What To Do If You Get Sick (and how to avoid it)

What To Do If You Get Sick

Getting sick obviously sucks. Months of gains disappearing in a matter of days. I don't get sick too often. The last time it was food poisoning, which was beyond my control.

"Can I still weight train or lift weights if I'm sick?"

There's different types of 'sick'. There's the typical cold which I can usually train through, and on the other spectrum you have the flu. My rule of thumb is if I'm not bed-ridden, feverish or dizzy and weak from not being able to keep food down, I'll train through it. You should listen to your body or your doctor to determine what to do.

"I have the flu and I'm losing gains!"

We've all been there. Catching the flu or a really bad cold after a week of stressful exams or working double shifts to make ends meet. The pain is so bad that you sit under an almost scalding hot shower to try and transfer the pain from your internals. It works temporarily. Ibuprofen does nothing, like Radioactive Man's goggles.

The best thing to do now is to try and minimize damage. I drink water or Powerade regularly and try to eat some fruits if possible. I lay down or sleep so my body can use my limited energy to fight off the sickness faster.

Near the tail end, when I can keep solids down, I'm knocking back bowls of that Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup with meat) to get my weight, strength and bloat back up as quick as possible. And as soon as I can, I'm back training where I left off in my program. The bar on the weight might be less at first, but the strength comes back faster the second time around. I feel this is due to knowing what it takes to get to that strength level having just been there. So for example, instead of taking 2 months to get to 225lbs bench it only takes 2-3 weeks. Some call it muscle memory.

How to prevent or avoid getting sick

Following a good nutrition plan and getting enough sleep and rest is usually enough to keep your immune system strong enough to kill off anything before it affects you.

But in some cases, I still take some extra precautions:

If it's been a stressful week at work, I'll take one extra multi-vitamin each day and try to schedule extra breaks or days off to help out my immune system. During stressful times, our body releases cortisol which lowers immune system functions, among other health issues.

I've mentioned this before, but carrying hand sanitizer or washing your hands regularly is a good idea too. The lower immune function that can come after a heavy squat day or stressful exams week leaves us more prone to getting sick from environments that otherwise would do no harm, like being on the subway or other public places.

Have any other tips or comments about getting sick? Let us know in the comments.

If you have a different training related question, you can send me a message on facebook or email at: info at powerlifter dot me.

Words by Dan Profane

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Anonymous said...

The article is interesting. Good job

Anonymous said...

Getting a flu shot is a good idea.

Unknown said...

When sick I have had good success taking a high leucine BCAA supplement, it seems to help you keep as much strength as possible!