The beginning of Ramadan is no reason to park your fitness regime.
Experts are of the opinion that exercise and fasting can go hand in hand, meaning you can still hit the gym in the coming weeks.
Here, senior fitness manager Trevor Flowers of Fitness First Motor City offers his guidance.
Train to maintain
During Ramadan, it is advised to plan your training with the goal of maintaining your fitness level.
When putting your body into a fasted state you will most certainly deplete your energy stores, which means you will be running on
empty. With that in mind, keep your sets and reps consistent, without pushing yourself to your limit.
In this period, try to keep your fitness ticking over, rather than attempting to break new personal bests or records.
Train when it’s right for you
Going hours without food and drink will put you into a fatigued state, effecting your energy levels, mood and focus.
Make sure to adjust your training schedule to whatever suits you. We are all different, and have different times of the day where we feel low in energy.
Training with low energy and a lack of focus means you are more likely to skip your session, or only put in half the effort. If this is the case, train after you have broken your fast, so that you have 100 per cent focus on your sessions.
If you plan to train in a fasted state, be sure to adjust your workout intensity to suit your energy levels.
Consider reducing your training volume and working sets. Avoid high intensity training, or max
effort lifts. Instead of going for heavy strength based training,
reduce your loads and use time under tension to stimulate your muscle in a safer way.
Fitness and health is one of the top priorities for Abu Dhabi’s 2020 vision, and the trio behind #theADmovement is marching right alongside the nation in support, wielding a flag for ladies in the emirate.
Founded by three passionate fitness and nutrition experts, Emiratis Abeer Amiri and Sarah Al Nowais, and Kristin Anderson of the US, #theADmovement is a females-only fitness initiative that has been working quite hard over the past year to find fun and interactive ways for Abu Dhabi women to get together and keep active all across the city, with successful past pop-up events drawing huge numbers of happy faces to work up a sweat.
This year they’re kicking off an exclusive new four-part wellness series along the same lines called Fit & Flourish, within which they will team up with several well-respected studios, experts and nutritional brands in the local fitness community to continue to educate girls and women about holistic healthy living.
We can’t wait for the launch this June 1 – a collaboration between Abu Dhabi’s most passionate yoga, Pilates and dance studio, Bodytree, Reebok and GuavaPass Middle East, and Suzan Terzian, a nutritionist who will lead an intimate table discussion on vitality and weight management to close off what will be a chilled, fit-focused evening social.
Come dressed in your favourite comfy yoga wear because, before the healthy four-course vegetarian Iftar that will be offered by Bodytree’s Nectar Café, comes the hard work – you’ll earn it on the mat during a 90-minute Yin Yoga session led by fit yogi Angela Muller-Habig.
Fasting? Not to worry. Yin Yoga is designed to challenge you, but in the slowest and most soothing way possible. A combination of gently flowing asana and deeper held yin stretches, this style is a relaxing way to open up the whole body while giving some extra love to hips, shoulders and spine. Holding the postures for a longer period of time helps increase circulation in the joints and improves flexibility.
Once mats are rolled up (and there are mats at the studio if you don’t have your own), enjoy your clean, green dinner with a motivational talk and Q&A with Terzian. She is a Canadian nutritionist with over 15 years of professional experience, now based in the UAE. Through her private consultancy (now also offered at Bodytree), Suzan works with you to co-create a bespoke journey to transform your dietary thoughts and habits into a successful, healthy future; and she admittedly doesn’t come cheap. So this is your exclusive chance to ask her all your burning nutritional questions.
You might even go home with some surprise Reebok and GuavaPass giveaways at the launch alongside a feeling of complete ease and enlightenment, of course.
GuavaPass is making ripples in the capital since launching in February and teaming up with beloved studios like Bodytree, too, and the app is another great forum that’s been bringing girls together for group fitness in Abu Dhabi.
