Muslim trainer Ammar Sabbah offers exercise advice during Ramadan

Sport360 staff 14:47 23/07/2014
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  • Training is always valuable: Ways to alter your exercise routines and diet during Ramadan.

    There is only a week left in the holy month of Ramadan but that doesn't prevent you from utilising your workout routines and maintaining good health. Ammar Sabbah is Head of Education and Training at Fit Republik and knows the best ways to adapt your training regimes with your religious needs.

    Hydration is by far the most important issue for athletes to address during Ramadan, at least for the next few years until the Holy month shifts to the cooler times of the year. 

    Studies have shown an increased concentration of red blood cells in athletes at the end of Ramadan, a state that is indicative of decreased fluid volume as seen with inadequate levels of hydration.

    If you are an endurance athlete, there are two ideal times for training during Ramadan.

    The first is right at Iftar, or the breaking of the fast.

    To optimise both your performance and your recovery at this time, take a water bottle, some dates, or energy jells and go for a run or a ride.

    The advantage here is that you will be able to rehydrate with your water and boost your energy with the sugar.

    You get your exercise out of the way early and will feel very light and refreshed, enabling you to enjoy the rest of the evening.

    However, you will also lose out on the social aspects of Iftar.

    You will also require a higher degree of discipline to achieve this after a long day of fasting.

    The other ideal time would be late at night, about 4-5 hours after your Iftar meal.

    At this time, adequate blood sugar and hydration levels have been established in your body.

    You have fully digested your food and you can still rehydrate throughout the night.

    A disadvantage is that if you eat heavily, you may end up having a bad run.

    If you have a large meal and feel tired, it may sap your commitment to undertaking your regime altogether.

    Common to both choices, however, is the need to focus on water for hydration, carbohydrates for energy and protein for recovery.

    If you are a strength athlete, the best time to work-out remains after Iftar, as most people will not have the same abilities before it.

    Once you have refueled and put some protein into your body, you will be able to match your average performance.

    However, keep in mind that this is not the time to try to break records.

    For recovery, the focus should be on fluids and protein.

    If you live in hot climate, it is important to note that the more protein you eat, the more fluid you require to minimise both the effects of dehydration and the high nitrogen load that results from metabolising the protein.

    In conclusion then, although exercise may not be ideal during Ramadan to achieve performance goals, you can still benefit from it to achieve maintenance and good baseline fitness.

    This will certainly help you as you embark on your post-Ramadan work-out regime.