Maintaining your usual workout routine while fasting can be extremely challenging.
With the little energy you have going about your regular day, not much is left to do a strenuous workout. To help you out, we’re speaking to three Malaysian fitness gurus who are also fasting during Ramadan.
In fact, you might already know these ladies. We have Atilia Haron, the singer, actress, and yoga teacher. She has also recently launched her own batik fashion line using hand-painted batik material by local artisans and women from marginalised communities in Malaysia.
Next, we have Ainul Aishah, founder of Ainul Cookies & Co. While she’s not a fitness instructor herself, she’s a fitness bunny and a regular at F45 as well as a yoga practitioner. Finally, we have Siu Lim, a content creator, mother of four, and a certified Pilates instructor.
Below, we pick their brains on what their Ramadan workout routines are like, fitness and nutrition tips during the fasting season, as well as useful tools they’re utilising during their sweat sessions.
(Hero & featured image credit: Unsplash/ Logan Weaver)
Ainul Aishah (AA): I will continue working out but not my regular routine, since my regular gym time is not suitable to do during Ramadan.
Atilia Haron (AH): Definitely. During Ramadan is when I feel the most lethargic, tired, and sluggish. I will still start my day with my Sun Salutations for an hour or so, and my classes will still run both virtually and physically. I will just have to make sure that I maintain my strength throughout the day by eating nutritious food that will last.
Siu Lim (SL): My routine might slow down during Ramadan but it never stops! Working out makes me feel more energised so throughout my day in Ramadan, I’ll take it easy but I’ll still follow my usual workout routine.
AA: Since the timing is different, the best would be working out an hour before breaking fast. You can do a one-hour workout, whether intense or not and drink water right after you’re done. Also, you could have one to two pieces of kurma or bread. Have a rest for maybe another hour, and then you can enjoy a proper meal after. For me, that’s the best time to work out.
AH: I maintain my peak workout performance by making an effort to wake up and eat during Sahur. I also try and short naps in between my classes. That helps a lot. Instead of teaching five classes a day, I teach three. I also change some of my power flow classes to yin and slow flows — I do more stretches during the fasting month.
SL: Working out not only helps boost my energy for the day but surprisingly with a few adjustments here and there such as taking a nap when needed, slowing down during my workout session, drinking not only more water but drinks with more electrolytes such as coconut water or fresh fruit juices. I try to stick with the same routine as if it were any other day. If you regularly work out, I would say it’s quite easy to adapt to your normal routine but try to stick with the low impact workouts, take a break if you feel dizzy or lightheaded and most importantly listen to your body!
AA: It’s great having an Apple Watch as my companion, as it helps me to stay active like usual since I always get a notification to make sure I close my rings. During workouts, I can also track a lot of metrics like how many calories I burned and my total time of working out so I can decide how intense I want my workout to be.
AH: My Apple Watch knows my activities better than me, honestly. I know when I need to rest and take a breath, and when I need to push myself harder. During this Ramadan season, I will be depending on my Apple Watch to tell me when to rest and when to go. My focus will be a bit off during Ramadan as I am used to taking snacks in between. I definitely won’t be able to think straight, especially during the first week!
SL: If you want to start achieving a healthy lifestyle with the Apple Watch, Ramadan is always a good time to start. Resetting not only improves your fitness but also allows you to be more productive for the day! I love being able to easily track my workouts but also stay connected with my friends right from my wrist. And if you love competitions, you can even compete with your friends on Apple Watch to see who is the fittest.
AA: The best diet is not to overeat and to maintain healthy eating. You may indulge in some of your fave kueh or nasi goreng, but you can always control your portions while enjoying the food. Take less sugary food and drinks so you won’t get bloated. If you’re lazy to work out during the night after terawikh, it’s best is to schedule yourself weekly. For example, maybe three times a week of a 30-minute workout. This way, you won’t feel so much pressure on having to exercise after terawikh because psychologically, you’ve already organised your time and day.
AH: I love eating dates. It’s highly nutritious and also aids healthy bowel movements with a high concentration of antioxidants. I work out earlier during Ramadan and much later after I break fast. That gives ample time for food to be digested too.
SL: It’s all about the nutrition! I can’t stress enough how when we fast keep it up by eating the right food. I know you’re really hungry because you’ve been fasting all day but use the opportunity to change those had eating habits. When you eat more nutritiously, you’ll have more energy, even to exercise. A little goes a long way! You don’t have to do a huge workout if it’s at night or an intense one during the day, you just have to be consistent. Eating healthy and exercising helps both ways. You have to try to eat healthy so you can exercise and you have to try to exercise to eat healthily.
This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia KL.