” he said.
Staying fit and active in Ramadan can also involve outdoor activities rather than going to the gym.
“Residents don’t have to just go to the gym if they want to stay fit. There are a lot of outdoor activities they can do which are great such as walking, jogging, cycling and swimming,” said Lee Harrison, a personal trainer who runs a boot camp in Abu Dhabi.
“The outdoor activities can be a good alternative for those who don’t have the motivation to go the gym after a long day of fasting, but still get a good workout. Everyone is different and they just have to find something that agrees with them both mentally and physically,” he added.