Riyadh Marathon
هل تريدين التدريب البدني في رمضان؟

انضموا إليّ وأنا أعطي لكم كيف أتدرب في رمضان

The first thing you must remember is that Ramadan is the month where we dedicate more of our time to worshipping Allah and less of our time on things we would normally do. Therefore, even if you want to keep fit in Ramadan, it is not the best time to START training if you haven't already been training. So if you live your life without exercise, wait until after Ramadan to start, because starting now will affect your ability to fast and to uphold your acts of worship. 

Now if you are someone that normally exercises and you want to maintain your routine in Ramadan consider that fasting takes some energy. Hence, the best thing is to slightly reduce the amount of exercise you would normally do outside this blessed month. Otherwise, you would risk getting sick and compromise your ability to fast and or to attend the extra prayers at night. However, with exercise there are a few important things you must keep in mind so that you can benefit the most from your workouts.

1. Timing

When is the best time to train in Ramadan? The simple answer is that it is best to train while you are not fasting so you can drink water during training. Hydrating properly is the only safe way to train. I know that many people do not have time to train at night or early in the morning before Fajr. In that case you can train an hour before the prayer of Maghrib so that you can drink water immediately after your session. However, it is not recommended to do vigorous training while fasting because you may cause harm to your body. 

2. Nutrition

What should you be eating to sustain working out during Ramadan? The best kind of workout during Ramadan is to lift weights. Avoid doing excessive amounts of cardio because that uses up a lot of water and will cause dehydration. Since weight training requires your muscles to be replenished, it is important to get a high intake of natural fats and protein. For that reason, you should eat a lot of chicken, fish, red meat and eggs. You should avoid eating too much bread and white rice. Instead get your carbs from vegetables such as: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, beetroot etc. The more processed the food is, the worse it is for your body. Avoid sweets, sugar, excessive coffee, white bread and rice, pasta, and excess dairy. Some milk and yogurt everyday is fine, but too much will satisfy your hunger for a short while only, and cause your energy levels to drop fast thereafter. Rather eat a heavy meal with good amounts of meat and a few vegetables. Most importantly, drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. You can sip on water throughout the night by keeping a bottle by your bedside. Also make sure you drink ample water while you train. 

3. Rest

I am guilty of not sleeping enough in Ramadan. I tell myself, "it's only for one month." Of course we want to get the most rewards by reading Qur'an often, praying the night prayers and spending a lot of time in the mosque. However, we must remember that our bodies also have a right over us and we must take care of it by getting enough sleep. It is a habit for us in the Middle East to stay up all night and sleep after the morning prayer. However, this is not the best strategy because it is reported that the night sleep is better than the day sleep. Remember that the Messenger of Allah (s) slept at night, even in Ramadan. Hence, we could say that to sleep at at night is a Sunnah. Even if you only sleep two or three hours at night, it will be better than sleeping six hours during the day. Sleep at night, and then sleep again during the day. Try to accumulate six to eight hours of sleep in one day and night. During Ramadan it is difficult to get eight hours of sleep at night. The prayers will end at around 9 or 10 pm in many places around the Middle East and then you will need to get up at around 3 am if you want to pray or read Qur'an and have suhoor. Most people can't sleep directly after the night prayers anyway. That means many people will get three to five hours of sleep at night. That isn't enough! So take a nap during the day also.  

4. What if you don't have weights or belong to a gym?

Fortunately, exercise isn't only about lifting weights. If you want to get some exercise but you never lifted weights before and you don't like gyms, you can also take a long walk after the prayers. You can even take short runs while you walk, but don't overdo it. There are many exercises you can do at home also. You can find videos that you can follow on Youtube and do things like push-ups, sit ups and squats. Those are three very basic but important exercises and it is all you will ever need to stay reasonably fit. Again, remember if you have never trained before this Ramadan, don't start doing it now. Taking a walk is fine, but skip doing other exercises. Rather wait until after Ramadan to start. 

5. Muslims should be strong

Remember that the Muslims should be strong and healthy people because we are the last people with the true message of Islam. We must uphold our duty to look after everything that Allah gave us; including our health. After this month, if you didn't exercise, you should start to do so. We are all representatives of the last message and the last Prophet (peace and blessing be on him) and so we must walk up straight, be proud of who we are, and be strong. Exercise will help you feel good, more confident and more capable of accomplishing your goals in life. Knowledge and ability is our heritage. We must keep studying, keep working hard, keep exercising and keep living a good life. 

Ramadan Kareem