Not feeling so good but worried about breaking the progress you have made?
With the flu reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S., many who have have battled falling ill are now wondering what to do to make up for lost time or maybe wonder what the best choice is to get back on track.
First know that it is absolutely okay to take time off from your workouts when you are ill, in fact REST is the #1 prescription when hit by the flu.
REST is the #1 prescription
when it comes to recovering from whatever sickness you may be fighting.
Nutrition is #2 and I’ll cover that one in a moment.
If you get hit by the flu please do not place the added stress and pressure on yourself to try to workout during this time (or to over do it to make up for time that you perceive to be as lost). Taking this approach will only cause more harm than good.
Just like it is not one bad meal or one missed workout that causes weight gain, a couple days of being ill and recovering will not cause you to go all the way back to square one.
Do Not Workout If:
* You have a fever
* You feel nauseous or are vomiting
* You ache
* You have chills
* You are highly contagious
Your body needs the rest!
Trying to workout may only cause you feel worse and delay your ability to recover and get well.
Your immune system is working overtime trying to get you better – it will be counterproductive to put your immune system under stress from exercise and may prolong your illness.
Intense workouts that create high levels of endorphins can actually wear down your immune system.
When is it okay to workout when you are sick?
If you just have a minor cold – it’s only in your head – then yes, it is okay to go through your workout, at a less intense pace. Doing so will help you to feel better and allow you to breath easier for it will help to open up your nasal passages.
How to Get back on Track after Being Ill
Wait at least one to two days after you are over the worst of it.
2. Go through a light workout.
The purpose here is to EASE back in to your normal workouts. Do not expect to go all out at this point. I would suggest choosing to start off with a less intense version of your cardio intervals or a modified Fit Yummy Mummy workout. If either of these options includes jumping, you may wish to find a substitute.
Options may look like:
Instead of a typical 30 sec high/30 sec low, choose to perform 20-30 sec high with a 60-90 min active recovery period. The idea is to choose a less intense version of your regular cardio interval session. This may extend time spent doing your workout and that is okay. No need to go past 20 minutes….remember the goal is to EASE back into your routine.
FYM Strength Based Workout
You have a couple options here.
Depending on your fitness level and how you are feeling, you may choose to go back to completing a body weight based Introductory or Beginner Level workout.
You may choose to go through just one round of your workout. Instead of completing 3 full super sets, you may choose to just complete one set of each exercise taking sufficient time between each for rest as needed.
Another option would b to pick 2-4 exercises within a your FYM workout and complete a mini circuit, taking your time and listening to your body – resting as needed.
Afterwards you can judge how you are feeling to see if you are up to a light interval session afterward.
3. Make sure you have something to eat.
This needs to be stated, for when we are sick, our appetite diminishes, but our body needs the fuel, not just to go through a light workout, but to also help your body to recover from being ill.
Make sure you eat something light at least an hour before hand.
4. Stay Hydrated:
Before, during and after.
This VERY important!
Fevers burn up body fluids and you lose extra water and fluids from your skin, lungs and digestive tract if it is infected with intestinal germs.
You will lose even more body fluids during a workout when you sweat. So when you are recovering from an illness and you begin to workout again, it is common for your thirst reflex goes on the blink, and very easy to forget to drink.
5. Listen to your Body
Stop if you feel light headed or nauseous. Do push yourself to keep going.
6. Take some extra time to cool down.
At the end of your workout, factor in some time to take a leisurely walk or work in some light stretching.
Bottom line – Listen to your body!
How to Eat when you are Sick
While there is not a lot we can do in terms of exercise while we are sick, we have 100% control over the foods we choose to eat.
The flu may initially kill your appetite or even prevent food from staying down, this is to be expected.
When you are feeling better, ease the good stuff back into your body.
This is the perfect time to fill your body with good for you soups and juices filled with only natural goodness to help accelerate your recovery.
A well-known chicken soup study was conducted in 1993 by Dr. Stephen Rennard at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Rennard tested a variety of chicken soup recipes, both homemade and canned, and found that the soup stops the movement of inflammation-causing white blood cells called neutrophils. A 1978 study by K. Saketkhoo et al, “Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance,” found that drinking hot chicken soup effectively loosens nasal mucous secretions, which helps you rid them from your body faster, easing cold symptoms and congestion.
Broth based chicken soups are great because they speed up the movement of the mucous in your throat and ultimately nose. Because the mucous has all the allergens and viruses in it, they have a shorter period of time to enter your body. Chicken soup also acts as an anti-inflammatory by preventing the movement of neutrophils, which are cells that the immune system sends out to cause an inflammation (one of the body’s defense mechanisms).
Garlic has high antibiotic and antifungal properties and is an easy, handy way to fight off symptoms without buying expensive medicines. One way to get garlic into your system is to simply add it to your food – like your chicken noodle soup, but you can also try some more hard core methods like eating it pressed, in tea or juicing it!
Go Greek! Greek Yogurt is high in protein and loaded with active cultures, that are also know as probiotics or live healthy bacteria, can help fight colds in the first place. One of which, Lactobacillus reuteri, is good to help you fight the bug!
Hot tea can fight virus, and acts as a inflammation-relieving antioxidants. Drinking five cups of black tea a day for two weeks can help produce 10 times more interferon, the proteins that fight viruses, than drinking an instant coffee.
Try Ginger tea. It’s different and refreshing–and, Duke says, “ginger is loaded with virus-fighting substances, including several that act directly against cold viruses.” (One substance, gingerol, can suppress coughing.) Boil water; then steep a tablespoon of fresh shredded ginger for 2 or 3 minutes
Peppermint is good for upset stomach and indigestion related problems such as nausea, diarrhea, flatulence and cramps during period; it is contraindicated if you are suffering from GERD — gastro esophago reflux disease because it can irritate your upper digestive tracts.. Otherwise, peppermint is helpful in giving your stomach numbing effect by relaxing the muscles in those areas and thus alleviating the pain and distention.
What you Must AVOID while Sick….Sugar!
Eliminate sugar as much as you can while you are ill including soda, any type of undiluted fruit juice, honey, and natural and refined sugars. When sugar is present, white blood cells are slower at killing bacteria.
What about Results?
The progress you have made on your fat loss goals will not be hindered by a few days off your regularly challenging workouts and your clean eating nutrition plan. Getting sick is a normal set back and you will bounce back easily if you choose to follow these guidelines.
Give it a couple days and once you get your energy and strength back you’ll feel great and want to exercise again.
Oftentimes many find a whole new drive after taking this time to recover. Just be sure you give yourself the time and the nutrients to recover and you will be back on track before you know it!
If you have been hit by the flu and not feeling your best, I am sending you GET WELL SOON wishes.
Know that it will soon pass and you will not have lost any of the progress you have made – instead you will come back stronger and more eager than ever to move ahead!!
What’s Your “Get Well” Recovery Strategy?
Your Friend and Coach,