Working out during Ramadan? 6 invaluable lessons two athletes learnt this year

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  • 80% of young Muslims were apprehensive about working out during their fast. 

    A recent Sports Direct survey found that 80% of young Muslims were apprehensive about working out during Ramadan.

    A quarter reported reducing their amount of exercise compared to normal, and 29% said there isn’t enough information out there detailing tips for working out safely.

    Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and one of the Five Pillars of Islam – a principle Muslims see as compulsory acts ordered by God. It’s thought to be one of the holiest Islamic months and is marked by fasting and worshiping.

    The fasting finished this week with any muslims celebrating with a feast. So, having completed a whole month of fasting, what did two athletes learn from 30 days of working out and fasting? Keep reading for their need-to-know advice for training and exercising safely during Ramadan.

    Working out during Ramadan: 6 invaluable lessons

    1. Being flexible is key

    According to Saffiyah Syeed, a boxer from Manchester and a Sports Direct Fast & Slow ambassador, flexibility is one of the best values to focus on practicing during Ramadan.

    “At first, I planned on training an hour before opening my fast or just after,” she explains. “Some days this worked and some days it didn’t, so I learned to try different things and my move plans around.”

    She continues: “It was important to be flexible and change my routine depending on how I was feeling.” Bottom line: when you’re fasting for a long stretch of time, it’s key to listen to your body.

    2. Every workout counts

    Mindful movement is key, because remember: exercise is exercise, whether it’s low intensity, like walking, or a higher energy strength training session.

    “Working out during Ramadan means not every workout will be a full on sweat session – and that’s okay,” Syeed shares. “Every workout counts. Keeping it light or taking it slow still gets your body moving.”

    Hear, hear.

    3. Slowing down provides time to refine

    Think of it this way: channeling your energy into perfecting your form could actually put you in a really good position for the rest of the year.

    “Throughout Ramadan, I’ve worked on weights and perfecting my technique,” shares Syeed. “I’ve grown so much in such a short time as a result – my coach and I can really see the difference between now and a month ago.

    The lesson? Taking it slow while fasting meant she had the time to focus on developing my performance and refine certain parts of my workout.

    4. Stay positive and do what works for you

    Freestyle footballer from London and Sports Direct Fast & Slow ambassador Nafisa Ahmed reckons that staying positive was one of the best things she did when working out during Ramadan.

    “Training during the fast was incredibly hard and at times felt like a battle,” she explains. “A positive mindset and mental attitude really helped me.”

    Her advice is to listen to your body – ‘when exercising and fasting, it’s important to work with your body and do what feels right for you,’ she shares.

    5. Rest regularly

    “I had a couple of football matches during Ramadan which involved 90 minutes of running up and down the pitch,” shares Ahmed. “After the matches, I did feel fatigued and I did want to drink water, but taking a long break when I got home really helped get my energy back.”

    The learning from this, according to Ahmed, is to make sure you’re resting regularly when fasting to restore your energy levels. “This will also help to sustain your body throughout the day,” she goes on.

    6. Listen to your body

    Last but no means least, when working out during Ramadan, this one is important. “There is no best way to train during Ramadan – you just have to listen to your body and do what feels right for you,” shares Ahmed.

    She knew working out in the morning worked for her, as it’s when she had to most energy. “However, if your body told me to take a break and sleep, then I would.”

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