Fitness Friday – Working Out When You Are Sick

This Fitness Friday I am here to admit I did something kind of stupid. When I got home Wednesday night I was feeling under the weather; I desperately needed a cup of soup, a spoonful of cough syrup and many, many hours of sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling worse but after medicating once more I got back to sleep and felt a bit better. I felt fine once I had some cough syrup coating my throat and in the morning, despite the fact that I felt a bit sick to my stomach, I stubbornly decided I was going to get my workout in anyway.

Big mistake.

Thursday, for me, is leg day, which is one of my preferred strength training days. I tried to be sensible and pick beginner workouts on Fitness Blender to give myself a bit of a break while I was feeling a little ill. I made it through the warmup alright but seven minutes into the twenty four minute regular routine I felt myself expire. I was feeling queasy, lightheaded and overall not too great. I’d overdone it. I threw on a yoga video to cool myself down but by then my stomach was too upset to even handle light stretches; Cobra (which is my favourite yoga position) felt like a punishment that was just going to make me hurl.

So why bother sharing this story with all of you? Well, I think it’s an important lesson, and it’s a solid reminder that we have to listen to our bodies. In the same way it makes no sense to do a workout that is far past your skill level, it doesn’t make sense to over stress your body with a workout when it is already functioning at a decreased capacity.

Within the stress of this post-workout sickness I remembered an infographic I saw on Tumblr a long time ago and decided to seek it out in order to remind myself about what I should and shouldn’t be doing in terms of workouts when I am sick. The infographic comes from Precision Nutrition and can be read in full here. I looked at one section in particular and saw where I went wrong: vomiting is a sign to not exercise at all.


(Credit: John Berardi, Precision Nutrition)

I think in the back of my head I knew this but my problem was that I knew if I took the day off I’d be tempted to take tomorrow off too. I have become very regimented with my workouts and I’m afraid if I get off track I’ll find it hard to get back on. I’m over a month and a half in of five workouts a week and I really didn’t want to sacrifice that routine, even though I was feeling sick. The problem is, I still have two more days of this week where I need to workout.

So what am I going to do now?

My plan is simple. As mentioned in my January Review, last month I was disappointed I didn’t work on my flexibility as much as I had planned. Assuming I continue to feel better I am going to give Fitness Blender’s 3 Day Flexibility Challenge a try. So instead of doing my usual upper body Friday and full body Sunday workouts I will go through this three day challenge in order to stick with my routine while also giving my body a break. Of course, if things worse I will fully allow myself to rest and just continuing eating right with the knowledge that I have to jump back into my routine the moment I’m better. Hopefully this will work out.

As for handling this cold, I’m going to be drinking lots of fluids, remaining medicated, and taking the rest of the day to just relax a little bit. February can be such a nasty time for colds and illness so I hope you’re all staying healthy and taking care of yourselves!

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