Your Hour-By-Hour Guide To Staying In Shape This Ramadan

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Jun 5 2016 / 14:38 PM

Fit while fasting

Your Hour-By-Hour Guide To Staying In Shape This Ramadan

Reebok Classics' first ever Ramadan collection, available exclusively in the UAE from June 10, 2016


Marlene Bunston, leading Dubai-based fitness professional and co-founder of Businessbay Crossfit, gives Bazaar the ultimate guide for maintaining your fitness and nutrition levels during Ramadan: 

"Ramadan is an exceptionally good time to get strong. By taking the focus away from food, you have room to focus on more enriching and important things in life. Set strength and performance goals for yourself and absolutely destroy them. Ramadan is not the time to be doing great amounts of cardio. Since you are not able to replenish lost water immediately, I encourage you to leave the cardio for this month and focus on things that aren't as taxing on the cardiovascular system and don't leave you in a pool of sweat. Lift those weights!

If you are a cardio addict, then I would suggest doing your swim, cycle or run after iftar when you are able to drink water throughout and can quickly replenish glycogen losses. However, if you think you need to do loads of cardio to stay trim, I challenge you this Ramadan to find a gym where you can work with trusted professionals on getting strong. See what kinds of changes your body can make. I bet you look and feel better after only one month.

A photo posted by Marlene (@bbcfmar) on

Bazaar's fitness expert Marlene Bunston extols the importance of weight training during Ramadan

The ideal time to train while fasting is approximately two hours before you break your fast, however, some people still prefer to exercise in the morning or even later on in the evening, post-iftar. The most important thing is that you listen to your body and ensure that when you exercise it leaves you feeling good, strong and accomplished. Not exhausted, hungry, thirsty and struggling.

It is of the utmost importance that you are giving your body adequate amounts of rest as well as water during the non-fasting hours. Try to avoid staying out in to the early morning hours after iftar, as much as this is a family time, it is not the time to be putting your health in the backseat. Sleep as early as you can after fuelling your body properly. Also, aim to drink a minimum of three litres of water between iftar and suhoor.

A photo posted by Marlene (@bbcfmar) on

Deadlifts will strengthen all major muscle groups 

How to structure your day for ultimate fitness and nutrition during Ramadan

3am: wake up and drink 500ml of water

Suhoor: Eat a well-balanced meal containing proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This is your last meal before iftar so it will need to fuel you through until about 7:15pm. You could try having 2 eggs, 1 medium sized sweet potato and some vegetables in whichever way you most enjoy.

Drink at least another 500ml of water before imsak.

4am: Fajir prayer

After praying, go back to sleep until you have to wake up to start your day. Likely, around 7am.

2-3:30pm until 4pm: Have a pre-training nap.

5pm: Exercise. Create a schedule for each day, whether weights, yoga or a rest day. Keep exercise low impact and focused on strength to avoid becoming too thirsty.

6pm: Cool down. Here you can do some stretching or mobility work. This will aid in your recovery immensely.

6:30pm: Shower and prepare for iftar.

7:15pm: Iftar. Break your fast with 1-3 dates and 500ml water. Magrib prayers. Upon completing your prayers, have a nutritious, well balanced meal. Feel free to be creative with your meals, but keep them clean. Try not to swing far from how you normally eat. Your body won't love that, especially after a full day of being active and fasting. Aim to not get caught up in all of the lavish hotel iftars available at this special time. An example of a nutritious evening meal is grilled tenderloin steak (any meat is fine), medium portion of steamed rice, lots of veggies any style.

Drink another 1.5 litres of water between iftar and going to bed. Also eat another small snack before bed, this could be a bowl of Greek yogurt with nuts, seeds and fresh fruit.

10:30pm: Get to bed. Recovery is so important and sleep is when that happens best.

The most important thing that you can do for yourself during Ramadan if you want to remain fit, healthy and strong, is have a plan. As the saying goes: Failing to plan is planning to fail."