As a personal trainer and athlete who manages her training — and training others — along with her fasting, we wanted to tap into Zaakirah‘s exercise tips for Ramadan. A lot of it is about timing and type of exercise.
Zaakirah is also a global Nike ambassador and has her own workout on the worldwide platform: the Nike Training Club (NTC) app. She’s conducted large-scale Nike Training Club group classes throughout SA. Most recently, she assisted with the start-up of a fitness facility in the Middle East, but her drive to start her own business and make a difference in SA brought her back home. She’s the founder of R3vival Athletic in Joburg.
“My suggestion would be for the community to browse the workout collection section of the NTC app. Here individuals will find workouts divided according to themes that are both Ramadan and lockdown friendly,” suggests Zaakirah.
Exercises best suited to fasting
“I’ve selected workouts that are strength-based and that don’t elevate the heart rate too much if training while fasting during Ramadan. The workouts are also very short because of the time constraints due to prayers and fasting,” explains Zaakirah. Here are her suggestions from the NTC app. You can find them all on the app by searching for the “theme” under workouts.
Theme — Big workouts for small spaces
- Full Core Press. Intermediate 20-min workout. Focus is upper-body strength.
- Full Body Goal Crusher. Intermediate 16-min workout. Focus is total-body strength.
- Energy Flow Yoga. Intermediate 39-min workout.
Theme — Done in under 20
- Basic Burner. Beginner 15-min workout. Focus is core and lower body.
- Quick-Hit Lower Body burn. Beginner 20-min workout. Focus is lower body, stability and balance.
- Essential Flow Yoga. Beginner 19-min workout. Focus on spine mobility.
Theme — Best of abs, arms and glutes
- Quick Core Crusher. Beginner 10-min workout. Focus is core.
- Straight-Up Abs. Intermediate 12-min workout. Focus is core.
Exercise tips for Ramadan
“During Ramadan, the times for training differs from person to person. My suggestion would be for people to see what works for them. Most people train just before Iftaar (breaking of fast) at about 4 or 4:30pm, while others train just after breaking of fast, at about 6pm. I prefer training after breaking my fast as I have more energy and can get in some HIIT type of training too,” explains Zaakirah.
(If you want to try some HIIT training, check out this workout video by our deputy editor and qualified PT, Wanita Nicol.)
“Ramadan training has a lot to do with maintenance of fitness and strength and not necessarily building or improving muscle mass or stamina,” explains Zaakirah. She recommends the following:
Beginners: Three time per week, 20 to 30-min light sessions. Core, mobility, yoga, light strength workouts.
Intermediate to advanced: Four to six times per week, 45-min to one-hour sessions. Dependent on training times, you can opt for pure strength or HIIT style training.
What to eat
“If you plan on training after breaking your fast, then I suggest having a date, protein powder shake and a banana. You can always have your full meal after you train,” suggest Zaakirah.
For more info on what to eat and how to stay healthy under Lockdown, read this.