How to train during Ramadan

How our CrossFit member’s adjust their training schedule during Ramadan.

Before we discuss how we adapt our member’s lifestyle during this holy month, I want to explain what is involved during this month.

During that month you fast each day from sunrise to sunset  and this includes going without food, water and caffeine.

This yearly event, it starts during the full moon during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar which this year begins 9th of March and it ends 8th of April.

The evenings are spent with family and friends. To go without food, water, coffee and other earthly comforts means taking time to become more in-tune with your spirituality, family and community.

To adjust during this month with children, career, training and living in a western world can be difficult.  But, during this month it is not about stopping your life, it is about adjusting it and still getting on with what needs to be done. 

When it comes to training these adjustments are quite important. 

There are two ways you can go about your training during this time, you can train before starting your fast or immediately after.

We have had members who would  wake up before beginning their fast to drink and eat, usually opting for water alongside oats with banana and honey and then workout.

Most athletes we have spoken to find it best to train in the evening. They will either schedule a workout so that they finish as soon as the sun sets, knowing their first meal of the day is straight after, or opt to break fast with a light meal and then train.

Depending when you prefer to train, your intensity and program will need to be altered to avoid putting extra stress on the body during this month. Fatigue, hunger and thirst will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. That’s why training with friends in a class setting becomes even more important; it reminds you that you’re in this together, doing it for a greater good. 

Evenings for some during this holy month would consist of Iftar, which translates to “breakfast.” Then a light snack such as a banana with some dates and yogurt to allow the body time to restart the digestive process after a long day of fasting. Followed by evening prayers, and followed by a substantial meal with family.

When it comes to your nutrition needs during this month, it can easily fall into the trap of thinking that you are going to consume less calories as you are going to be fasting for 12 hours and this can be the opposite. 

During this period the main focus is the time in the evening spent with loved ones. Normally around the dinner table and you never leave feeling hungry. Traditional meals may include dates, lentil soup, salads, samosas, chicken with rice, stuffed grape leaves and finally, desserts; all of which are all served late in the evening. 

Normally most know how to balance out their indulgent evening meals with healthier ones. 

Consuming easy to digest carbs, lean protein and low fibre foods for Iftar and keeping hydrated with both liquid and water dense foods such as cucumbers and tomatoes are all ways to reduce inflammation, digestive issues and dehydration.

To many, the month of Ramadan is akin to Christmas. You’ll find decorations within many homes and presents are always given out at the end of Ramadan and on the first day of Eid. These “Eidiyah” are typically presents given to children by family members.

Giving a Zakat, or donation to a charity, serving food to those in need and inviting others for dinner who do not have family nearby are all ways of contributing.

If you see someone in the gym during the month of Ramadan, make sure to give them a fist pump for all their efforts and feel free to say “Ramadan Kareem,” meaning “have a generous Ramadan” or “Ramadan Mubarak,” which translates to “Happy Ramadan.” 

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