Exercise during Ramadan is essential to maintain muscle mass especially after long hours of fasting.
However, the most debatable aspect about working out is whether it should be done before or after Iftar.
We will answer commonly asked questions about the timing and duration of exercise during the holy month.
Exercising before iftar is beneficial as some studies have shown that it stimulates the body to use stored fat for energy, this leads to reduction in body weight and body fat.
However, some people might not have the energy to exercise before Iftar which could lead to fatigue, dizziness and an inefficient workout session. In this case, it is recommended to exercise after Iftar when the body is fully energized and hydrated.
In general, there are no medical problems accompanied by exercising while fasting, however, in case of any specific medical conditions it is better to consult with a physician prior to any exercise routine.
Discontinue your workout if you feel dizzy or nauseated.
When is the best time to exercise while fasting?
An hour or 30 minutes before Iftar, it is better not to exercise early during the day to avoid excessive dehydration and hunger.
What type of workouts should be done before iftar?
It is recommended to do low to moderate intensity/Light cardio workouts such as: Brisk walking, Treadmill, elliptical, cycling. Mat exercises such as Ab-workouts or pushups are also an option since they are moderate intensity.
Postpone your strength training or high intensity workouts such as heavy weights or sprinting after iftar as it requires more energy, especially if the goal is to maintain or increase muscle mass. Exercising with depleted carbohydrate stores might lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and breakdown of muscle mass.
Exercise performance is at its peak when the body has been fully energized and hydrated after iftar. You get the most of a workout when you have the fuel to do it. After iftar workouts is the go-to option if you feel too energy-less to excercise before breaking the fast.
When is the best time to exercise after iftar?
2-3 hours after breaking the fast is the ideal time to exercise to give some time to digest the food and avoid stomach pain and cramps.
What type of workouts should be done after iftar?
You can literally go for any type of workout you want now that you've got the energy boost after breaking the fast.
A combination of Cardio workouts and strength training will help in maintaining/ increasing muscle mass and burning body fat. This includes;
- Treadmill/ Elliptical/Stair climber Cardio workouts
- Strength training/Weights
- Body weight workout: Squats, lunges, planks, sit-ups, burpees, jumping jacks.
See what works best for you
To sum this up, exercising should be part of your Ramadan routine as it helps with blood circulation and maintaining muscle mass.
There is no set-on-stone workout timing recommendation, simply find out what works best for you! If you feel you have the energy to do your workout before iftar then go for it, if not you can choose to do it after iftar.
As long as you just do it :)
Ramadan Kareem! Be just as committed to fitness.