For the millions of Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan, abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset can be understandably challenging.
From students undergoing final exams to hardworking professionals and dedicated parents, worshippers put in their best effort to go on their daily lives on an empty stomach.
The Islamic pillar is particularly tricky for practicing Muslim athletes, many of whom prepare for and sometimes compete at important sporting events while maintaining their fasts. Many of these athletes have publicly talked about balancing their sporting careers with fasting for Ramadan, with some sharing their diet and workout routines on social media.
Here are some athletes who are observing Ramadan 2019:
1. NBA player Enes Kanter
The 26-year-old Swiss-born Turk, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers, has fasted during Ramadan for most of his life. The case is no different this year, when the holy month overlaps with the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoff series.
To get some insight on how to effectively play in games during the month, Kanter reached out to Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, who notably won NBA Player of the Month in February 1995 despite fasting during game days.
Kanter explained his dedication to observing the holy month, saying "it's very important because, it doesn't matter what your status is, what your position is, I just want to set an example for the young generations, definitely. It's very important for them to follow their religion," according to Reuters.
2. Football players Hasim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui
During the heated Champions League semi-final between Ajax and Tottenham on May 8, which ended 2-3 for the latter team, viewers noticed Ajax duo Hasim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui taking a break to receive "energy gels," substances that provide athletes with an energy and hydration boost.
According to media outlets, the Muslim players of Moroccan origins were apparently observing Ramadan and broke their fasts in the 24th minute of the match. Despite critics deeming it "irresponsible" for the players to fast during such a crucial match, Ziyech went on to score Ajax's second goal of the night around 10 minutes after breaking his fast.
3. WWE superstar Mustafa Ali
Adeel Alam, better known by his ring name Mustafa Ali, is a Muslim wrestler of Pakistani descent. As a practicing Muslim, he makes sure to observe the holy month while training and performing around the world.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Alam revealed that his bosses respect and support his religious duties by offering food backstage to allow him to break his fast on time.
4. WWE superstar Amir Jordan
The England-based WWE superstar of Pakistani origin recently announced his plans to fast all month and shared his past Ramadan experiences with his Twitter followers.
He wrote that he has competed while fasting in the past, explaining "It's actually not that bad because most wrestling shows run around about the same time as breaking your fast, so I can eat just before or just after my match. Afternoon shows can get quite tricky."
5. Fitness influencer Manal Rostom
If you haven't been feeling motivated to get active this Ramadan, following Manal Rostom on social media will definitely do the trick. The Egyptian athlete, fitness instructor, and founder of the Surviving Hijab support group has been sharing workout tips during the holy month.
Rostom is considered to be the first hijab-wearing Egyptian woman to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the highest mountain in Europe, Mt. Elbrus.
"[My colleagues] don't get how easy it becomes once you reset your mind to literally just do it. You will survive. Fasting trains you to become a better human being," she previously told BuzzFeed.
6. Professional boxer Amir Khan
The British professional boxer and former unified light-welterweight world champion has been fasting for Ramadan since he was 8-years-old.
Speaking to the BBC in 2015, Khan said "when I go into the boxing ring, it's a very lonely place, when I go into the gym it's a very quiet place. I'm on my own training, but it's God that gives me the strength [...] My faith drives me, gives me that motivation and that push."
Still, Khan does not hesitate to get real about the challenges of fasting. "Not going to lie I felt it, from 6 pm I was on bed rest," he tweeted on the first day of Ramadan 2019.
7. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad
Muslim-American Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad - who is considered to be the first American hijabi to compete (and win) in the Olympic Games - often fasts for Ramadan while training for or participating in competitions.
"I've spent my entire life trying to balance training and Ramadan. And for me, in doing those two things simultaneously - observing the fast and also training, sometimes for really really important competitions for me - there was never a moment of doubt of like, 'Oh! I don't think I'm going to fast for this Ramadan'," she told BuzzFeed last year.