Female Muslim Athlete Stretching On The Track As She Trains And Exercises Through Ramadan

Training During Ramadan: Timing, Fueling & Hydration Tips

BY Mohammad Nourani

Training during Ramadan is a challenge, but not impossible. These tips and strategies can help you fuel, recover, and continue making progress.

Fasting for Ramadan is a challenging enough task on its own, but when you add training into the mix, it adds an entirely new layer of complications.

It’s not just nutrition and dehydration that an athlete has to worry about during Ramadan. Finding time to train, managing your recovery, and taking care of your mental state are also important factors to consider. But while challenging, it’s not impossible to make improvements in fitness during Ramadan. Here are three strategies and a few helpful tips to help you train through Ramadan.

Timing Your Workouts During Ramadan

Navigating training sessions during Ramadan requires strategic planning. The most common options are to either train after Iftar, before Iftar, or just before Suhoor. Each option presents its own advantages and disadvantages, with none being inherently better than the others.

Strategy 1: Train After Iftar

Advantages: Training after Iftar allows you to train and refuel as you normally would. You might even be able to break your fast with a small pre-workout fuel and follow your session with a full meal.

Disadvantages: You’ll likely have to train in the dark, and facilities might be closed this late in the day. If you train with a group, coordinating with your coach or training partners might be difficult. 

Strategy 2: Training Just Before Iftar

Advantages: This strategy allows you to refuel and rehydrate immediately post-workout. (This is also when I prefer to train during Ramadan.)

Disadvantages: Training while in a fasted state, after an entire day of not eating or drinking, is challenging. Your workouts will also have to take place late in the day with this option.  

Strategy 3: Train Just Before Suhoor

Advantages: Like Strategy 1, you’re able to fuel as much as you need during and after your workout.  

Disadvantages: This option requires waking up at least an hour before Suhoor, which can be mentally taxing, and requires good planning to execute successfully. You might find it difficult to get enough sleep with this training strategy, but I know plenty of people who prefer this timing.

Fueling & Hydration Tips

It’s a common misconception that you will be in a caloric deficit during Ramadan since you aren’t eating during the day. In reality, though, most people don’t actually change how much they eat during Ramadan, only when they eat it. Although you’re skipping lunch, it’s easy to make up for it by overeating during Suhoor and Iftar (as many of us do).

But remember: As an athlete, your needs are different from the general population. Your body’s nutritional requirements don’t change during Ramadan, only the timing of when you feed it. Because of this, you need to pay close attention to your macros at mealtimes. 

Balancing your carb, protein, and fat intake across both meals is key to sustaining energy levels and proper recovery during Ramadan. This takes discipline, as you’ll likely be tempted to eat as much as possible when you can, especially during Iftar. My advice is to plan your macronutrient portions before you eat. 

It’s normal to lose a small amount of weight during Ramadan, especially in the beginning. The goal is to end the month at a similar weight to where I was pre-Ramadan. Weighing yourself at the start and end of Ramadan can help you determine if you’ve fueled sufficiently. 

Getting Enough Fluids

Hydration is more of a challenge, especially if you decide to train in a fasted state. Although you’ll be tempted to chug as much water as possible during Suhoor or Iftar, I advise you to rehydrate slowly with food. If you drink too much too quickly, your stomach will feel full and you likely won’t eat enough. Gradual rehydration, coupled with food intake, optimizes post-fasting recovery.

Hydrating during Suhoor is equally important, but again, don’t overdo it.

Training Intensity During Ramadan

When it comes to training intensity, prioritize maintenance over progression. Train at your current fitness level, and be aware of your intensity/volume. 

The early days of each Ramadan are usually the most difficult when it comes to training, as we tend to feel low energy or fatigued as our bodies adjust to the new fueling and sleep schedules. I recommend keeping your first few workouts of Ramadan as low/moderate in both intensity and volume and seeing how your body reacts.

This isn’t to say that every day should be an easy or light training day. You still need high-intensity efforts to keep your central nervous system sharp and muscles firing.. The difference here is that the density of your high-intensity training sessions doesn’t need to be as high for the month.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It’s very possible to make progress during Ramadan, but it requires planning and discipline. But don’t forget to take care of your mental health, too! 

It’s incredibly normal to feel tired and unmotivated during this month, especially at the start. If you aren’t able to train at the level you normally do, don’t stress! Practice self-compassion and know that you aren’t alone. I would only get concerned if you just stop training altogether because it is “too difficult.” 

The fact that you are training at all during Ramadan is a feat in itself. If you plan properly, make adjustments as needed, and try to train at least close to pre-Ramadan intensity, then you will be fine. Your fitness will come back – I promise!


Chennaoui M., et al. (2009, August). Effects of Ramadan fasting on physical performance and metabolic, hormonal, and inflammatory parameters in middle-distance runners. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19767792/ 

Maughan, R., et al. (2012). Achieving optimum sports performance during Ramadan: some practical recommendations. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22769241/

Shepherd, R. (2012, June 7). The Impact of Ramadan Observance upon Athletic Performance. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3397348/

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Mohammad Nourani
About Mohammad Nourani

Mohammad “Coach Mo” Nourani is the assistant track coach at Cal Poly specializing in sprints, jumps, and hurdles. A former NCAA athlete himself, Mohammad has experience working with youth, collegiate, and professional athletes from a variety of backgrounds. Here he gives a quick overview of Ramadan and provides training and nutrition solutions for observing athletes.

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