Working out during Ramadan


Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. It comprises of praying, charity and fasting. It’s also the time of year that your training is most likely to suffer if you’re fasting. But it doesn’t have to be.

Benefits of Fasting

Exercise during Ramadan has some incredible health benefits that you can take advantage of; such as:

· Restoring insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning

· Producing a calorie deficit which is ideal for those looking to reduce their body fat percentage

· An increase in growth hormones to increase muscle mass and build strength

· Lowering blood pressure, oxidative stress and even the risk of developing some cancers

So while there are potential gains to be made, you still can’t expect to carry on as usual whilst fasting for Ramadan. There are a number of things you need to adjust in order to continue training while fasting:

1. Time of Workout

The biggest adaptation you’ll need to make is to your workout times. There are three times of day when a workout would be most effective whilst fasting:

I. Before Suhoor – Training before your morning meal is when a lot of people normally train, however during Ramadan this will probably mean training at 3am. This will be the most effective time to fit in a work out. You can replenish your protein and nutrient levels afterwards as well as being able to drink fluids during the workout itself.

II. 1 hour before breaking your fast – Generally good for a low intensity workout rather than HIIT or weight training. Your carbohydrate levels will be very low at this time so you won’t have as much energy as you normally would, however it’s a more sociable hour. Major downside is you can’t drink water during your workout so make sure you get plenty of fluids in the moment you break your fast.

III. After Taraweeh prayers – The added benefit of training after Taraweeh prayers is there will have been plenty of time for your evening meals to digest. You can also drink water or workout drinks whilst training. The downside being the anti-social side of working out at this time.

There is no perfect time to exercise during Ramadan, it’s all about what works for you. We understand that the times we’ve recommended aren’t always the best time to get to the gym. We recommend speaking to our Fitness Instructors about getting a workout plan that you can use at home during these times, they will gladly support you in making one.

2. Sleep

During Ramadan your sleeping schedule is likely to be disrupted. Not getting enough sleep not only lowers your energy levels and reduces your concentration. It is during sleep that growth hormones are released that repair the skin and muscle tissue. Knowing this, you should make a conscious effort to get in as much sleep as possible. If your working hours permit then take a nap after work and before Iftar to try and get in as close to the ideal 8 hours a day as possible.

3. Diet

Of course your diet and eating schedule are going to be different during Ramadan if you’re fasting. Those wanting to exercise after Iftar should break their fast with a small meal, ideally consisting of natural sugars like dates or fruit and carbohydrates, and then allow some time to digest before exercising. The workout should be followed with a bigger meal consisting of protein-rich foods as well as lots of water to replenish lost fluids.

You only have a short amount of time to get your entire days’ worth of calories in so choose calorie dense foods but try and avoid dietary allergens such as pasta and milk. If you tend to over-eat when you break your fast, then start with your lean proteins and fibrous vegetables in order to curb your appetite before you start on your carbs.

Be sure to drink as much water as you can, even when you don’t feel thirsty. Your body may not register it now, but you will need as much water as you can to get you through a long hot summer day without it, especially if you plan to work out.

Training does not have to stop during Ramadan, but a few adaptations will need to be made to achieve most of the time training during this month.

High-Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is one of the most preferable ways to exercises. You just get in, do a 30 minute intense workout and go. Quick and tough! It does save time and the benefits are as good as one hour training if you know how to do it in the right way.  The essence of HIIT is quick burst of hard work followed by short rest in a continues cycle. You can use different machines, fitness equipment or just use your own bodyweight. Before starting, make sure to do a dynamic warm up to prepare the muscles for intense exercises.


Why not try a HIIT workout? Try this tough circuit below:

1. Squats 40 sec

Rest 20 sec

2. Burpees 40 sec

Rest 20 sec

3. Jumping lunges

Rest 20 sec

4. Push ups

Rest 20 sec

5. High knees

Rest 20 sec

6. Plank

Rest 20 sec

7. Farmer walk

Rest 1 minute


Repeat the cycle 2-3 times.


