stick runner

For those of you who are fasting for Ramadan, you may feel like your trainings are suffering because you’re fasting, but they don’t need to! Here, I’ve summarized a couple of options for workout times, and some food tips that will help you get through these long summer days.

I’ve found that there are three main options for workout times.

Option 1: Right before suhoor (breakfast)
If you wake up to eat suhoor and don’t mind waking up about an hour early, this can be a great time to get in any workout, since you can eat as soon as you are done.

Pros: You can eat both before and after the workout, and have water throughout it.
Cons: Have to wake up earlier and requires planning your suhoor the night before

Option 2: Right before iftar (dinner)
This is my personal favorite time to work out during Ramadan. Although I am a bit tired and lacking food and water, the knowledge that I’m going to eat soon keeps me pushing. It’s convenient because you can set an exact time to your workout, since you will want to eat as soon as sunset comes around. The last two hours before iftar are often “dead time” anyway, because you’ve finished your responsibilities for the day, but are just waiting until it’s time to eat. If you spend that time working out, the hardest two hours of the day will pass much faster than you realize.

Pros: Set time, can eat as soon as finished, and gives you something to do during the last two hours
Cons: Can’t eat before or drink water

Option 3: After iftar
This is good if you like to workout out at night but feel like you need food before you can pull on your running shoes, hit the weights, or get into the pool. It’s a great option, but beware of over-eating. If you train after iftar, it’s best to eat a small part of your dinner, such as a salad or soup, work out, then come home and finish the meal.

Pros: can have food before and after and water throughout
Cons: may be sleepy at the end of the day, might not like training after dark (if you run outside) or have difficulty finding an open pool

If you want, you could even choose two of the workout times. For example, I love to swim right before suhoor and lift weights right before iftar.

If you plan on working out while you’re fasting, it’s really important to plan your food intake based on that. At suhoor, you will need good sources of fiber and protein to keep you feeling full longer, and complex carbs for slow-digesting energy. An example of a great suhoor meal that follows this is a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and fresh berries (made with milk, not water) or a bowl of high-fiber cereal (I love Kashi’s Go Lean cereal). Follow it up with a small cup of Greek yogurt, which has double the protein of regular yogurt, and some fruit. For iftar, start with a salad and if you like, a soup. Your main meal should include good quality lean meat, vegetables, and grains (whole-grain is better). Make sure you drink LOTS of water the entire time that you can! I always drink at least 5 glasses during suhoor and the rest before and after my meal for iftar. If you want more ideas, check out my meals on my myfitnesspal page for other options! I’ll be updating it daily during Ramadan.

I hope this helps and motivates those of you who have trouble keeping up with your training schedules during Ramadan. Feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have! Happy training and happy fasting! 🙂

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