Everyone becomes sick from time to time. It’s just a part of life. Your immune system becomes weakened by a variety of agents, and allows a cold or flu bug to slip through. In most aspects of life, you can just pause things for several days, and stay in bed, and recover. But in the world of bodybuilding, progress is lost when you fall ill. Much of what bodybuilding entails – extremely hard training and rigorous dieting – actually causes the body to face greater likeliness of becoming sick. You tear down your immune system and central nervous system when training hard and heavy. Bodybuilding makes your muscles stronger but often leaves your immune system weaker.
One cannot just skip the gym every time he feels a little run down or tired. At the same time, going to the gym when you’re very sick is a recipe for hurting your recovery, as well as spreading your illness to others in the gym. A fine line must be drawn as to when you miss workouts, and when you train when you should not.
A few simple questions should be asked. Are you afflicted with a serious enough malady to warrant losing your bodybuilding progress? Would training with this illness cost you MORE bodybuilding progress? Finally, are you at risk of giving your illness to others, as well as make yourself more susceptible to other illnesses in your state of weakened defenses?
If you decide to train
Dress in layers. Take your medicine – Zicam and Echinacea are wonderful for boosting the immune system and destroying a starting illness. Start with light cardio, then light weights. If you feel yourself getting worse, halt and take a break. Some people believe you can “break” a cold or fever by training through it, although this is unproven.
If you decide to take the time off
Most people choose to take 3 to 7 days away from the gym to recover from a cold or flu. Give the body time to rest, and then get back in there. See a doctor if illness continues. Also look for environmental factors, which may be contributing to the illness.
Ten years later…
When it’s all said and done, missing a few days due to illness is normal and to be expected. It’s very necessary to give your body time to heal when illness hits. On the other hand one should be careful not to squander training results by skipping the gym every time he/she is feeling a little run down. Once that can be achieved, long-term bodybuilding success can be achieved, despite any illnesses!