Precompetition taper and nutritional strategies: special reference to training during Ramadan intermittent fast
A marked reduction in the training load in the lead-up to major competitions allows athletes to reduce the fatigue induced by intense training and improve competition performance. This tapered training phase is based on the reduction in training volume while maintaining pretaper training intensity and frequency.
In parallel to training load reductions, nutritional strategies characterised by lowered energy intakes need to be implemented to match lowered energy expenditure.
The Ramadan intermittent fast imposes constrained nutritional practices on Muslim athletes, inducing a shift to a greater reliance on fat oxidation to meet energy needs and a possible increase in protein breakdown. The training load is often reduced during Ramadan to match the absence of energy and fluid intake during daylight, which implies a risk of losing training induced adaptations.
Should coaches and athletes decide to reduce the training load during Ramadan, the key role of training intensity in retaining training induced adaptations should be kept in mind.
However, experienced elite Muslim athletes are able to maintain their usual training load during this month of intermittent fasting without decrements in measures of fitness and with only minor adverse effects.