College students around America are looking forward to their spring break. For Muslim college students, there’s a separate countdown they also have going. The countdown for Ramadan… but what is Ramadan? Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which follows the lunar schedule, where Muslims participate in fasting from dawn to dusk. They will spend the month improving their spiritual states in hopes of maintaining those habits throughout the remainder of the year. Fasting cleanses both the body and soul, so this month gives Muslims the space to do so. Muslims will increase their acts of giving and positivity while decreasing negative aspects such as sins. For my gym-going girlies who are also fasting, it may be difficult trying to navigate the gym within Ramadan, but the whole point is to take care of your worldly responsibilities while also incorporating a stronger religious presence. 

When To Workout?

The biggest issue I hear about is finding the time to even go to the gym. Deciding when to go or finding time after iftar (the meal to break a fast) and Taraweeh (nightly prayers during Ramadan) or before Fajr (the first daily prayer) can feel impossible. The flip side is the issue of going to the gym while fasting. This can also be difficult given you don’t want to exhaust yourself throughout the day. In my own experience, I have found I barely have time at night, so I have to go during my fast. I go right after Fajr, when I just ate so there’s a very low chance of me wanting to pass out, or right before iftaar. This allows me to come home to a meal and I can rinse off before I head to Taraweeh. If this doesn’t work for you and you’re a night owl, I recommend going after Taraweeh, though you may want to find a membership at a gym that is open late. 

Nutrition Tips:

Disclaimer: I am in no way a nutritionist and only give advice based on what works for me or those around me.   

First and foremost, don’t sleep through suhoor (the meal before a fast). I can’t emphasize this one enough. You are not doing yourself any favors in regards to getting your macros in and you’re only going to negatively impact the gains with one meal a day. For my water and a date because you woke up five minutes before Fajr people: you are also not off the hook. This is fine in an emergency. Things happen, I get it, HOWEVER, if this is your daily routine, you may want to consider waking up early enough to indulge yourself in a proper meal before Fajr.  When it comes to meals, try to have meals high in carbs for suhoor. There’s a reason runners eat high-carb meals before a race. They last you longer throughout the day, ensuring you aren’t depleted of energy too early on in the day. This is especially helpful if you plan to hit the gym right before iftaar time. The goal is to have at least some energy stored to avoid running on E.  When figuring our hydration, a pro tip is to split your daily gallon of water in half. One half for suhoor and the other half after iftaar. 

Our Bodies Talks

Listen to your body! I can empathize with the people who love to push the limits. Feeling high levels of exhaustion, but still going because you want to hit failure is totally valid… given the time and place. Ramadan, more specifically when fasting, is not the time. For my people trying to max… don’t. It’ll be humbling enough to see how much weaker you are, especially during a pre-iftaar workout.  

I strongly recommend maintaining an RPE of 5-7 at the most. RPE 7 should not be commonplace within Ramadan workouts. It’s not required to tap out of a set with a large amount of reps left in the tank, however, waiting until there’s less than 4 for a lot of them will cause more harm than good.  

Aside from that, maintain longer periods of rest between sets. Taking ten-minute rests may be overkill, however, a two to three-minute rest can be beneficial. Supply your body with the time to recover between sets.


There’s very little to say here. Maintaining a somewhat decent sleep schedule is imperative to maintaining the gains. Fasting already causes a deficit in nutrients, so attempting to sleep a proper number of hours can help somewhat balance this imbalance. Of course, sleeping can be a challenge with the post-Taraweeh plans or all-nighters with friends, however, naps can be a fasting person’s best friend. I recommend taking a nap after Dhuhr (the second daily prayer), known as Qaylulah, and is a sunnah [an act that is recommended as it follows after the Prophet Muhammad (saw)].

This is not to say someone should choose to sleep through a fast. This is incredibly discouraged as you are missing out on ample time to spend time strengthening your relationship with Islam. Ramadan isn’t meant to pause our lives, so avoid using sleep to do so.

Ramadan is a time to become close to Islam and build habits to last throughout the year. Millions of Muslims worldwide will participate in this holy month inshaAllah (translation: God willing). This includes our brothers and sisters who may be in impoverished countries or those in countries suffering major conflicts such as Falastine (Palestine), Sudan, and Congo. As mentioned above, during Ramadan, people tend to give more sadaqah (charity), so if you’re interested, many organizations are working to help people less fortunate than you or I. These organizations include Islamic Relief, UNICEF, and PSRA. There are many other charities that provide gifts alongside donations, such as Iswarah, who gifts a bracelet to those who donate to Palestine through them and I highly recommend them; not only for Ramadan, but throughout the year as well.

Ramadan Mubarak to all of my sisters reading this and any brothers who may stumble onto this article. May this month bring an overflow of blessings your way, whether or not you are Muslim. 

Aatina Shaikh 

Aatina is a second year pre-law student at the University of Texas at Austin. She loves reading, going to the gym, and constantly expanding her intellect! Writing has been a passion of hers entire life and she hopes to continue with it on the side throughout her career. She is obsessed with fast food (Cane's and In N' Out specifically) and loves expressing her creativity in any way she can.  

Instagram: @aatina_k_shaikh

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