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20 February 2024

Health & Fitness Coach Joshua Shares his Training Advice For Ramadan

Joshua Montella, Health & Fitness Coach at King's Sport & Wellness

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, Muslims around the world prepare for a period of spiritual reflection, fasting, and increased devotion. When considering staying active, Ramadan presents a unique challenge in navigating the demands of training, exercise and competition while observing the sacred traditions of the faith.


In this interview, Joshua Montella, a Muslim athlete and coach at King’s Sport & Wellness, sits down to give some insight into how to balance the physical demands of training with the spiritual obligations of Ramadan. From managing nutrition and hydration to discussing impact on energy and performance levels.

Join us as we delve into Joshua's experiences, strategies, and reflections on staying disciplined, focused, and connected to both his faith and his sport during the month of Ramadan.

How do you adapt your exercise routine during Ramadan?

During Ramadan, I normally reduce my training load. I will start off training 6 days a week and then gradually reduce the frequency to maybe 3 or 4 times a week as I approach the end of Ramadan. Sessions normally last no longer than 45 minutes. I’ll start with low intensity training such as biking, elliptical machine or resistance training and then once my body adapted to the fast, I will increase the intensity bit by bit for the last 10-15 days.

Do you find it challenging to maintain your fitness goals while fasting?

I have been fasting for almost 10 years. The first few years, I really focused on having and maintaining my physical fitness goals, but I’ve realised that I should switch it for more mental goals. My aim during Ramadan is more so to challenge myself mentally; either at work or personally and then to keep training while fasting on top of that. Over the years I’ve realised that this has helped me to develop discipline to reach my goals, fitness and otherwise, outside of Ramadan.

My aim during Ramadan is more so to challenge myself mentally; either at work or personally and then to keep training while fasting on top of that. Over the years I’ve realised that this has helped me to develop discipline to reach my goals, fitness and otherwise, outside of Ramadan.

Joshua Montella

What types of exercises do you prefer during Ramadan, and why?

I prefer simple weightlifting training and tend to do a few more stretches than usual. This can be helpful as it gives me a reasonable guide in terms of movement, especially during the first two weeks; I can still train for strength and mobility but within a reasonable limit.


Are there specific times of the day that you find best for exercising while fasting?

Evening time right after eating would be the best for energy levels and performance. But if one can work out before eating that could very beneficial too.


How do you manage your energy levels for workouts while fasting?

As mentioned, I’ve found that cutting the numbers of sessions a week already helps with energy levels. If possible, having a nap or some kind of period of physical rest before a workout helps too.

Food plays a huge part as well; I would suggest reducing very sugary or processed food, especially for the pre-dawn meal. Also fuelling yourself with good nutrients during the eating window, drinking plenty of water and eating food rich in water content.


What are your go-to pre-dawn and post-sunset meals for sustaining energy during workouts?

Nutritionally, both meals are quite similar. I try to eat complex carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. Any snacks will be very high in protein and healthy fats.

For example, a pre-dawn meal might be some rice or pasta (brown), with mixed vegetables and eggs. Post-sunset will be potatoes, beef, chicken or fish with mixed salad with any snack in between being an egg omelette with tuna or brown pita bread with hummus and fruits.


Do you incorporate any specific foods or supplements to aid in recovery after workouts while fasting?

Yes, during this Ramdan I always take Omega 3 tablets. It has benefits for inflammation, but fasting in and of itself already helps your body to focus on cells in need of repair.


Have you noticed any changes in your body composition or performance during Ramadan compared to other months?

I’ve fasted for Ramadan during football season, and what I’ve noticed the most was an increase in focus on the pitch. I felt very light and my stamina was great too, but the most difficult thing was always to start moving; once you overcome this hurdle it becomes a lot easier.


Have you found any strategies helpful in maintaining muscle mass during Ramadan?

I found that very simple workout comprised of compound movements and food high in protein helps maintaining muscles mass.


Finally, how do you navigate social and family gatherings that may involve heavy or rich foods during Ramadan, while still adhering to your fitness goals?

I’ve never really been in that situation as most members of my family are not Muslim. However, I know that is the case for many families during Ramdan. I would suggest trying to go for the healthiest option or limit intake of sugar. Try to stay active where possible, even if it’s a very low intensity movement like a 5-minute walk.

Support from King's Sport & Wellness

Ramadan is predicted to begin officially on Sunday 10 March 2024 and last until Monday 8 April 2024.

  • Additionally, there are specialist coaches and weekly weightlifting workshops at each gym, as well as lifestyle and nutrition specialists available for appointments at the Sport & Wellness Centre at Waterloo. 

  • From Monday 11 March - Friday 15 March, the Strand and London Bridge gyms will be opening an hour earlier so that our Muslim members have some time train before Sunrise.

  • Throughout the month of Ramadan, both the Strand and London Bridge gyms will be providing dates during Iftar (Sunset) which our Muslim members are welcome to take to break their fasts.

  • We will still be running our intro to weights workshops and our coaches will be happy to provide any expertise on how best to train throughout the month.

  • There will be a cheat sheet guide available on the gym floor at both sites for training and staying active during Ramadan.

  • We also have training and nutrition resources that can be found here.

  • Les Mills+ provides on-demand workouts and meditation, simply enroll to the KEATs page to unlock access

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King's Sport & Wellness Gym Coach