European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 102, Issue 6, pp 651–657 | Cite as

The effect of the Ramadan fast on physical performance and dietary habits in adolescent soccer players

  • Yoav MeckelEmail author
  • Aobeida Ismaeel
  • Alon Eliakim
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the Ramadan fast on performance capacities, dietary habits, and the daily behavioral patterns in adolescent (14–16-year-old) soccer players. Nineteen male players performed a series of fitness tests before and at the end of Ramadan fast. Caloric intake, physical activity pattern and sleep habits were evaluated during the week before the Ramadan fast and during the last week of the Ramadan fast. The fast resulted in a significant reduction in aerobic capacity [3,000 m run time (mean ± SD): 812.8 ± 73.3 s vs. 819.9 ± 73.4 s, P < 0.001], speed endurance (Sum 6 × 40 m run time: 46.36 ± 1.36 s vs. 46.73 ± 1.31 s, P < 0.001, and performance decrement: 9.0 ± 1.5% vs. 9.5 ± 1.7%, P < 0.05), and jumping performance (44.8 ± 4.5 cm vs. 44.0 ± 4.5 cm, P < 0.05), but had no significant effect on sprint performance (7.38 ± 0.25 s vs. 7.40 ± 0.26 s, P = 0.20) or agility (4 × 10 m shuttle run time: 9.53 ± 0.35 s vs. 9.55 ± 0.37 s, P = 0.26). Daily intense physical activity was significantly reduced during Ramadan (6.4 ± 0.2 h/week vs. 4.5 ± 0.1 h/week, P < 0.005). There were no significant differences in total caloric intake (3012 ± 412 kcal/day vs. 3240 ± 348 kcal/day, P = 0.39) or total daily sleeping hours (8.6 ± 0.7 h/day vs. 8.6 ± 0.5 h/day, P = 0.80) between Ramadan and a regular month. The results indicate that Ramadan fasting can lead to a significant decrease in athletic performance capacities. The decrease in performance does not necessarily relate to changes in caloric intake and sleeping hours during the fast.


Fitness Ramadan fast Nutrition Adolescent Soccer 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Life Science Department, The Zinman College for Physical Education and Sport SciencesWingate InstituteNetanyaIsrael
  2. 2.Child Health and Sport Center, Pediatric Department, Meir Medical Center, Sackler School of MedicineTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael

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