Exercise and Nutrition during Ramadan (Muslim Fasting Month)

Contributed by Vinz Low

During the period of Ramadan, many Muslims would abstain from food & water during the period from dawn to dusk. However, the fasting period does not necessary warrant a “non-exercise” philosophy. Here are some guidelines which you can use in order to continue to stay trim, fit and safe as you workout during Ramadan.

Embarkation- Right time to exercise

Just like there are specific times for passengers of a vessel or aircraft to board (embark), the choice of the timing of your training is just as essential.

The ideal time to train would be after the two “break fast” meals ie. Before dawn or after sunset. This, of course, is dependent on your schedule and work commitments.

Ramadan- Time to workout

Nutrition- Right pre-workout food to break fast with

For pre-workout” break fast” meals, I would prefer food with a high glycemic index (GI).

Using baseline index of glucose as 100, GI is an indication of how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar over a specified time period. Food containing monosaccharide (simple sugar) would thus have a higher GI and are excellent choices for raising the blood sugar level and ensuring that you would minimise the risk of fainting spells due to low blood sugar during your workout.

Ramadan- Choice of food

This would also minimise the amount of muscle glycogen being synthesised for the workout.
Choice of food (for pre-workout) can thus include: protein shakes, fruits such as dates, banana or apples, eggs or mixed nuts. Some of the GI values * are: banana (56), watermelon (72) and dates (103).

Hydration- Right amount and timing of water intake

This could not be stressed more. Water is certainly essential once the food and water in allowed to be consumed. Do drink beyond point of thirst before and after workout.

Ramadan- Importance of Hydration

Also bear in mind to hydrate during the workout itself. Dehydration is definitely something you want to avoid in your workout.

Moderation of fitness expectation

The last thing in your agenda would be to set a new benchmark in your workout routines. If you are used to doing 3sets @ 60-70% of 1 RM (Refer to Section 4 Slow start of “Making your workout work” for explanation of RM. Click here to jump to the article), you would not want to increase your load. Probably

I might even suggest the rest interval between sets to be increased by 20-25% if you do not want to over-tax the body.


In summary, the period of Ramadan is indeed a critical time for proper nutrition and exercise. Finally, I would like to wish all our Muslim readers a blessed Ramadan.

Authored by
Vinz Low
Principal Instructor
Zesty Kickz Kickboxing Singapore
©Zesty Kickz Kickboxing Singapore

*Source: Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD, Thomas M.S. Wolever M.D, PhD, Kaye Foster-Powell M.Nutr & Diet, Stephen Colagiuri M.D, The New Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index, , Marlowe & Company, 2003