Many people who observe Ramadan take the month off when it comes to physical exertion. This is, to an extent, understandable; it’s impossible to exercise during the day without food or water, and at night it is difficult to find the time and energy to hit the gym. However, taking a month off doesn’t just set you back that month; you also have to spend a few weeks afterward getting back into the shape you were in before Ramadan. For anyone who is serious about fitness, a six or seven week break every year is simply untenable in terms of hitting your goals and maintaining a healthy physique.
The most important thing is to show up. You may not have the energy to hit personal bests, but get yourself in the gym every night after you eat. You will at the very least not experience muscle loss, and it’ll even help you feel less groggy over the course of the day.
Make sure you eat well before you go to the gym. Your body needs available nutrients during your workout to recover so you can keep going, so make sure you get a portion of protein and carbohydrates in at iftar. Perhaps even more importantly, drink an immense amount of water as soon as you are able to. Hydration levels are incredibly important for physical exercise, and a day of fasting completely diminishes yours.
Don’t shoot for two-hour marathon gym sessions. They’re going to inevitably tire you out, and will also eat into precious time at night when you could be eating. Around forty five minutes actually lifting, after a short warm-up, is an ideal target. Lift heavy, and focus on compound movements. If you can keep your numbers up or even improve them over the month, you’ve done an exceptional job.
If you’re a runner, Ramadan is a little more tricky. Hydration and electrolytes are critical to not only maintaining your performance, but indeed in avoiding potentially serious injury as well. If you’re committed to fasting, maybe try just lifting for the month. If you do insist on running, just make doubly sure you meet your nutritional requirements. Prehydrate with a sports drink at sehri and keep a bottle of water next to your bed at night. Make sure you warmup and cool down comprehensively.