FASTING fitness enthusiasts have been urged to avoid high-intensity workouts and heavy weightlifting before Iftar, the first meal after sunset.
That is because dehydration can increase the risk of injury, according to Bahrain-based personal trainer Diana Taljebbini.
She recommended waiting until after Iftar, but said how long would depend on how much people ate.
“The lighter the Iftar, the sooner a person can start their workout at the gym,” said Ms Taljebbini, a Sphinx Ladies Gym trainer from Hungary.
“Some people like to have a heavy Iftar so they need to wait three hours after they eat, for their workouts.
“Others who do not eat as heavily can start their workout one hour to 90 minutes after food.
“Some people think that since it is Ramadan, it’s a free pass on sweets and fatty foods – but that is not the case.
“I do not recommend a lot of gaymat because it is full of fat and deep fried, making it bad for the heart and cholesterol.”
For those who insist on exercising before breaking their fast, Ms Taljebbini recommended light workouts.
“If you really want to do something before Iftar, I recommend a walk, stretches or Pilates 30 to 45 minutes before Iftar,” she said.
“Weightlifting without cardio (after Iftar) means you can start your workout earlier, but heavy cardio requires some time to pass after eating.”
Meanwhile, Ms Taljebbini also encouraged gym regulars to increase their water intake throughout the night, as well as fruit and vegetable consumption, to reduce the risk of dehydration.
In addition, she stressed the importance of avoiding salty food.
“I recommend people watch their sodium intake during Ramadan, especially if they have a protein shake for Suhoor (the last meal before sunrise),” she said.
“Protein shakes have to be low in sodium, even though they are hard to find, to ensure people won’t get thirsty during the day.”
Finally, she advised those who do workout to increase their protein and carb intake after exercise – and ensure their meals are rich in calories.
Among those staying in shape during Ramadan is gym enthusiast Fatima Ebrahim, who said she goes four to five times a week.
She is putting an emphasis on cardio workouts during Ramadan, mainly to burn off calories she consumes at night.
“I do more cardio during Ramadan to burn all the calories that I eat,” said the 24-year old.
“I usually go around two hours after Iftar to ensure I have enough energy, and enough time has passed since I ate.”
She added a heavy Iftar slowed her down during workouts, which is why she saves a bigger portion for afterwards.
“I have also increased my water intake because I noticed how important it is and how much of a difference it makes during workouts,” she added.
“We tend to eat a lot during Ramadan, thinking that we have an excuse because we are fasting."
“But we should also remember to workout to the best of our ability to stay healthy.”