When is the best time to workout in Ramazan?

When is the best time to workout in Ramazan?

The first step should be attempting to just move as much as you usually would.
Updated 28 Apr, 2020

I think we can all agree that when Ramazan falls during the summer months, the fasts become especially trying. Even having to walk for a few minutes in the scorching heat is enough to drain us, and makes us crawl into our beds with the air-conditioner on full blast as soon as we get home.

And now, here I am, writing an article about exercising in Ramazan.

Have I lost my mind?

Is it not enough that we’re all fasting while working, studying and continuing to run a household? Is it necessary to add this extra pressure of exercising as well?

The first step

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Before delving into the why and how of exercising in Ramazan, I will first talk about movement or the lack thereof during this time.

By movement, I’m referring to simple actions such as walking, bending, climbing, pushing, pulling or lifting.

Basically, the everyday movements that help improve our circulation, reduce stiffness, regulate blood pressure, drain our lymph to remove waste, and even release endorphins to improve our mood.

Unfortunately, this level of everyday movement drastically declines during Ramazan. We’ve become extremely accustomed to easing our discomfort in any way possible, whether it’s sleeping through most of our fast, or forming a close relationship with the living room couch.

Needless to say, this isn’t the best idea for our overall health. Fewer movements throughout the day lead to poor circulation, stiffness of the joints, more aches and pains and even a sour mood.

So before you start thinking about exercise during Ramazan, the first step should be attempting to just move as much as you usually would.

Once this foundation is set, you can choose to maximise these health benefits by coming up with an exercise routine. It’s important to recognise that everyone has a different health history and personal circumstances, so if you’re unable to exercise during Ramazan, it’s not the end of the world.

I want to clarify that exercising during Ramazan is not harmful, if it is done the right way.

In fact, for example, if you’re looking to lose weight, Ramazan is actually one of the best times to capitalise on the body’s increased fat burning rate.

When is the best time?

Simply put, the best time to exercise is when you can replenish your body with nutrients right afterwards. Your body requires food and water to rehydrate itself, replenish electrolytes and prevent muscle atrophy.

Let’s take a look at your options:

Option 1: Before Fajr

Given that Fajr is around 4am, it is unlikely that you will be willing to wake up at 3am to exercise before eating Sehri. If you are, more power to you! But keep in mind that since exercise raises cortisol levels it may be hard to fall back asleep afterwards.

Option 2: Before Iftar

Although this may initially be difficult to adjust to, this is the best time to exercise, especially if you’re looking for fat loss. Exercising in a fasting state will force your body to dip into its fat reserves much earlier, and you will be able to replenish your body with nutrients right afterwards at Iftar.

Option 3: After Iftar, before Isha

This option depends mostly on the time zone that you’re in, and requires careful planning.

For example, if you’re in Pakistan and your fast breaks between 7 and 7:30 pm, you could do the following: have a small snack such as water, dates and a fruit chaat at Iftar, attend Maghrib prayers, squeeze in a 20 or 30-minute workout around 8pm, followed by dinner and then Isha prayers.

However, if iftar in your household is often combined with dinner, or if it’s a large family affair, realistically you may not have time to yourself until 10pm (or even later), especially if you regularly participate in taraweeh prayers at night.

But what if you’re living abroad and your fast breaks closer to 8:30 or 9pm? I would not recommend exercising at that time.

Realistically, exercise would not be possible until after 9pm, which would further delay when you can eat dinner and when you can go to sleep.

Plus, exercising and eating a large meal that close to bedtime may make it difficult to fall asleep in the first place.

What type of exercises should I do?

If you’re exercising before Iftar, keep it to light cardio such as jogging, biking or yoga for 20 to-45 minutes. Or if you’d prefer shorter, high intensity training, you can do a 10-20 minute bodyweight workout.

However, if you’d like to include weight training, I would recommend doing this after you break your fast.

Strength training requires, well, strength. And for that type of strength, your body turns to glycogen (carbs) stored in your muscles. Fasting leads to depleted levels of glycogen, which means your body won’t be able to exert the strength or endurance that's required to see results.

Take a look: Better sore than sorry — How to get a toned body

Not only can you potentially injure yourself, but you might negatively impact harm muscle growth since your body will break down protein instead to fuel the workout. When you do lift weights after Iftar, keep it shorter than you typically would, and go lighter if necessary.

At the end of the day, simply try to respect your body during Ramazan. Respect it by giving it the movement it craves, but also respect it by not pushing it too hard.


