Training during Ramadan: ‘It’s a button I need to put in’ | Right away

It’s Ramadan and that means for fasting athletes: no bottle of water and no banana or cottage cheese just before training. But with a changed schedule, sport remains possible. What are the advice salyates and how do athletes themselves work?

People with health problems and pregnant women are advised not to fast during Ramadan. “This also applies to sports during Ramadan,” says Patricia Schutte of the Nutrition Center. “But if you’re healthy and listen to your body, sport doesn’t have a good thing.”

In a good way, Schutte means: as short as possible for iftar (dinner) sports, then healthy diet, plenty of drinking and enough sleep. “Choose diet with protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. No soda or other high-calorie drinks, but water, coffee, tea or soup.”

If you’re thirsty for exercise, what then? “Fluid can be held in your body. So drink a lot, if it’s allowed, and then don’t lose too much moisture, it’s wise to do some strenuous things during the day and stay away from the sun.”

What happens in practice? We ask two fasting athletes.

Heidy Chahid van den Dungen

  • Age: 52
  • Sport: two to three times a week, daily cycling or walking

“This is my 32nd Ramadan, sport and fasting have become the order of the day for me. I’m probably through the year more often, my body is used to it. There are also top athletes who celebrate Ramadan and still run a marathon. If you exercise for it, you can exercise without having to eat and drink immediately. But listen very carefully to your body and what you can do.”

“Sitting doesn’t have to be during Ramadan.”

Heidy Chahid van den Dungen, Sports and

“If you eat a lot of sugar and few real nutrients, you will notice it. The Koran clearly says that it is important to eat and live healthily. The culinary moments should not be moments when you are full. I’m on in the morning with a good protein-rich breakfast, for example with a shake with banana, nuts, cottage cheese and oatmeal.”

“Sitting doesn’t have to be during Ramadan. Hiking, a round of cycling: this is possible for everyone. I drive and go during the day and when I train I do it at night.”

Listen carefully to your body, tips Heidy Chahid van den Dungen. (Photo: Own Archive)

Ali Acharki

  • Age: 26
  • Sport: five days a week

“I’m training very differently now than I normally do, with a changed schedule. I train two hours before I go to dinner, five times a week. I do 45 minutes of quiet strength training and no cardio. You can’t ask too much of your body in this day and age. I did cardio once, but then I lost a few pounds.”

“I don’t find it difficult to continue training during Ramadan. I don’t have to fast, I want it. I prepare well. On the first day I put a button on and from then on it’s normal.”

“To get back to sports, I drink milk and other protein-rich products such as cottage cheese and chicken breast. I also like to eat Harira, a Moroccan soup and dates. I also drink a lot and make smoothies, for example with avocado. That’s what your body needs.”

Ali Acharki trains with a tailor-made schedule during Ramadan. (Photo: Own archive)