In case you hadn’t noticed winter is well and truly here, and with it brings the immunity challenges and the inevitable challenges with training. We wanted to put together a guide to help you when training and feeling a bit off, and coming back from a bout of sickness.
Rule #1. The Pre-sickness
Feeling off, sore throat, runny nose, sinuses, allergies flaring are all signs you should not be ignoring. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that pushing the red line on the day when your presenting with the above could be a one way ticket to sickness town, population you. So the key here is to BE SMART. It’s not always an easy concept to grasp for people who like to train a lot.
Training can actually be a great stimulus to keep you healthy and fighting back but considering that your immunity drops somewhat after a grueling conditioning session it’s not great practice to hammer down when your already fighting something off. So consider the following when the first signs of sickness appear:
- Avoid chasing 1 rep maxes or doing stupidly heavy percentage work. Instead aim for manageable percentages, technique improvements or variations to the lift for a new stimulus without the intensity.
- Reduce your volume! Normally do that extra cardio after your session? Don’t. Like to train twice a day? Train once. Train 7 days a week? Train 5, you’ll be back next week.
- Reduce your intensity, focus on a more sustained effort over all without max sprinting or going deep into the pain cave. “Sweating it out” doesn’t include frying your nervous system and rendering your immune system defenseless for 24 hours. Stay within your means. Don’t worry, all your body composition goals and energy expenditure targets can still be managed through this period.
It goes without saying all of the above applies to this as well, and you’re probably not going to feel like pounding out a gym session on account of being anchored to your bed. However, movement is a great way to feel better and allow you to maintain your “gains”. Focus on mobility and general movement, extremely low intensity cardio and basic technique or skill work. Remember it’s not forever (provided you’re smart) so just enjoy this low intensity period. Also, try not to share what you’ve got with your friends and gym buddies.
Your back, feeling better and ready to crush it! Wow, hold on their cowboy/girl! There is a process and it involves you listening to your damn body. If you consider workout intensity on a sliding scale with 1 being a walk outside and the final 5 reps of a high intensity workout being the 10, we want you to come back with an easy 3-4. From there see how you pull up the next day. Any improvement? If not stay there. If there is improvement go to a 5 and take a week to two weeks to build yourself back up to an 8-10. Any goals you might have will be much better achieved by only a couple of weeks of lower intensity as opposed to 1-2 months of serious sickness keeping you out. Be smart, come back stronger and faster.
Factors to consider
Winter is actually not that much different to any other period of the year. Ok, it’s colder and sickness is more prevalent, but in reality there are a lot more factors and a lot of times we set ourselves up for failure because we’re expecting to get sick in the winter months. Other reasons why you may get sick aside from “there’s going around” include:
Stress. Life gets hectic, find ‘you’ time, relaxing movement and practices. Do more things that make you happy. Do a little bit each day.
Sleep. Aim for 8 hours plus, sleep in a pitch black room and “warm up for sleep”, e.g take time away from technology, stress and interaction to actually wind down.
Nutrition. Aim for higher micronutrients through better food choices and supplementation.
Vitamin D3. Chances are you’re getting less sunlight, either supplement with Vitamin D3 or get out in the sunshine whenever you can.
Movement/Exercise. Get some endorphins (feel good hormone) flowing.
Don’t fear the germs! Stop killing everything all the time! The way vaccinations work is by giving your immune system a little bit of something to learn from it and build a defence. Be ok with germs, germs are your teacher (obviously in not all cases).
THE HQ CURES
We all know there’s no quick cures for a cold or flu but we wanted to give you some real people solutions to cold and flu outside of the usual pharmaceuticals (that can work perfectly fine by the way). For those who want some alternatives here are some suggestions:
Lemon, Garlic & Honey Tea
Triple Strength Garlic Tablets
Virafoam + Vitamin D3 combo
Here’s to a healthy winter in 2018!