We all get sick from time to time. It can range from a mild inconvenient cold to one of those debilitating flues that you just can seem to shake! The question is, is it better to rest it off or work it off?
Should you workout while you’re sick?
I'm going to have to go with yes you should "for the most part" workout while you’re sick, but it really depends on how bad the illness is. I would rather be the person that doesn't use "being sick" as an excuse to skip a workout, there are already lots of excuses to miss going to the gym.
What kind of sick are we talking about?
I find a mild cold doesn't really slow me down much but an all out flue can not only sap me of my energy but also drain my strength. You need to play it by ear a bit, listen to your body, if it wants rest then take a few days off from the gym but if you feel like your energy is still there, even if not 100%, then by all means get a workout in. If you have some sort of stomach flue or food poisoning then stay home and close to a toilet, you do not want to be pushing weight with that going on!
Listen to your body.
Let's get real, a sniffle is no reason to pack in the towel and take a week off from your training. You will know when it's time to stay home from the gym, if you are questioning if you feel good enough for a workout then you are probably OK.
Scale your workouts back a bit.
So you talked yourself into going to the gym while being a bit under the weather, good for you! Keep in mind that more than likely you are not going to hit any PR's but you never know? Still, keep things simple, don't do a marathon workout and leave a bit of energy for the rest of your day.
Make sure to not pass on germs to others.
It's super important to be considerate of others at the gym and not pass on your germs to others members. Wash your hands before and several times during your workout, make sure to cough into your arm or towel and try not to touch your mouth, eyes or face with your hands.
Medications can help out a lot.
Take advantage of cold and flue medications, they can really help take away or reduce the symptoms of being sick. If you are feeling better, then you are more likely to be up to hitting the gym. And don't forget to take your vitamins on a regular basis so hopefully you don't get sick in the fist place!
Last week I did a 7 rep set strict press at 185 pounds, so today during my Shoudler CrossFit Class, I thought I would try to lift right around my body weight and see how many I could get. I was shooting for 5 reps and low and behold I got it :) I figure I have a 210-215 single rep max right about now which should beat my previous 205 Personal Best Strict Shoulder Press...
We have been there, our workouts are going really well but then life gets in the way... Sometimes it's a business trip, or perhaps a family vacation, maybe you're in the middle of a relocation?
I have a few suggestions for you that should be able to help you make it through this time with little to no loss in your gains ;)
Take a Break:
That's right, why not take a break, a break can be really good for you, let your body reset and allow some of those nagging injuries to heal up. You may even come back the next week with more energy and strength. The key here is to plan for it, so makes sure to get all your workouts in before and after, maybe even go a bit harder on either end of the break A week or two is not going to kill you if you have been putting the work in up to that point.
Have a De-load Week:
A de-load week is a when you train as close to normal as you can but at a much easier pace then usual. Similar to taking a rest week, your body will benefit from a de-load week by being able to heal and repair itself, again allowing you to come back stronger and healthier. Remember, you are going to be away from your usual training location and not be able to use your accustomed to fitness equipment. Taking it easy and not putting too much pressure on yourself to hit specific workout goals will make the away training session that much easier and stress free since you won't be so caught up on having to use all the equipment you are used to using.
Use the Hotel Gym:
Keep in mind, not all hotel gyms are the same, some hotels have really great gyms with everything you need to give your entire body a decent overall workout. But then some hotel gyms are just plain and simple lacking in many areas. In most cases you will be able to do a bit of research and find out if the gym in your hotel is adequate enough for the job, if not you could find a different hotel with a good gym or perhaps find a Gym in the area that you could drop in to.
Find a Near by Gym, Pool or Recreation Center:
Let's say your hotel or the place you are staying at does not have a gym, or the gym they have sucks! Most likely there will be something in your area that you could do a few drop-ins to and get your pump on :) Just a little bit of research beforehand or even when you get there should bring up some local Gyms, Pools, or Recreation Centers that have cheap enough drop-in fees. I have been to many Pools and Rec Centers with really good gyms in them so no need to make do with shoddy equipment if you don't have to.
Good Old Body Weight Exercises:
If the place you are staying at doesn't have a decent gym and there is no way you can get to a nearby fitness club, you can always perform some good old body weight movements like push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, air squats and even pull-ups if you can find something to hang from near by like a tree branch or kids playground. All activates better than doing nothing at all and I guarantee you will get your heart rate up, burn a few calories and feel a lot better after for doing it.
Now you know what to do in the event that you find yourself away from your local workout space. In most cases there are alternatives that will get you though till you are back home. Worst case you miss a week, that's OK too if you plan for the downtime, your body may thank you for it!
The dreaded workout Plateau! Even if you have been making solid gains month over month, at some point you will hit that brick wall and seem to get stuck or even worse, lose your gains! No matter how hard you try or how much you want that weight to start climbing again, it just seems like maybe that's the best you are going to ever do...
Keep in mind we are talking about strength and muscle size Plateaus, weight loss plateaus are another topic entirely but there is a bit of an overlap for sure.
So how does one go about getting past a Workout Plateau? Here are a few suggestions that may help you...
Take a mini break: Sometimes a Workout Plateau is your bodies was of saying it's tired and needs a break to fully recover. Taking a week off could be the best thing you could do and you will more than likely find many of those annoying pains and tight areas will benefit from some time off. If you find it hard to stop cold turkey for an entire week then perhaps just take it easy in the gym, keep your workouts moderate and don't push to failure.
Change things up: There are many ways you can change things up, one way is to adjust your form or grip, even small changes could help you find a position that works better or taps into a stronger area of your body. When training, find alternative exercises that hit the same body parts you are having plateau problems with, work on accessory exercise work, focus on the area where you seem to be getting stuck and train that portion of your lift or pull until it no longer is a sticking point.
Increase your intensity: Your workout Plateau may be as simple as you just need to ramp up your game. If you train the same day in and out and never do more reps or sets or try and add more weight, well guess what... Your body will adjust and figure you are happy with the way things are since you are not asking your body to do more than it is capable of. Put more load and demand on your body and it will have no choice but to adjust and get stronger to meet the new demand.
Feed your body what it needs: Many people make the mistake of not giving their bodies enough of the right foods to grow and get stronger, perhaps you need to make some changes in this area, maybe more protein or even more carbs so you have the fuel you need during your workouts to push harder and longer.
Be patient: Even if you are doing everything right, the stronger you get and the longer you have been training, this will naturally lead to long extended Workout Plateaus. Persistence and dedication is what separates the elite athletes from the mediocre ones.