So it’s that time of the year again for Muslims whereby we are required to abstain from food and drink for an entire month. The reasons for doing so are spiritual but there are many who also fast for health benefits. How does fasting affect those of us whom are physically active on a regular basis? Do we stop exercise altogether?
As a Muslim who continues to exercise during the month of Ramadan, the approach that has worked well over the years, for me, is to exercise after the fast has been broken. This would essentially mean that for the entire fasting month I would only work out at night. I also have many Muslim friends who opt for an early morning workout, before they have their ‘sahur’ (early morning meal before the fast starts). That seems to work fairly well also.
But what are the options for those who may not have the time at night? Also, if not for religious reasons, why would one fast at all?
Research has shown that fasting can induce weight and fat loss by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering your LDL and triglycerides levels (high levels of LDL and triglycerides lead to high cholesterol disease and ultimately heart disease). Fasting coupled with exercises, has added benefit as it can further improve insulin sensitivity which leads to more fat loss while retaining muscle mass.
The best and safest option to exercising while fasting, is very simply to do your workout after you have broken your fast. This is because, you would have refuelled your body at this stage and have enough energy for normal exercise (this applies to those who do a complete fast – no food or water – as well as those who a food fast).
But fear not those who want or need to exercise while fasting! Simple logic would recommend that you do so just before you break your fast. Seeing as you would normally be sweating and thus losing water during exercise, the ideal time would be to break fast immediately after you finish your work out to prevent dehydration.
In terms of intensity, exercising during a fast should be less strenuous than usual. Thus, if you do cardiovascular training, cut your intensity by 30 per cent (ie a brisk walk instead of a jog). Keep up your resistance training, as this would enable you to maintain your muscle mass. A good balance would be a low-intensity circuit-based weight training, as the pace of the workouts and the resistance itself would give you a combination of cardiovascular and weight training all in one.
A lot of info to digest I’m sure, but how does this apply to my workouts in Fitology you might ask? Well let me break it down step-by-step for you!
STEP 1. Book your Fitology Express or Fitology 360 session close to the break fast time. (Ideally, start training half an hour before your break fast time)
STEP 2. Kick it off with your usual 30-minute PT but time it closely so that when your PT ends, so does your fast! Proceed to break your fast with water, a sugary drink and perhaps a date or two.
STEP 3. Quench your thirst and continue to chug water as you proceed to have your FIR therapy. (As recommended!)
STEP 4. After the required 30 minutes, come out for your nutritious smoothie, which would replenish you further. Skip to Step 6 if you’re having an Express.
STEP 5. Go ahead with your deep tissue massage for the next hour and relax.
STEP 6. Proceed home (or out!) to have your well-deserved dinner after a whole day of fasting and an awesome session at Fitology!
And there you have it, a little insight on how to tackle exercise and Fitology whilst fasting! Hope it was helpful! 😉