Staying on track with your health and fitness goals during the fast can be challenging. So Virgin Active’s dieticians and biokineticists have tried to provide some alternatives and options to help you out.
Exercise: find a time that works
Regardless of when you usually train, this time of the year brings its own schedule that demands time and commitment outside of work and the gym. It’s important to adapt to a schedule that works for you and your family so that you can still make time to train.
Things to keep in mind:
- Try and train after you’ve eaten so that you have fuel for your muscles (there will be less chance of fainting or major loss of energy and your performance will not be compromised too much).
- In the same way, fluids are also important so sufficient water intake prior to a workout is also recommended.
- Remember to check your club’s opening and closing times and plan your gym session accordingly – if you’re a premier member, consider changing it up during the fast to save travel time, or go to a club that closes later.
Type, time and frequency of workouts:
Everyone is unique in their training preferences and energy levels. During Ramadan, your choice of workout should be influenced by how you actually feel on the day. Some important things to remember:
- A strenuous or long session may not be ideal. You might need to lower your intensity during Ramadan.
- If you’re not feeling up to the regular red (cardio) or orange (strength) group exercise classes, give the yellow (balance) classes a try – you’ve made it to the gym so you may as well get something out of it!
- If you normally hit the super circuit, but aren’t feeling as energetic, why not try bringing down the intensity of the step ups in between instead of skipping them altogether (so either take the bottom step instead of the second, or step a little slower).
- If your goal is to Muscle Up, maintaining your load as well as intensity of weight training will be harder than usual. Reduce your load and number of sets and just aim on maintaining the routine of your sessions at lower intensity, this way you can focus on maintenance instead of muscle building.
- A core session is low impact and can involve activation of all those important abdominal and postural muscles without feeling faint or dizzy, which could occur following a higher-impact session. For some variety, grab a stability ball, which can assist you if your energy levels are low.
- Try and maintain three sessions a week, so that you don’t lose the fitness or strength you have (and keep the habit going). If that isn’t possible, remember that every little bit helps so try take the stairs, walk further or more during a work-time break and even try to stand during work meetings for extra postural activation.
Pre-fast meal: try and eat foods that help you stay fuller for longer
- Foods that are higher in fibre and include some protein and healthy fat tend to keep you fuller for longer.
- Try: oats porridge and milk; boiled/scrambled/poached egg and/or mackerel/herring on wholewheat bread or a smoothie made with yoghurt/milk, fruit and oat-bran for the not-so-hungry.
- Make sure you drink enough fluids between sunset and sunrise to avoid dehydration during the day.
Breaking fast meal: try not to over-do it on fatty foods
- Fried foods and sugary sweets should be limited, because they often fill you up but leave little space for the more nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables.
- Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas) are an excellent source of protein, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals, so include them wherever possible.
Remember: each person is different in fitness and nutritional habits, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a very personal thing. Testing guidelines like these to see if they work for you is the first step, but listening to other members who have kept up their training and have found the ideal balance when it comes to eating and exercise may also help you on your journey. Some of the Personal Trainers or Fitness Professionals in your Virgin Active club can also assist.
If you struggle too much to fit everything in, just try and get back into the rhythm as soon as possible, and if you ever feel unwell, chat to your medical professional.
Source inputs: Virgin Active, Youtube, Facebook