The benefits of a HIIT workout are:

  • Burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time;
  • Your metabolic rate is higher for hours after exercise;
  • Reduce body fat percentage;
  • Improve oxygen consumption;
  • Builds endurance;
  • Builds power.


What is important to remember, is to give your all 100% effort, otherwise the session won’t be effective. Also, the body needs to be fully recovered. So if you are feeling sore, it is better to do a steady cardio and let your body recover (at least 24-48 hours) before you start next HIIT session.


If you would like to know more about HIIT training, speak to our fitness professionals at SportsDock.


By Alex Calin

Exercise of the Month: Bear Complex

The Bear Complex is lifting move that is suited for more intermediate/advanced gym goers. The 5 lift involves 5 different parts which are: A power clean from the floor, front squat, push press (bringing bar behind head to rear rack position), back squat, and push press (bringing bar to chest to front-rack position) and then back to the floor. The completion of all 5 moves counts as one repetition (rep). There is the option to perform this exercise with a pause after each of the moves (to break them up) or it can be performed as one continuous movement with no pauses.

It is important to be well accustomed to all the individual parts of the complex, on their own, before attempting to do the full movement. It is also advised that if this is the first time you are performing the complex, you should start with a lighter weight than you usually squat or power clean with. This is to ensure that you are safely able to perform the complex and then you can gradually begin to increase your weight as you get used to the movements.

power clean

1) power clean

front squat

2) front squat

push press

3) push press (to behind head)

back squat

4) Back Squat

push press to chest 1

5) push press (to chest)

The Bear complex is good for developing power and strength. It is also good for conditioning your full body due to having to stabilise yourself whilst performing the movements. It can also be used for development of muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness if the weight is kept light and performed at a faster rate.

So if you’re looking for a way to take your Olympic/Power lifting to the next level, try incorporating the Bear Complex into your workout.


by Beverley

The importance of Vitamin D

Why do I need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is important to your body to help absorb calcium and promote bone growth  and keeping teeth strong. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). Vitamin D plays an important role for other important body functions such as regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. Vitamin D also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells. Vitamin D is so important that your body makes it by itself but only after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight. This is a problem for people in northern climates.

vitamin D

Here are possible 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:

  • Getting Sick or Infected Often
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Bone and Back Pain
  • Depression
  • Impaired Wound Healing
  • Bone Loss
  • Hair Loss
  • Muscle Pain

Good sources of vitamin D

From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. But between October and early March we don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods

Sources include:

  • oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods
  • or dietary supplements.

Your body doesn’t make too much vitamin D from sun exposure, but always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

If you have any questions about vitamin D, please speak to out Fitness Professionals at SportsDock.


written by Jelena


The basics of veganism


Definition of Veganism

According to the Vegan society, Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.  In terms of diet, Vegan’s eat a plant based diet, avoiding all animal foods such as  meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey.

What does a vegan diet consist of?

A vegan diet is richly diverse and comprises all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses. While vegans have a wide variety of foods to choose from, the diet may seem very restrictive to those who are used to an omnivorous diet. However, many dishes are already vegan or can be easily adjusted. Some examples include bean burritos, veggie burgers, smoothies, nachos with salsa and guacamole, sandwiches and pasta dishes. With many vegan versions of familiar foods available you can still eat your favourite foods such as non-dairy ice-cream, vegan hot dogs, cheese and vegan mayonnaise, to name a few.

Meat based products are generally substituted for meals including the following:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

However, following a vegan diet as a lifestyle needs knowledge and understanding on how to eat foods to get all needed nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride explains about going on vegan diet and what it does to your body in her research book ‘Vegetarianism Explained: Making an Informed Decision’.

