Ramadan bootcamp keeps faithful fighting fit during fasting

15 June, 2015

By Naomi Selvaratnam: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/14/ramadan-bootcamp-keeps-faithful-fighting-fit-during-fasting

At a gym in the western Sydney suburb of Auburn, a group of women, many wearing hibjabs, has gathered to exercise.

These women are all taking part in the Ramadan bootcamp in order to stay fit in the lead-up to, and throughout the holy month.

During Ramadan, Muslims must abstain from food and water after sunrise and before sunset.

Founder, Dalal Karra-Hassan said exercise can provide the perfect antidote to the stress associated with Ramadan.

"If you want to be healthy, if you want to enjoy ramadan, you gotta let out the stresses," he told SBS.

"Ramadan can be stressful as a lady, especially with all the cooking and cleaning, and preparing before 5pm for everyone to break their fast. By the end of it you're like oh my god I'm exhausted. Go do your prayer, come out and unleash in the gym."

Lael Kassem is part of Go Active, a team leading health and fitness information sessions in the lead-up to Ramadan.

She said the prospect of continuing to exercise during Ramadan can be daunting for many Muslims.

"When people think oh we're not going to eat for the whole day, how are we going to train, I think it's a mental challenge for us to overcome."

Ramadan bootcamp participant, Sarah Alameddine agreed training helps her to maintain focus.

"Training in Ramadan gives me the energy to keep up with my kids, keep up with my day, and gives me the energy to stay up without food all day, training gives me that extra energy and boost in the day."

For some, fasting during Ramadan can lead to binge eating.

Lael Kassem said working out with a friend can help fight off the urge to overindulge.

"Training with a friend is the best fun and you can motivate each other and knowing that you're both fasting and you're both doing this for the same purpose, it helps motivate you to keep going."

As for tips on how to stay healthy during the holy month, the Dalal Karra-Hassan had these suggestions.

"Eat small portions, drink plenty of water and 100 per cent train. Don't miss out on training because you're fasting. It doesn't work that way."