Discontinuing exercise can also cause weight gain during Ramadan. Most people reduce their workloads in some way stating "It's Ramadan so I should rest."
Really? I don't think so...
Continuing to exercise is a healthy way to enjoy Ramadan. It maintains balance. Balance is achieved when the spiritual, mental, and physical life is maintained. During Ramadan the spirit is kept healthy by purging the self of all negativity, including the negativity that may be associated with the fast. The mental self is maintained through regular reading of the Al-Quran. The physical self is kept strong through a light workout.
Many people have stated that they gain weight throughout Ramadan. This mainly occurs because once the fast is broken at night, food is enjoyed and sleep overtakes you. The body systems slow and the components of food are stored during sleep. But if there is a committed effort to exercise during the day, then the food that is consumed will go toward muscle repair.
The best time to work out is right after the fast begins. During the morning meal, a person should endeavor to eat light and healthy: a diet of fruit and some meat, or other protein such as eggs or nuts. Protein should be eaten to recover; however, you should try to avoid eating a lot of protein at night. Eat a small portion of meat at night and a small portion in the morning or have a meat substitute if one is vegetarian. Do not forget to hydrate at night and in the morning. These eating habits will provide you with enough energy to exercise for at least thirty minutes in the morning. If working out in the morning is not an option, then working out at lunch time is the next best time to exercise. The work day is half over and this is the point in the day when energy levels are going down. Exercising in the middle of the day is a healthy option that help restores energy and feelings of well-being.
Adjust fitness goals in Ramadan,
If your goals are to lose weight, get stronger or simply to become more physically fit put improvements on hold during this month. Make your goal simply to maintain where you are. Making fitness or weight loss improvements requires you giving your body a deficient of some sort which causes a reduction in energy, and often compromises the immune system. Both of these can significantly affect your ability to fast. So instead of overworking your system to get your body to change simply maintain where you are and prevent yourself from going backwards.
Reduce the intensity of exercise,
It will allow you to stay consistent in working out without over taxing your energy reserve. If you normally run, reduce to a speed walk, and if you normally workout for an hour reduce your workout time to 30-45 minutes. The most important thing to do this month is to continue to exercise. Consistency is the key ingredient to maintaining your fitness level.
A combination of resistance training,
Circuit training in general is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and it has the extra benefit of allowing you to burn more calories in a short amount of time. A circuit is performed by doing 3-6 exercises/movement in a quick succession without stopping between each exercise. Doing this will allow you to build muscle and increase cardiovascular endurance all in one workout.
Workout when it really "works",
If you feel the need to fit a good workout, you may have to plan your workout in your day. Instead of exercising when it's convenient choose a time when you have the most energy and it won't compromise your fast. This may mean waking up just 20 minutes earlier than you would normally for Dzuhur so you can work out and then eat immediately in the break the fast time. Pay attention to your energy level during the first few days of Ramadan and find a time that works for you. Whatever time or day or night your energy level allows you to expend extra calories without becoming fatigued is the best time of day for you to exercise.
Ultimately, remember that Ramadan does not have to be the time of year to lose weight. Focus on the meaning of Ramadan, follow the tenants of good health recommended by our Prophet and you will find the weight will come off.
Happy Ramadan and have a great shaum, peeps!