One of the greatest dilemmas any committed athlete faces is what to do when the always unwanted cold or flu bug takes hold.
We all know that feeling well: the excessive soreness during what is typically a challenging but not stressful cardio routine. The unusual sweat odor after a barbell set. Then the dreaded tickly threat or head fog signaling the worst is yet to come.
The next morning, the inevitable occurs: you’ve come down with some semblance of the plague, one apt to stick around for a few days at minimum.
For most of us, a daily workout is not only healthy but an essential part of lifestyle. We’re talking stress management, maintaining results, and transitioning between one portion of the day into the next. Thus, putting the brakes on all things fitness for several days at a time – even with a rampant virus – is almost always out of the question. Even more so when there’s a requirement to perform just around the bend.
I’ve informally surveyed dozens of fitness committed athletes on what to do in these instances. To a tee, all say to not share the wealth, period, within the first couple of days of symptoms.
Any sport – pro wrestling being one of them – where partner contact is essential to success possesses a near guarantee to share illness with an immediate partner plus wider gym (based on loose contact). Even in instances where I’ve spotted seemingly ill individuals…and taken every precaution to avoid contacting said illness…100% of the time I’ve ended up with whatever s/he was carrying. Most likely as that individual likely picked it up from any/everyone in the vicinity, and the equipment not fully inoculated against it. In short: stay home the first 2-3 days of being ill, if not longer if you can avoid it.
Zinc pills, vitamin C, immune boosters, and all that good stuff goes without saying. I discovered Berocca while in Australia, the non-prescription prescription that almost every general practitioner recommended upon initial symptom display. While the America formula is not as potent, I continue to swear by the stuff, if/when I can locate it.
Also – and a good air travel tip that applies to every day scenarios with lots of people in confined spaces – is to dab antibiotic ointment into nasal and ear passages. This will continuously sanitize and somewhat protect the most vulnerable membranes. Also, with little to no disruption of any workout and/or everyday task.
In those first few days of vulnerability, opinions are mixed on working out.
A full-blown flu that is literally debilitating will make the decision for you. When fatigue becomes red flags (dizziness, nausea, extreme weakness, etc.), that’s a tell all sign to cease and desist. Don’t be stupid.
For lesser illness, try a light workout at home…building until it’s uncomfortable to do so. A slight sweat will get the nasties out, but don’t over-cardio at a risk of over-exertion. Some light weights, body weight exercises, and/or yoga will do the trick. Save the excessive running, mountain climbers or jumping jacks for 2-3 days down the road. Related, stay confined to your own house. The last thing a sick person needs is to overdo it…and be stranded miles away.
With your body under duress, it’s going to need and want extreme amounts of fluid. Even for light workouts, keep that water flowing and often.
When done, hop in the shower, steam those sinus cavities. Your body temp and heart rate are up, some of the nasties sweated out, and finish the deal with being clean while relaxing muscles apt to be sore from that workout.
Don’t confuse the above with go hard or go home, until you can’t. Rather maintain your workout schedule when ill…but at home (to not share)…to the best of your ability. I’ve seen too many people lose gains from an illness, only to end up exponentially demotivated to returning, period.