Achieving optimum sports performance during Ramadan: some practical recommendations

J Sports Sci. 2012;30 Suppl 1:S109-17. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2012.696205.


Muslim athletes should fast from sunrise to sunset each day throughout the 30 days of Ramadan. Most athletes will continue to train throughout Ramadan, and they may also be required to compete at this time, but they will also engage in the religious, cultural, and social activities that Ramadan represents. The available evidence indicates that high-level athletes can maintain performance during Ramadan if physical training, food and fluid intake, and sleep are appropriate and well controlled. Individualized monitoring of athletes may help to prevent fatigue and overtraining and to reduce the risk of consequent illness and injury. The timing and intensity of training may require adjustment to optimize the training response, and training close to or after sunset may have advantages, but this will vary between individual and team sports and between environments that are predominantly Muslim and those that are predominantly non-Muslim. Training late in the day allows nutrition interventions after training to promote adaptations to the training stimulus, to promote recovery, and might help to reduce muscle damage. Sleep deficits have a number of adverse effects on well-being and performance, and athletes should ensure adequate sleep throughout Ramadan. In non-Muslim majority environments, especially in team sports, coaches and athletes should be sensitive to the needs of their team-mates who may be fasting. Event organizers should take account of the needs of Muslim athletes when scheduling the dates and timings of sports competitions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Drinking*
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Fasting*
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Muscular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / prevention & control
  • Sleep*
  • Social Environment
  • Stress, Physiological*