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Maintaining Your Fitness While Fasting

The holly month of Ramadan is the most precious month in the Islamic calendar (Hijri) when Muslims are to refrain from all food and drinks during the day, between Suhur (before sunrise) to Iftar (after sunset). It is also a time to reflect and soul-search, a season to cleanse the body and soul. In this spiritual month, there are certain technical aspects that need to be taken into consideration, such as maintain your fitness and energy levels during the course of the day, so that fasting does not take a toll on your health and physical endurance. Therefore, we have created a list of tips on how to make the best out of this Holy month and stay productive and sharp.

What to eat 
During Ramadan, you are faced with the same tasks and obligations as during the rest of the year, which means that you need to stay energized in order to be able to focus on your daily duties. For that purpose, the best foods to prepare for Suhur and Iftar are foods that are rich in fiber and protein, as these are your best sources of energy. The whole idea that greasy foods give us more energy is incorrect. In fact, heavy greasy meals make you feel fatigued faster after Iftar. Your best sources of protein are eggs, chicken breasts, cheese, milk, beef, and fish. As for fibers, your best sources can be found in avocados, berries, figs, peas, chickpeas (which you can use to prepare delicious hummus) all types of greens as well as almonds and other nuts.

When to hydrate
Many people believe that the best time to stock up on the water supply needed for the upcoming day is right before and after the Suhur meal. This is actually a very wrong approach, and you need to learn how to stay hydrated during Ramadan properly, in order to avoid experiencing excruciating thirst during the day.

How to exercise
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to increase your muscle mass or your levels of fitness during this month; you can however achieve a different goal – maintaining your current fitness levels and weight. Along with proper nutrition and avoidance of over-indulgence, you need to exercise regularly. For example, if you work out at home with appropriate gym equipment, the best way to go about this is to either minimize the intensity of your workout (lift smaller weights, run slower or even shift to power-walking instead of running, etc.), or keep the intensity but cut the workout time in half. In this case, the optimal amount of time is thirty minutes a day.

When to exercise 
This is a question that is on the mind of many people during Ramadan – when is the best time to exercise. Well, there are two. The first is some time after Iftar, once you have given the body time to process and digest the food. The reason why this is a great time is because your energy levels are at their peak, and you can engage in a high-intensity workout, similar, if not the same to your regular one, as you will have a window of time to make up for the lost calories during Suhur. Another great time is just before Iftar. As your energy levels are low, having spent an entire day fasting, the recommended exercise is the low-impact one, like a brisk walk or a quick run, and as soon as you are done with your workout, it will be time to replenish your energy.

Article by Peter, a lifestyle and travel writer at Men-Ual and Ivania's Mode magazine, living between the UK and Australia.