Training When Sick: Should You Do It?

As the winter weather descends on us, often, falling sick does as well. The question then becomes – should you train when you’re sick?

Given the current climate, I think a resounding NO would be the popular opinion. Stay home and keep your germs to yourself; but I understand a lot of you have big goals you’re trying to achieve. So how are we best to manage recovery without derailing progress?

Training

Take a few days off. An extra couple of rest days is nothing in the big picture of your training life. Besides, a body that is trying to fight off illness is not really prioritising muscle growth and fat loss now, is it? You are far better off resting for a few days, than making yourself worse and having to take several months off. If you do feel up to training, consider taking a deload week. Drop the intensity and volume of your sessions back and take it easy

Water

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! An extra litre on top of your usual intake to help ‘flush’ out illness, as well as to break down congestion. Try soothing warm herbal or fruit teas such as sage, ginger, lemon, camomile, liquorice root, slippery elm and green tea.

Sleep

8 hours minimum. People who are exhausted stay sicker longer. Infection-fighting antibody production is enhanced by deep relaxation and adequate amounts of rest.

Nutrition

Your immune system needs nutrients to function optimally, so feed it accordingly. Quality proteins, fresh fruit & vegetables, & healthy fats like oily fish, avocados, macadamia oil and extra virgin olive oil. Stick to warm soups and broths for an upset stomach.

Supplements

These are some of my go-to’s that help to boost your body’s natural defence and shorten the duration of illness:

  • Medicinal Herbs & Adaptogens – andrographis, echinacea, astragalus, licorice, ginseng, holy basil, schisandra.
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • L-Glutamine
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