At the halfway point, Fitness Expert Sonja Moses shares her experience of fasting throughout Ramadan for the first time. This week, Barry’s Bootcamp ME Director of Performance talks how she’s adapted her fitness routine and diet so far and dealing with teaching classes as it’s time to break fast.
Sonja Moses shares her Fasting and Fitness diary over Ramadan
Talking through her experience of fasting for the first time along with her high pace career in the fitness industry – Sonja Moses is Barry’s Bootcamp ME’s Director of Performance, a Muay Thai Boxer, the Creator of HIITBOX and a Spiritual Sports Coach – the Dubai resident shares her experiences, struggles and lessons learnt week-on-week.
And for week two, she discusses how her routine has changed so far and what she has learnt while observing Iftar.
Week Two: Sonja Moses’s Fasting and Fitness Diary
I have the utmost respect for those who fast for Ramadan every year. It really is not easy!
My mindset has to be really strong as I repeatedly remind myself of the why behind me doing this whilst fighting hunger pains. I am carefully monitoring changes in my appetite and fitness levels and where my fitness level is still the same, I have started to crave sugar and get really fatigued around 3pm.
I found it easier to get into a routine this week as I knew I was going to get hungry at certain times and that I preferred to train at different times of the day depending on my schedule. My routine for most days looks something like this:
4.00am: Wake up, drink 500ml to 1 litre of water, eat plain yoghurt, oats, banana, almond butter
8.00am: Wake up and either run or skip on the balls of my feet for 10 to 15 mins, do morning bodyweight training ritual
09.30: Teach at Barrys DXB
11.00: Work with clients
19.00: Teach at Barrys DXB (Drink protein shake whilst teaching)
20.00: Iftar – carbs, protein, veggies, fruits
22.00: Teach at Barrys DXB
23.00: Eat protein, veggies and fruits.
If possible, I am having a sleep around 3 or 4pm if at home, but if I’m out and about, working mobile, or on my laptop in meetings it won’t always happen. Then the day is savage!
However, I have a confession… I did break fast on one day. I did a pads session with my coach and went into sparring with my team straight after in the middle of the day and had to drink water. Wasn’t prepared for that one…
After talking to and observing my clients’ habits, it is really clear that what works for one person does not work for another and you really have to listen to your body. I also discovered that most Muslims who are fasting will sleep late or for most of the day (if they can) and make the night into the day.
I must admit that I really have to dig deep when I am teaching just before Iftar in the evening, which is most days to keep my energy levels up. The first week Iftar would fall just before my 7pm class so I could replenish but now it is after which makes it challenging. But come 7.50pm, I can sip on a protein shake after eating my two dates, which is traditional to eat after a day of fasting to regulate sugar levels.
Iftar is the breaking of fast at sunset. Traditionally it is for families and local communities to spend time together to celebrate this daily event whilst reflecting on the importance of community. Commonly after Iftar, Muslims keep eating and drinking until Suhoor at sunrise, hence why they turn their day into night.
I have been to a few Iftars now and from what I have experienced, it is a full-on feast. It is recommended to eat light with an emphasis on fibre, protein and complex carb. But as I’ve witnessed, this does not always happen!
I think it is really important after what I have observed and experienced that I reinforce the importance of drinking water to hydrate the body before stuffing huge amounts of food into it! We all know when we are tired that we crave sugar as our blood sugar levels are low. This is why it is so important to hydrate and eat correctly after a long period of fasting with complex carbs/ proteins/ fats rather than reaching for the nearest cookie jar and fizzy sugary drinks.
All of this said, I love Iftar culture and it has definitely reminded me of the most important things in life, family and friends.
Still missing coffee…