Training During Ramadan

By Kulsoom Abdullah

In HD Videos, Nutrition, Olympic Lifts

January 25, 2012

Video Article

Kulsoom Abdullah is the first woman to lift in sanctioned U.S. Olympic-weightlifting competitions while wearing traditional Muslim dress covering the head, arms and legs. In keeping with her religious beliefs, she trains during Ramadan.

Ramadan is a month in which participating Muslims don’t eat, drink, smoke or have sex from sunrise to sunset; it is intended to teach patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God.

“The fasting means you’re not even drinking water. There’s no fluid, no foods, nothing from those times,” says Abdullah, who works out at CrossFit Atlanta.

When Abdullah does met-cons at the start of Ramadan, they are definitely a shock to her system, she says. Thus, she scales and takes breaks as needed.

“Weightlifting is a little bit easier … because you get your breaks and you’re not losing as much water,” Abdullah explains.

Still, the beginning is rough.

“I could barely do as much as I could,” she says. “But then when my body got acclimated, I was doing OK.”

When it’s time to eat, Abdullah says she eats protein, fat and sometimes low-carb vegetables.

7min 29sec

HD file size: 305 MB
SD wmv file size: 89.5 MB
SD mov file size: 45 MB

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Additional reading: The CrossFit-Oly Hybrid by Bob Takano, published Aug. 8, 2011.

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15 Comments on “Training During Ramadan”


wrote …

As-Salamu Alaykum Kulsoom! Well done.


wrote …

Such a bad ass!! So inspiring.


wrote …

Religion is so silly.


wrote …

Way to tough it out. Though, I understand the headscarf to be a rather newer trend in Islam (last 30 years, like bell-bottoms & mullets)- not an historically traditional one. I hope it changes again soon as I can imagine longer met cons being terribly difficult. Keep up the good work!


wrote …

The dedication to workout and your religion is very inspiring!


replied to comment from Kevin Daniel

Nice comment which I'm sure Kulsoom will appreciate. But just to clarify, the headscarf isn't a trend. It's an obligation. If it were a trend I'm sure she'd have no problem removing it to work out.


wrote …

Good work on on doing what you believe in and working out.
Hard to keep the good work with all the atheist and non sympathetic believers of a different Faith


wrote …


Your dedication to CrossFit and the Deen is inspirational! AlHumdiallah!

I also fasted during Ramadan and after the first couple of days I found that my performance actually improved. So much so, that was the catalyst for me to reguarly undertake IF, which is VERY easy compared to Ramadan bc I can drink water!


wrote …

Nice work! Way to stick to what you think is right. I am always a little embarrassed when I read some of the negative comments to these types of videos. I hope that you know that you could walk into 99% of CrossFit gyms and fit right in. The small differences between people should be used as a learning moment, not as a method of segregating the world.


wrote …

Being fit both physically and spiritually (in whatever what ever devotion you choose) is the key to a balanced & happy life!
Those of you who've chosen to leave less than positive comments should not only look inward but also remember that the CrossFit ethos is one of acceptance of all your box mates no matter their beliefs, sex, size, shape whatever.


replied to comment from KTA B

Many are but to generalize all that way is pretty immature and ignorant. I happen to believe the opposite and it gives hope, direction and answers the questions of where did we come from, why are we here and where do we go after death. Most teach people to do good and make something of yourself and reach your potential. So you're quite in the minority worldwide with that attitude so good luck with that.


replied to comment from KTA B

Islam taught me to be nice even to those who think my belief is silly.
so I will stop here.


replied to comment from Scott Bolan

Those kind of comments restore my faith in the goodness of man.


wrote …

For other fasting people, I'll share what works for me. I have set new PRs and both weightlifting and Metcons during the fasting month and never got dizzy or passed out.

1st: Already eating correctly prior to Ramadon (at least 3 weeks) you should already be eating fairly strict (almond flour cinny buns are not strict)Paleo with little to no carbohydrates(vegies are the exception stay away from starchy kinds). This will ensure that your body is fully capable of using fat as energy and you are at maximum nutrient absorption abilities by the time you start.

2nd: Hydration, probably the most difficult and important part of the entire process. Try to drink at least half you body weight in ounces in morning alone. (example; I am 190lbs and I drink 90 ounces each morning. After iftar drink as much as you can before going to sleep without having to get up every 5 minutes to go pee. You may need to add a little ionized salt to you water depending on your breakfast to prevent an electrolyte imbalance

3rd: Food. High fat and High protein as Kulsoom Abdullah said. How much is enough. I am a 190lb male at have at least 50gms of fat per day and probably 2lbs of protein per meal. Everyone is different and has different fitness goals you should use trail and error. Coconut milk in the can has 33grams alone and is cheap too. (Don't get the thick kind its hard to down with all that water) Avocados are another good source that is easy to swallow. If your feeling really wasted and out of energy try throwing in some starchy vegetable in the morning, sweet potatoes and squashes are a good example.

4th: Time, if you time your workout with your hydration you shouldn't run into any dehydration issues. The earlier the better. You Sympathetic Nervous System will tell your body to stop making pee and start making sweat to complete you WOD. You will have more than enough water in your system that early in the morning. You will know this because you pee will be clear and frequent up to your early morning work out.

I wish anyone trying CrossFit while fasting the best of luck. Inshallah everything will work out for you.


wrote …

Well done CrossFit for posting this :)

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