Faculty of Physical and Cultural Education
Hellenic Army Academy
Background and Objectives: Given the limited number of studies on Ramadan fasting and military performance, we conducted this study to identify the effect of Ramadan fasting on physical fitness performances in army cadets. Methods: Twenty healthy males were randomly selected from a larger sample group. The subjects were divided into fasting (n=10) and non-fasting (n=10) groups. They performed various military physical fitness tests (pull ups, sit ups, swimming obstacle course, push ups, obstacle course, and one mile run) in three separate periods (1st: baseline, 2nd: pre-Ramadan fasting, and 3rd: post-Ramadan fasting). All the cadets also completed three-day food records prior to each exercise testing. Results: Repeated measures ANOVA showed non-significant differences between the groups for pull ups, sit ups, swimming obstacle course, and push ups (P>0.05). However, towards the end of the testing (when performing the obstacle course and the one-mile run) the fasting group showed significantly lower performance (P0.05) was noted in various nutritional parameters across the three food recording periods. Conclusion: Ramadan fasting does not affect overall military fitness performance; however, it seems that fasting cadets cannot handle repeated maximal exercise testing efficiently possibly due to inadequate recovery between tests
Castellani JW, Stulz DA, Degroot DW, Blanchard LA, Cadarette BS, Nindl BC, et al. Eighty-four hours of sustained operations alter thermoregulation during cold exposure. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003; 35(1):175-81.
Cowan DN, Jones BH, Frykman PN, Polly DW Jr, Harman EA, Rosenstein RM, et al. Lower limb morphology and risk of overuse injury among male infantry trainees. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996; 28(8):945-52.
Paisis P, Hanley B, Havenetidis K, Bissas A. Cypriot and Greek Army Military boot cushioning: ground reaction forces and subjective responses. Mil Med. 2013; 178(4):e493-7.
Booth CK, Coad RA, Forbes-Ewan CH, Thomson GF, Niro PJ. The physiological and psychological effects of combat ration feeding during a 12-day training exercise in the tropics. Mil Med. 2003; 168(1):63–70.
Montain SJ, Young AJ. Diet and physical performance. Appetite. 2003; 40(3):255–67.
Havenetidis K. Exercise performance and recovery of Muslim endurance athletes during Ramadan fasting. Int J Sport Sci Coach. 2015; 10(1):51-68.
Havenetidis K. Ramadan fasting and endurance running performance in army officer cadets. Int Rev Arm Forc Med Serv. 2011; 84(1):68-72.
HavenetidisK, PaxinosT. Delineation and classification of physical conditioning in Greek army officer cadets. J Mil Vet Health. 2013; 21(2):19-25.
Knapik JJ, Rieger W, Palkoska F, Van Camp S, Darakjy S. United States Army physical readiness training: rationale and evaluation of the physical training doctrine. J Strength Cond Res. 2009; 23(4):1353-62.
Nieman DC. Exercise testing and prescription: a health related approach. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies; 2003.
Military Pentathlon Regulations. International Military Sports Council (CISM). Available at: URL: http://www.milsport.one; 2016.
Durnin JV, Womersley J. Body fat assessed from total body density and its estimation from skin fold thickness: measurements on 481 men and women aged from 16 to 72 years. Br J Nutr. 1974; 32(1):77-97.
Hetzler RK, Stickley CD, Lundquist KM, Kimura IF. Reliability and accuracy of handheld stopwatches compared with electronic timing in measuring sprint performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2008; 22(6):1969-76.
Kirkendall DT, Leiper JB, Bartagi Z, Dvorak J. Zerguini Y. The influence of Ramadan on physical performance measures in young Muslim footballers. J Sports Sci. 2008; 26(Suppl 3):S15–27.
Chaouachi A, Leiper JB, Chtourou H, Aziz AR, Chamari K. The effects of Ramadan intermittent fasting on athletic performance: recommendations for the maintenance of physical fitness. J Sports Sci.2012; 30(Suppl 1):S53-73.
Raglin JS. Overtraining and staleness: psychometric monitoring of endurance athletes. In: Murphey M, Tennant LK, editors. Handbook of research on sport psychology. New York: Macmillan; 1993. P. 166-208.
McArdle WD, Katch FL, Katch VL. Exercise physiology: nutrition, energy and human performance. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins Publishers; 2001.
Crombie AP, Funderburk LK, Smith TJ, McGraw SM, Walker LA, Champagne CM, et al. Effects of modified foodservice practices in military dining facilities on ad libitum nutritional intake of US army soldiers. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013; 113(7):920-7.