Reasons to go Vegan

  • For ethical reasons – Many find a sense of gratification on a moral level by going vegan. There’s a compassion element to going vegan, as Ethical vegans strongly believe all creatures have the right to life.
  • For health – A few potential health effects include the reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This could be due to the fact that the consumption of plant based fats provides necessary fatty acids without raising levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Vegan diets are also consistently linked to lower body weight and BMI.
  • For the environment – Some research says that plant-based diets have shown to contribute the least to the greenhouse gas emissions, water wastage, deforestation, and climate change, all of which are side effects of large-scale meat production.

Possible negative side effects:

  • Hunger – because plant based food is considered to be more as cleansing food rather feeding foods. You might experience more hunger than usual, so eating more portions per day would be a possibility.
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency – because the only natural sources of Vitamin B-12 are animal foods, vegans are at a higher risk of developing vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Low Iron and Zinc – the form of iron in plants is less easily absorbed than that from animal foods.
  • Risk of Osteoporosis – a vegan diet might increase your risk for osteoporosis or low bone density and bone fractures, according to Vanderbilt University Health Psychology Department. Vegans tend to have lower levels of calcium and vitamin D than non-vegans.
  • Muscle loss – animal protein helps to build and contain muscle. Switching to vegan diet can largely decrease your muscle mass.

To know more about vegan diet, speak to one of our fitness professionals at SportsDock.


by Aemilia Cooper

What is the scale telling us?

In this day and age, many people are concerned with the concept of weight. Many see having high weight on the scales or gaining weight as a bad thing, but what if it didn’t have to be.

Getting in shape doesn’t always mean losing weight when looking at a scale. Some people feel disheartened when they start going to the gym or attending exercise classes regularly and get on the scale only to see they are still the same weight. But this does not mean that you aren’t getting results; it’s all about knowing the difference between losing fat and losing weight.

Recently, I have seen posts on social media of people documenting how they managed to stay the same weight whilst achieving a body that they are happy with and this was by working hard to reduce body fat whilst gaining muscle which led to overall body toning. A lot of them also made conscious decisions to stop stepping on the scales and instead use transformation pictures to document their progress. The average scale cannot tell you which percentage of your body weight is fat or muscle and therefore you could be losing fat and gaining muscle and a scale would be unable to tell you that. That’s why transformation pictures are great concept because they allow you to compare your body to previous states and allow you to recognise they physical changes your body has undergone which can help highlight that your progress.

So if your next scale weigh-in has you feeling down, consider using transformation pictures to help minimise the effect the scale has on how you view your progress.

by Beverley Osei-Henewaa

Kettlebell Class

Using a Kettlebells offer a different kind of training. It uses dynamic movements which target strength, agility, balance and cardio endurance and general fitness. The Kettlebell works different muscle groups within a single workout. You take the workout at your own pace and control the weight level so it is perfect for any age and ability. 

The dynamic training of the kettlebell means fast lifts rather than the slow and controlled strength training most of us are used to doing. Dynamic types of exercises get your heart rate up in a whole different way than cardio. In the research by American Council on Exercise found that after 8 weeks of kettlebell exercises, there was a significant improvement in endurance, balance, and core strength. The greatest improvement was in the core where strength increased a whopping 70 percent. 

Benefits of kettlebell training include: 

  • Improved coordination and agility. 
  • Better posture and alignment – Many exercises work the postural muscles in a functional way. 
  • Time efficient – You train multiple fitness components in the same session including cardio, strength, balance, stability, power, and endurance 
  • The exercises are functional and weight bearing which helps increase bone density and keep the body strong for daily tasks. 
  • Increased power development and endurance, which is great for a variety of sports. 
  • Reduced lower back pain 
  • Simplicity – the exercises are simple, the workouts are straightforward and you only need one piece of equipment. 

If you’re interested in getting started with kettlebell training, it’s best to take a class or get some guidance from an experienced instructor to get detailed breakdowns of the exercises. Many of the swinging movements may be unfamiliar and a professional can help with your form and in choosing your weights. 

Why not join our kettlebell classes for free on Wednesday to get started!!