Regardless of how ‘healthy’ and ‘fit’ a person may be, they will still get a bug here and there. That being said, those of us who are ‘healthy & fit’ are often not too great at heeding our own advise when it comes to ‘resting’ when the flu hits.
I have struggled for about six years to calm myself down and learn to listen to my body when my system needs a rest. Like most people in the fitness industry, I need to be in GO MODE most of the day from sun up to sun down and taking a day off, is literally like a day gone. Financially I have to make up all the missed sessions… and emotionally I have to learn how to handle the energy I did not expend and the happy hormones that I did not release.
Over the past year I have become really great at listening to this little body of mine. I have started to notice when I am beginning to get a bit ill. It starts with small physical issues (usually a swollen tonsil or an itch in the throat). Eating habits change. Sleeping patterns change. Energy levels change… and before I know it, I am canceling my Thursday and awake at 2am writing on a blog.
My personal rule of thumb: If it hurts to breath and/or your body aches beyond your throat DO NOT TRAIN. This is my rule to my clients. Your throat can bother you and it may not be an illness, or it could be so minor that it will pass. If you’re like me and you know that itchy tonsils = tonsillitis = solid week from hell… STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW AND GO BACK TO BED & HAVE YOUR SPOUSE MAKE YOU WARM TEA AND TICKLE YOUR FEET…
If you aren’t that in tune with your body and you faff about until you have a fever, you have snot, your eyes swell, and when you cough you sound like a broken piece of farming equipment…. stay your ass away from the gym, the trainers, and the people. Just stay home and get well! Your biceps and your congestion are not in a competition…. until you put yourself in this situation and guess what? They both lose!
May through August are the sickly months in Durban, South Africa and I have had to adjust to winter in July (September - February in the northern hemisphere) ….It sneaks up on me like crazy. Literally, one week I will be sweating in shorts and the next I am freezing and my tonsils are large enough to apply for their own zip code.
The bottom line is this: If you KNOW your body and you know that you should get well before you go hard at the gym, have common sense and do that. If you are sick, do not go to the gym and spread your germs to everyone else. If you have this stigma and this false idea that you’re going to get get behind in progress – wither it is muscle building, fat loss, or maintenance – you have got to let that go. Training the body physically while it is busy fighting off a cold is the absolute furthest thing you can do from helping it not fall behind. When you have a weakened immunity, any added physical stress is going to continue to weaken it.