If you end up loving the evening’s Yin session, their amazingly diverse offering of this and other styles of yoga classes around the city could really help you kick-start a more dedicated yoga practice.
Additionally, their many other partner studios offer dozens more higher energy exercise options that you can grab the crew and go to to keep this healthy lifestyle ball rolling throughout Ramadan. Visit www.guavapass.com/go/welcome/abu-dhabi for more information on the bargain discount starter packages available this month.
All in all, this will be a wonderful, well-rounded evening on which you can truly take the time to reflect on your personal health and wellness goals and weaknesses, and see how you can improve on them and incorporate others into daily life during the Holy Month and beyond.
That being said, only 20 spaces are available for this special launch event, so hurry and grab those tickets now for you and your girlfriends.
WHAT: #theADmovement’s FIT & FLOURISH Series
WHEN: Commences Thursday, June 1, 17:00 to 21:00, 17:30 to 19:00: 90-minute Yin Yoga led by Angela Muller-Habig 19:15 to 20:45: Healthy Iftar by Nectar & nutrition discussion with Suzan Terzian
WHERE: Bodytree Studio (Corner of Hazza Bin Zayed and Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, Abu Dhabi)
COST: Dh160 per lady (only 20 spots available)
The mouth-watering delicacies during Iftar and Suhoor can be quite tempting making it relatively easy to over-indulge and forget about a balanced, nutritious diet.
This can take its toll on vital organs in your body and affect your bones, in particular.
Here, Dr. Ahmed Hassoun outlines his best pieces of advice to help ensure that your bones remain healthy and strong during Ramadan.
He adds: “While Ramadan is a month of strong will power and self-control, it is also a month when people tend to indulge in the wrong food habits. Therefore, it is very important to eat a balanced diet during the lftar celebrations, especially – helping to keep bones healthy. Calcium is an essential nutrient for healthy bones and one must ensure an adequate intake of calcium during this holy month.
“Indulge more in raw dairy products and green vegetables as they have the highest amount of calcium.”
1. ENSURE SUFFICIENT CALCIUM INTAKE
The body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. An adult requires about 1000 to 1200mg of calcium per day which is essential for healthy bones.
During Ramadan, most people do not consume the required amount of calcium and this results in your body removing it from bones in order to maintain blood calcium levels. Dairy products are good sources of calcium so include grilled halloumi or a glass of fresh laban at Iftar time fit the bill nicely. Yoghurt with berries and nuts are also ideal for Suhoor as it is light on the stomach and helps with keeping the thirst pangs at bay during the day.
2. CHOOSE SENSIBLY
With Iftar and Suhoor buffets at every nook and corner, it is easy to over-eat.
But, you can replace juices and sugary fizzy drinks with yoghurt-based offerings or no sugar-added milkshakes – this is a healthier option.
Similarly, instead of piling a plate high with lasagna and rice dishes – make vegetables like carrots, beans and broccoli and leafy foods such as spinach as the star of your plate – leaving lasagna with more of a supporting role. Instead of traditional iftar sweets like baklava and basbousa, which are high in sugar, look for desserts containing dairy ingredients – rice pudding and mahalabia are good examples.
The hot summer months coupled with Ramadan means a dip in energy levels and residents are usually like to stay indoors.
Just after the light Iftar, ensure you have enough fluids and engage in light cardio exercises – follow a Zumba or aerobics video or do a brisk 20 minute walk on the treadmill – as well as some strengthening exercises like squats, lunges and sit-ups. Taraweeh prayers are also considered as good exercises.
4. SUN EXPOSURE
Vitamin D is essential for optimum bone health and is mainly absorbed by our body through adequate sun exposure.
Even though we enjoy year-long sunshine in the UAE during the summer months, due to the intensity of the heat, residents avoid the sun at all cost. Prolonged lack of exposure can mean weaker bones and result in conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It is important to have a sufficient level of Vitamin D (25 OH D) which is generally feasible by taking about 1000iu of Vitamin D3 daily.