Should I Train If I’m Sick?

I get this question a lot. And now that we’re coming into cold and flu season, I know I’m going to hear it more. This is a situation where you need to listen to your own body and use some common sense. Do you feel like death? Then no, do not workout. Can you breathe easily? No? Then you probably should not workout. Are you dizzy or nauseous? Yes? Then no, you should not workout.

What advice would you give to a friend if they asked if they should workout when feeling symptoms such as these? You would probably tell them to stay home and take it easy. Well, sometimes we’re bad at taking our own advice.
This also goes for injuries. If you “tweaked” a muscle or are experiencing pain in a joint, you probably shouldn’t over exert that area. Right? It’s inflamed and needs to heal….sooooo, let it heal damnit! No, you’re not going to lose all your ‘gainz’ if you have to take a week off from benching or whatnot. Don’t panic. Settle down. Everything is going to be okay.

Not taking your own advice can be a bad habit to get into because no one knows your situation as well as you do. Learning to read and listen to your body comes with a bit of ‘training maturity.’ With experience, eventually you learn when your body needs some time off or when a certain muscle group might be ‘acting up’ and needs a bit of a deload or even a complete break. Then you go into these breaks knowing it will be good for you and your condition to have some time to repair, and you understand that you won’t be losing muscle or getting fat. Insert eye roll.

I’d also like to mention that you can make your situation worse by possibly prolonging your illness or injury because you haven’t given your body the rest and time that it needs to heal itself….which means longer time out of the gym. No bueno. Here’s 5 little tips to help prevent getting in these situations in the first place. Now, obviously, sometimes illnesses are nearly impossible to avoid and injuries can be part of the game, but we can reduce their rate of occurrence by:

1. Keeping your damn fingers away from your nose, mouth, and eyes.
2. Always washing your hands well after working out (or even just regularly throughout the day.)
3. Take your vitamins (cuz, why not?)
4. Get adequate rest. (Duh.)
5. Eat a healthy diet. (Duh.)

Oh, those sound redundant? How many of you are actually doing all of those things all of the time? Especially around this time of year when there’s tons of yummy food and you’re uber busy preparing for the holidays? Mm hmm. Thought so.

So remember, just be mindful about your body and use some common sense. And if that doesn’t work, call in a trusted advisor and ask them what they think. 😉

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