Stand Strong Against Sickness
One of the biggest fitness busters I’ve personally faced in the past is sickness. I could be training for months and making the best progress then the flu comes along and not only takes my gains, but robs me of my motivation as well. I have actually quit working out for long periods because of this in the past. I never want this to happen to you. During a bout of sickness our energy levels drop, our appetite may go away, but most devastating of all is the consistency of working out and eating right gets disrupted which has a strong mental impact. As you’ve heard before everything starts in the mind. Did I mention my wife and I have four school age children so you know they are bombarded with germs and then bringing them back home. I wanted to share a few basic tips to help you reduce how often you get sick, and then things you can do to help minimize the damage if you get sick.
Preventative: Here are a few simple, but important, things you can do daily to help prevent getting sick in the first place.
- Wash your hands: I know your momma has told you this already, but I am going to say it again. Wash your hands often especially after being around other people, public places, and especially at the gym. Make an effort to not touch your face if you are in public until you have a chance to wash your hands.
- Sleep well: I know life is crazy and busy. As I mentioned above we have four children so I know the truth behind this. Regardless how busy or stressful your life is make a point to get enough quality sleep. Not only will you have more energy and function better it will also help keep your immune system stronger to fight off sickness.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is one of the single most healthiest things we can do. Not only can it help you have more energy and keep extra weight off, but may also help strengthen certain immune system responses helping fight off viruses.
- Eat healthy foods: Eating a variety of healthy foods, especially vegetables and fruits, will help supply your body with the vitamins it needs to stay strong. Try to mix up your daily selection to get all the nutrients you may need.
- Supplement with vitamins: If you are eating a healthy mix of fruits and vegetables daily vitamins may not make much of a difference, but it just might. I do eat healthy every day, but I still take my daily multivitamin because I just don’t want to take any chances. I also take a little extra Vitamin C and D to help strengthen my immune system. Be sure to check with your doctor before supplementing your diet with extra vitamins.
- Get your flu shot: I know this is a personal choice and there is debate on the pros/cons of getting the flu shot. I do get mine every year because I want to do everything possible to prevent getting the flu which would keep me out of the gym not to mention just feeling terrible in general.
- Clean your house: You may regularly wash your hands, but possibly other members of your family do not. Use antibiotic cleaning spray on high traffic surfaces often including door knobs and TV remotes.
- Exercise: Exercise is not only great for heart health and looking awesome, but can help boost your immune system.
Despite doing everything we can to prevent ourselves from getting sick chances are it will still happen at some point. Let’s just hope it’s not a stomach virus as those tend to be the worst. At this point our goal is to minimize the damage from being sick. Here are a few things I do when sick to rebound as quickly as possible:
- Should I work out: This depends on the type and severity of sickness. If you have a fever, chills, and/or deep cough I don’t advise going to the gym or public places. Use common sense. If you have a slight cold you may still go workout just be respectful of others by using sanitizer and wiping down your areas. Don’t workout too hard. You can maintain with 60% volume and weight. Pushing yourself to the limit when sick could reduce your immune systems ability to help you recover.
- Rest: When getting sick rest is the most important thing you can do. Get your sleep.
- Stay hydrated: Do your best to consume near the amount of water you typically would in a day. Don’t drink sugary juice or pop.
- Try to eat: If you don’t have a stomach virus and can eat food do so. Since you may not be working out eat smaller protein and vegetable based foods if possible. Less calories and carbs since you are not being active. If eating isn’t going so well I suggest making a whey and casein protein mixture and just sipping on it slowly when you can. This will give you a steady supply of fast and slow digesting protein to help slow muscle breakdown.
- Glutamine: When sick I tend to take a little more of the supplement Glutamine for recovery purposes as well as even more Vitamin C. Get a non-flavored type of Glutamine and just mix it into your protein drink.
- Get back into routine: As soon as you feel better immediately get back into your previous routine. Energy levels are typically low after being sick and getting extra sleep, but don’t let that be an excuse to throw you completely off track. Being sick was just a small bump in the road and one you will overcome.
Michael Witig, ISSA CPT
IPE Natural Pro 3x Champ
All socials: @WittigWorks