TO TRAIN OR NOT TO TRAIN?
We all have experienced it. You are getting great workouts, you are seeing some great improvements with your ovearall strength, your diet is so clean and then the dreaded thing happens to you. You come down with some sort of illness. This is the worst thing to happen to a physique competitor who loves to train, and loves to sculpt their physique. Whether it is a flu, cold, sinus infection, allergies, etc., you know that it is going to slow you down and hinder your goals. So, you ask yourself what do I do? Should I take a couple of days off. But in your mind you are saying "I can't miss working out, I have goals for myself to accomplish for the coming year" or " I will just sweat it out and feel better after". What I say is listen to your body! Too many people don't do this and neglect what their body is telling them.
First off, intense exercise releases free radicals which in turn depresses your immune system. Now, it is okay to have intense exercise but when it is too much for too long, it will take its toll on you. So, what I mean by listening to your body is depending on the illness you have. If you have a common cold or allergies, or feeling stuffed up or congested, you may want to maybe do a little lighter workout. "Lighter workout?" you say, "Where will that get me?" I need to train hard!". Well, what I mean by a lighter workout is maybe not going so intense. You can still get a good workout by maybe lighting the load you are lifting or doing some light to moderate cardio. Training intensely while you have a common cold or allergies will only make it worse. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to train intensely while having these illnesses to only bite me in the ass later. I have gotten worse to the point that my body hits the wall and I wind up taking days off to recooperate. So, tell yourself it is okay to ease up a little on workouts so that your body can fight off whatever its got. Remember, your body needs the energy to fight off the illness and pushing it too hard will only delay the healing process.
So, what do you do if you have the flu or any other bad illness? STAY HOME! You heard me! Yes it sucks to stay home in bed and relax but you are saving yourself and others. I hate when people come into the gym with the flu or strep throat, etc. I want to kill them! I think "you are now spreading the germs to me and others". You need to rest! That means not cardio, weight training, etc. If you are feeling fatigued or run-down, then that is a sign that your body is working overtime to fight off the illness. Good rest will help you recooperate better. And people think that 1 day of rest is good. Take a few days off even if you are feeling better. If you come back too soon to exercise, you risk getting setbacks. Now you are training sporadically and getting off course. So, the old fashioned adage of "I will sweat it out and feel better", doesn't necessarily work. You are only making your immune system break-down and that could lead to more serious diseases. For instance, I have a client that is constantly working out intensely for so long and barely takes any days off. He has been not feeling good (fatigue, run-down) and still insists on working out. I try to tell him to slow down but he doesn't listen. Now, he has gone to the doctor to do some blood work and has found his white blood cell count too high. I am convinced that it is from not listening to his body and constantly pushing the workouts. I say to myself "Is is worth it?". No, not if his health is in danger. So people, listen to your body! Keep your health and save the workouts to when you are feeling better. Have a healthy, happy week!