Fit to Post Health

Tips on how to do training during Ramadan

Training doesn't have to stop during the month of Ramadan. (Photo courtesy of Coach Jon)Training doesn't have to stop during the month of Ramadan. (Photo courtesy of Coach Jon)

Coach Jonathan Wong has a Doctorate of Science in Holistic Medicine and is the author of "The Happy Body - Getting to the root of YOUR fitness, health and productivity". He is also the founder and CEO of Genesis Gym Singapore, which aims to provide the best personal training and fitness services in Singapore. His views expressed below are his own.

This year the Muslim fasting month arrives quite early, and many of our Muslim clients want to know "what should I do to maximize my results?" even though they are fasting for most of the day.

When I was working at my first job in the Singapore Sports School, we did some testing on the athletes who were fasting during Ramadan. We found that if they did the right things, performance was not affected much.

So, it is still possible to get good results even during Ramadan?

Here are 3 things that you can do to keep your fitness during the fasting month of Ramadan in 2013!

1. Have an idea of your nutritional requirements

The good news is that, how much and what you eat are FAR more important than when you eat.

Yes, it's probably better for most people to eat regular meals, especially if you are in a stressful job, or are training really hard. But as I discussed in my article on different kinds of diets, there are many ways to get results.

People often underestimate the calories in food. I don't teach calorie counting as the no. 1 method of weight loss, but in a social setting like the evening break-fast. It is easy to overdo things.

The most important thing is to make sure that you hit your protein requirements, and fill up the remaining calories with either fat or carbohydrates.

I like to ask clients to eat at least 2g of protein per kg of weight. So that's about 140-150g for the 70kg man. Here is what 20g of protein looks like.

A good guideline for sedentary people is to take your weight in kg, and multiply that by 25. So a 70kg man would need about 1750 calories per day. You can multiply this by x1.2 if you a mildly active, and x1.6 if you are very active, or are very muscular.

2. Choose foods wisely

It is extremely easy to overeat when you are eating sweets, cakes and pudding. So even though dates, figs and rice pudding are traditional foods, keep those to reasonable amounts.

You can also choose "slow digesting" foods for breakfast which help keep you full throughout the day. These foods tend to be higher in healthy fats and protein as these take far longer to digest than simple starches.

A good choice would be something like curry chicken, or rendang left over from the previous nights dinner. Coconut milk based sauces are also healthy fats and can be used.

3. Choose exercise timings

Ideally, you can exercise early in the morning. Perhaps after the morning prayers, but before breakfast. While not ideal, it is OK to do exercise in a fasted state if you are well nourished from the previous night's meal.

If this is not possible, then I would suggest training just before the evening break-fast. This will be slightly harder as you may be slightly dehydrated. If this is the case, keep your "difficulty" high, use higher weights in the gym, but reduce the "amount" of training by lowering the total number of sets you do.

Most importantly, enjoy the time with friends and family because this is great for your relaxation and stress management!

Coach Jonathan Wong has a Doctorate of Science in Holistic Medicine, and is the author of "The Happy Body - Getting to the root of YOUR fitness, health and productivity". He is also the Founder and CEO of Genesis Gym Singapore, which aims to provide the best personal training and fitness services in Singapore.