Syed Jun 14, 2016 11:25am
Very informative article. Just one observation - Suhur is an alien word for most of the Pakistanis. Sehri would have been a much better option recognizable by the majority. Not everyone has lived in the Middle East madam.
Imran Malik Jun 14, 2016 11:32am
Excellent article and very good advice regarding the weight training after Iftar.
Manly man Jun 14, 2016 12:10pm
Nice article, it all boils down to individual stamina, resilience and capacity. In Ramazan I actually doubled my cardio exercise from 60mins to 120min. On rest days I swap jogging with 3/4 hour brisk paced walks. Exercising whilst fasting is an impressive way to get great weight loss, especially water weight. Thank you for an excellent article.
Ij Jun 14, 2016 01:37pm
Nice article. Tried and tested every bit of advice and it does work. As fast breaks at 9:45 PM, scenario to do light cardio before Iftar really worked for me for some years now.
KnowTheTruth Jun 14, 2016 02:17pm
not sure if one would be able to take up exercise after starving all day
Faisal Jun 14, 2016 02:35pm
If you are so worried about your body, why fast in the first place? As far as continuing with your routine daily movement is concerned, that's fine and healthy as well and I think it's a good advice by the author to continue as such. But with strength training would also creep in the talk of having enough proteins and other nutrients which is hard to take in normal diet due to short period between iftar and sehri. Then all the ways you can get them in such as powders and shakes. This is Ramazan and you are meant to feel the pain and endure the weakness as the result to benefit!! This month you should be worried about your soul and not your body. Better spend this time utilising most of this holy month. I think enough has already been said on this topic by scholars so I am none the wiser.
Abdullah Jun 14, 2016 02:42pm
Excellent article. Very Informative. Light cardio excercise just before Iftar could be quite good for fat bruning and endurance, especially since you can replenish nutrition immediately afterwords through Iftar.
Ahmed Jun 14, 2016 03:21pm
I do exercise but after iftar, late into the night around 10 p.m. I break fast with fruit chaat and a lot of lemon water (without sugar) and orange juice (without sugar). After half an hour i have some fish to replenish my protein needs. Then I do high intensity workout at 10 as i said, for 45 minutes. i have my protein shake afterwards and then I eat my main meal including chicken and vegetable. Off course I have coffee after wards. In suhoor I have oats in milk with little dried grapes and pieces of dates in it. I also add water melon and cucumber in suhoor for hydration. Plus sometimes i also have a 4 egg ommollete. good luck
HSK Jun 14, 2016 04:21pm
@Syed 'Sehri' is borrowed and altered word derived from 'Suhur'. There is no shame in sticking to the original word. Same applied to 'ramzan' which is borrowed and derived from the original word 'ramadan'. No word is holier than other but let it be choice for the speaker to choose from. Regardless of linguistics, it's a very good and informative article.
Yousuf M. Jun 15, 2016 02:20am
Good article. Agree that it is very important to exercise even in Ramadan to maintain muscle mass (use it or lose it). Ramadan is meant to install good lifestyle habits for the rest of the year, and exercise is definitely a very good habit.
Khwarezmi Jun 15, 2016 03:12am
Good idea. I will walk before iftar from now on.
nasr Jun 15, 2016 08:04am
If you are near a masjid walk to the masjid, After iftar at dinner eat moderately. The best exercise is 20 Rakah of Taraveeh.
Omrna Jun 15, 2016 08:31am
I usually go 3 times a week before Iftar for workout and that works good
Omrna Jun 15, 2016 08:32am
@KnowTheTruth . I do and its better then after me
Omrna Jun 15, 2016 08:34am
@Faisal Ramadan is for mind and body and this doesn't mean you leave everything and sit in AC
Oc Jun 15, 2016 09:41am
@Syed thats called learning something new ;)
Adil Jadoon Jun 15, 2016 10:20am
I have tried exercising before iftar and it cardio capacity is really limited. Doing small weights is OK but really you are using your muscle glycogen. A better idea is to just do stretching and core exercises to maintain yourself while eating healthily at iftar.
Adil Jadoon Jun 15, 2016 10:21am
@Ahmed I Take It You Don't work?
Mudassar Jun 15, 2016 12:58pm
@Faisal Agree with you. Exercising on an empty stomach is not only useless, but also counterproductive. It can even lead to heart attack. Readers should follow any of this advice with caution.
Papa gee Jun 15, 2016 08:57pm
If you are commited to your daily exercise routine you will find a way and only you can set yourself a scehdule. It is better to exercise on a empty stomach without any carbs available your body will use up the stored fat. I do 200 push ups 100 bodyweight squats before iftar and go for protiens first,later if i want to do some weight training i load a little bit on carbs not chat or samosas but daal and chawal for sehri two egg and oatmeal i am 57 yrs old maybe i dont need to stuff my self crazy to survive the fast.
Anas Usaid Jun 15, 2016 09:18pm
Actually I am positively surprised to see a blog on dawn news which accommodates the purpose while totally respecting the sanctity of this month. Good work writer.
Vinod Narang Jun 15, 2016 10:52pm
Easiest way to keep your self fit is walk 10000 steps a day. From the time you get up to the time you go to sleep. All smart phones have these app that can track your steps. I have done this for a while now and i am in my 60's people always say you are loosing weight are you sick. I tell them no and it is intentional. Walking is also good for your heart and helps you control your blood sugar levels and keeps blood pressure normal. I have been able to keep my self off insulin for now with this and Allah's blessings.
FB Jun 16, 2016 07:19am
@Omrna - you didn't get the point. Carry on...
FB Jun 16, 2016 07:27am
@Mudassar - point is if people are so worried about carbs and proteins and weight loss, why bother fasting? There are other programmes where you can apply all this. Please leave body for purity of the soul. If you work, you can continue with your daily routine which in case of an average Pakistani involves going for work and studies ( unless it's holidays). The only intended audience for this article seems like the couch potatoes, for whom I think this is a good advice.
MAH Jun 16, 2016 02:26pm
i find it best to split my workout into 2: light stretches and yoga in the morning around 7, and 6 pm after waking up from a good nap.
Shahzad Jun 16, 2016 02:32pm
Loved the idea ! Will try some this Ramadan !
Mudasir Jun 16, 2016 06:24pm
Simply... fast and read taraweeh, you'll get perfect detox! And fast for Allah, not to lose weight, you'll get more benefits from fasting than just weight loss! Keep your sehri and iftar feasts moderate.
Awais Jun 17, 2016 08:30am
A very good and "rare" article in which practical suggestions are presented. Thanks