The 411 on Working Out During Ramadhan

July 3, 2014

Having to abstain from food and water might seem like a nightmare for those who are on an exercise regimen. When is the best time to exercise? What are the things you have to look out for should you want to continue with your gym routine anyway? Gold’s Gym Investigate! We interviewed 2 of our personal trainers to answer your burning questions!

Working-out while fasting means we exercise when our body is calorie and energy deficient, or known as hypocaloric condition. During fasting, our body is more prone to dehydration with the lack of fluid intake, but it does not mean we should skip hitting the gym! Working out on a fasted condition is actually advised to keep your physique feeling fresh and energized, with a few adjustments that is.

Why Should We Keep Exercising?
Exercise has been proven to increase stamina, and this still applies when you’re fasting. You should not stop your fitness program just because you’re fasting. Stopping completely for a month will tamper with your performance, and when the fasting month is over and you want to get back to your routine, your body will have to adjust again due to its drop in stamina from the absence of physical activity.


Tommy Gultom, a Personal Trainer at Gold’s Gym Indonesia advised, “Make sure you get the right nutrition during the fasting month, as well as sufficient amount of sleep to support the effectiveness of your training.” Basically, everybody can still achieve their fitness target during the fasting month if they know what to look out for. “But please keep in mind that if you intend to bulk up, it’s going to require more effort due to hypocaloric and dehydrated conditions of our body during fasting, which will force the body to break the muscle into energy” Tommy explained.

Warm Up, Cool Down!
Fasting or not, warming up and cooling down are as important as any exercise. Warming up is important to increase your body temperature and metabolism gradually to prepare your body for the actual workout. And just as important as warming up, cooling down is necessary to lower your intensity gradually and stretch your muscle, which is very essential to help your muscle and joint regain their normal functions. Cooling down sets you free from soreness or stiffness after training and it is also important to help redistribute the blood back to your heart. 

There are no specific moves that you should do or avoid when you are fasting. Just keep in mind that warming up should not make you tired, so do about 10-15 minutes of warming up. If you have problems with your joints, it is advised to consult to your doctor or Gold’s Gym Personal Trainer for a safe and proper warm up and cool down sessions. 

Perfect Timing! 
Hypocaloric condition + dehydration = tired and exhausted physique. This recipe for disaster can be countered by choosing the right timing to ‘cheat’ the weak stamina while still getting the benefits of an effective workout.


There are several options in terms of timing. If you think you can bear the thirst and hunger pangs, you can work out 1 – 2 hours before iftar. You can even work out in the morning if you think you can take it. Just remember to do the workout with the intensity that’s appropriate for you. If you’re working out in the morning you can reduce your intensity, but if you’re working just before iftar you can keep your normal intensity. One thing to be cautious about: dehydration. “Every time you feel dizzy, you should immediately take a short break and then cool down to finish the work out.” said Sabilah Nuramandika or better known as Dika, a personal trainer from Gold’s Gym at Thamrin City

If you prefer working out after iftar, then you can do it 1 - 2 hours after iftar. If you work out at this hour, then there’s not much difference with non-fasting time.

It’s All about the Frequency 

One of the most common questions about working-out while fasting is the frequency. Is it okay to exercise everyday? Tommy suggested us to exercise 3-5 times a week, with some adjustments on the intensity. “If you train 3 times a week, you can try medium-high intensity training. But if you train 5 times a week, then doing light-medium intensity training is enough. For weight training, if you do it more than 3 times a week, do different training for different muscle each session,” Tommy added. Remember to always adjust the intensity of your training based on your capabilities. 

For the type of training you can do during the fasting month, it all comes back to your initial fitness goals. Any types of training are allowed, what you should avoid is those that contradict your health condition. Before doing any exercise, do a health screening with Gold’s Gym Personal Trainer to find out your health condition.

Bulk Up, Eat Up!

It’s hard to just talk about exercise without mentioning anything about diet, so here’s what you should know. With the less eating period and food intake, fasting is the best time for you to cut. But if you’re insisting on bulking up and stay on your muscle mass gaining program, fret not! You just have to find a way around it. “So that you can maintain or even gain muscle mass during fasting, you have to make sure your calorie intake is still sufficient during suhoor and iftar. And this is important: you also have to make sure you’re getting enough protein!” said Dika. You can get the protein from just food alone or you can take supplements, but the former is more preferable as it is healthier and more natural.


If you prefer to work out after iftar, the formula is: break your fast continued with a workout and finish off with the main meal. To break your fast, opt for simple carbohydrate such as fruits, honey, sugar, or milk, which can be turned quickly into energy to fuel your workout. Continue with your main meal post-workout.


If you have a certain medical condition like diabetes, however, always consult with your doctor or nutritionist for the best diet and exercise that caters to your condition.