One might think people lose weight easily in Ramadan. The 10 to 15 hour gap between sunrise and sunset is enough to make anyone think they are losing weight. However, the opposite happens. People forego eating throughout the day, but once the sun sets, they end up consuming so many calories they gain everything they lost and more.
The fitness freaks however not only maintain a healthy diet throughout the holy month, they also workout while fasting. With Ramadan 2016 falling in peak summers, the question arises how safe is it to exercise when the body is already not fully hydrated.
Studies report that exercising primarily tips into the reserves of stored glycogen and carbohydrates which burns to give us energy. However when a person is fasting, the glycogen supply is low, and workout then uses up other energy sources such as fat (which is good) and protein (which is bad).
Burning fat is good if your aim is to slim down, burning protein however, is bad especially if you want to gain muscle mass. Protein is also important to the body for various other functions such as the making of new cells.
The more you exercise on an empty stomach, the more energy reserves your body will try to save. This slows down your metabolism. This can make losing weight in the future more difficult in the long run.
The loss of energy and lack of food makes you cranky, and while it may or may not be dangerous, your health is sure to suffer. The higher the intensity of your workout, the more you sweat. This will lower the water content in the body, and with no chance of drinking more until sunset, the risk of suffering from heat stroke and dehydration increases.
If you insist on having a workout session before you break your fast, you can. Just make sure of a few things.
- Have sehri that is full of energy rich foods. And do not forget to drink plenty of water. Stay away from caffeine as it too has a dehydrating effect on the body. Have an apple instead, it does the same job of waking you up.
- Lower the intensity of the workout. The higher the intensity, the more energy you require, the more protein and muscle mass you’ll end up losing, not to mention the risk of dehydration. A brisk walk or a jog can replace the heavy weight lifting and strength training session.
- Remember to consume protein rich foods once you have opened your fast and also drink plenty of water.
- Always consult a physician before you go on a heavy physical workout challenge, especially in Ramadan.