As the days tick down to Ramadan, an excited flurry of preparation begins! Many of us begin stocking our freezers with delicious frozen treats, getting creative with beautiful home décor, and planning our Ramadan schedules. However, despite all these preparations, many of us struggle with low energy, exhaustion, and fatigue while fasting. The reason is that we often neglect the most important factors that will truly facilitate a productive Ramadan…our bodies, our health, and our energy.
We all know that we need energy for worship — especially for long night prayers — so taking care of your body in Ramadan has a special spiritual importance. In order to supercharge our fasts and have more energy for worship, family, and work, we simply cannot ignore our physical fitness during Ramadan!
In this article, I’m going to bust three common misconceptions about fasting fitness and present you with practical strategies to help you achieve your healthiest Ramadan ever!
Myth 1: Exercising in Ramadan Is a Waste of Time
For some reason, Muslims can check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, go to work, call their friends and do everything else on a fasting day, but the moment they think about exercising, suddenly that becomes “a waste of time” in Ramadan.
In fact, taking care of your body via physical exercise has an immense impact on your ability to worship by boosting your energy levels. The Prophet ﷺ himself has said: “Verily, your body has a right over you.” (Sahih Bukhari). Our bodies require care and attention in order to perform their best. Life as a Muslim is about being balanced, and that includes allotting time daily for exercise in a way that supports your worship goals.
In fact, suddenly stopping exercising all month can lead to several negative consequences that will prevent you from reaching your full potential this Ramadan.
The bottom line is that exercise in Ramadan is important for your body and your mental health. Practicing fitness in Ramadan will help you accomplish your Ramadan spiritual goals more effectively, not waste your time!
Make your intention this Ramadan to exercise so you have more energy to achieve your spiritual goals and get the most of this blessed month. With the right intention, you can be rewarded for the time you invest into your workout in Ramadan!
Myth 2: Exercising in Ramadan Is Unsafe or Dangerous
Working out in Ramadan can absolutely be safe and effective. Yes, dehydration poses a real risk for fasting fitness, however, this risk can be easily mitigated by selecting an appropriate time for when to workout in Ramadan.
Selecting an appropriate workout time is one of the most important ways to ensure safety during your Ramadan workouts. There are 6 possible times to workout in Ramadan to cater for all schedules — this YouTube video will help pick a workout timing that suits YOU best!
In the Ramadan fitness tips video I linked above, I go through the pros and cons of the six times to workout in Ramadan, so you can make an informed decision. Based on the information, YOU can pick which time works best for you, your fitness goals, and your Ramadan schedule!
I recommend you try out a few of these fasting fitness schedules in the time BEFORE Ramadan so you know exactly which one works best for you when Ramadan starts! Mimic the workout timing you think you will try during Ramadan so you can assess how you feel and ensure you feel comfortable.
The weeks leading up to Ramadan are the perfect time to make sure you are engaging in regular exercise so you can comfortably slip into a Ramadan workout schedule without over-stressing your body. When exercising in Ramadan, monitor how you feel closely, and cease exercising immediately if you ever feel uncomfortable. Practice, familiarity, and knowledge of your body are the keys to ensure a safe, enjoyable workout in Ramadan.
Myth 3: Take It Easy. Your Body Needs a Break in Ramadan, Right?!
Realize that your body’s daily need for physical activity does NOT somehow disappear in Ramadan just because you are not eating all day! During Ramadan, you should still aim for approximately 30 minutes of active minutes per day for improved energy, mood, cognitive function, and productivity. This can include time specifically devoted to exercise, as well as increased general movement throughout the day.
Research has shown that many aspects of athletic performance (eg. submaximal exercise, muscular contraction and power) are UNAFFECTED by fasting. Many of your favorite workouts can easily be continued in Ramadan if timed correctly and with some simple modifications! For more information on the types of exercises that are best suited to Ramadan and how to adapt your workouts for Ramadan, read my full article on how fasting affects exercise performance.
Remember that our exercise goals change during Ramadan. We want to exercise high energy, worship and productivity during the day and for MAINTENANCE of our strength and cardio potential.
Having a solid fasting fitness plan is one of the best things you can do for your body this Ramadan! To get my full Ramadan fasting workout plan, be sure to check out my Ramadan Reset Guidebook featuring my exact custom workouts designed for Ramadan).
As a final food for thought, consider an interesting statistic:
In 2015, at Amanah Fitness we surveyed 500 Muslims on their past exercising habits in Ramadan. The vast majority of Muslims (89%) responded that exercise is important to them during Ramadan. However, when it came to actual fitness practices, only 10% reported exercising regularly in Ramadan! The majority of Muslims we surveyed from over the world were inconsistent in their exercise during Ramadan, despite acknowledging its importance.
So, what’s your Ramadan going to look like this year? In the remaining days before Ramadan, don’t neglect one of the most important aspects of your Ramadan preparation…making sure your body will be energised and up to the task of getting you through a beautiful, spiritually-fulfilled month.
Make time for your body, and invest in fitness so you can focus on your soul this Ramadan!
You’ve got this, inshAllah!
Author bio: Amina Khan is an award-winning fitness specialist and Founder of Amanah Fitness, dedicated to restoring health in the global Muslim community. She has been named Canada’s Top Fitness Professional of the Year for her work promoting weight loss and fitness for Muslim women around the world. Her goal is to inspire Muslims to revive the Sunnah of healthy active living! She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Psychology. Get her Ramadan workouts and a full fasting meal plan in her popular Ramadan Reset Guidebook and subscribe to her YouTube page for her latest Ramadan fasting fitness video series!