LIFESTYLE
16/05/2018 06:14 SAST | Updated 16/05/2018 06:14 SAST

How To Eat Right And Get Your Workout In This Ramadan

You want to make sure you're getting in enough nutrients to get you through the day.

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Today marks the beginning of Ramadan — where many Muslims across the world fast during daylight for 29 to 30 days.

They do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours, eating one meal just before dawn, and another after sunset.

With only a window of a few hours a day of eating and fasting, how can they make sure they eat nutritious food, without overeating? And should they continue with their exercise regimes?

HuffPost spoke to a local dietician and a fitness specialist to tackle some of these questions.

Diet

If you're fasting, it's important to carefully consider what you eat, and make sure you're eating enough nutritious food to have energy throughout the day, advised registered dietician with Dieticians at Work, Ashley Gibbon.

"You want to make sure you are consuming nutritious foods, as well as slightly more calorie dense foods, in order to get you through the day," Gibbon said.

"Fats, are the most calorie dense of the three macronutrients, when compared to carbohydrates and proteins, and should definitely be included."

A great breakfast, suggested Gibbon, would be some smashed avocado, on wholewheat toast, with a poached egg on top. "This gives you a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and is also fairly calorie dense, but not completely overboard. Adding some sauteed mushrooms, and a slice or two of grilled tomato to this, would also give you that extra serving of vegetables!"

A bowl of oats, mixed with full cream yoghurt and a bit of fruit, would also be a nice, filling meal.

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"At dinner, it will be easier to get your vegetable portion in, so making sure you take in a nice portion of veggies here, is essential to maintaining your vitamin intake. Make sure you stick to wholegrain carbohydrates, they are also essential for keeping you full. Soups, curries and stews, tend to be calorie dense anyway, and vegetables can be added to these!"

Make sure you drink enough fluids after breaking the fast. Soups and stews can be a great fluid supplement to replace fluids lost during the day.

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Also be careful to not go overboard when breaking fast after sunset, by eating calorie-dense, but not so nutritious foods, like anything deep fried or too many sugar-dense foods.

Exercise

One can still workout during Ramadan, especially if they were working out prior. Fitness specialist, Isilda da Costa shared some tips with HuffPost.

"Now's not the time to set new records," cautioned da Costa.

'Don't test your endurance ability and listen to your body. Work slowly and in short periods of time only until you are better able and adjusted to the fasting."

Brisk walks, gentle jogs and lighter aerobic workouts are advisable. Add some strength training to your routine, as you will likely lose muscle mass during the fast, said da Costa. But if at any point you feel dizzy, weak or disoriented, stop immediately and rest.

The time of the workouts is crucial during Ramadan, she stressed.

"Ideally, workouts during Ramadan should be done just before sunset, as you will be about to break the fast and have a nice recovery. They can also be done after breaking the fast," advised fitness expert, Isilda da Costa. "This way you have the rest of the evening to fit in your recovery meals and maximise your feeding window."

Hydrate after your workout or after you break your fast she added. "Be sure to drink lots of water, as dehydration can be what leads you to overeat. Even using coconut water post-workout will help you tons as well as using dates to give you high energy quickly."

"If you stick to healthy meals, drinking water and doing your workouts during Ramadan, you'll be sure to maintain a decent level of fitness and body composition."