EXERCISING WHEN SICK:
WHEN TO SWEAT IT OUT AND WHEN TO SIT IT OUT.
(READ THESE WISE WORDS FROM COACH JOHN)
Let’s face it, nobody likes getting sick. With the changing of the seasons and the colder weather coming so will the colds. Gyms can be a hot-bed for germs and sickness if not taken care of properly, although the Cove is one of the cleanest gyms I’ve ever been to (thanks Marina and Brian). Trying to do a metcon with a stuffy nose is no fun. Mix a cough with that and you have a recipe for a bad time. But as much as we hate being sick, we love working out more (well most of us). Here are some tips and advice for choosing when/when not to workout and how to go about doing so when sick or not feeling too well.
There are three levels of sickness that I will use for this post: mild, moderate, and severe.
Mild– This would be something like “the sniffles” or a slight cough. You can still workout although your energy may be a little lower than normal and you may have a slight stuffy nose. Weightlifting shouldn’t be a problem but stick to any percentage work to a T, maybe even round down a little bit. A good metcon may actually do you good and help drain your sinuses but you should take your time and make sure you catch your breath between movements. If you are trying to decide between an RX and RX+ workout, always go RX or lower here. OH, AND WIPE OFF ALL YOUR EQUIPMENT.
Moderate– This would be something like a head cold, stuffy/runny nose, slight headache, cough and maybe some mucus buildup. This is the toughest level to decide whether or not you should workout but here is a little metric to help decide: If you went to work/school then you should be ok (but not if you’re the kind of person who refuses to take a sick day!). Everything will be a challenge at this level. Weightlifting should be done with caution as you don’t want to overwork your CNS (Central Nervous System) — that could put your moderate head cold into a full-blown cold. You should only stick to weights that you know you can handle and won’t fatigue you too much, even is the percentage is lower than what the programming calls for (go at least 15% below what it calls for). Metcons are going to be really tricky. You should cut down the time domain or rounds by at least 20% (reps will be up to you). The same applies to any weighted movements in the metcon. You should be able to fully catch your breath between movements quickly. You should feel extremely warm with a slight sweat after the workout is done not hunched over or lying on the ground in a pool of sweat. Let your coach know of any changes you make and why. Try not to touch too many people, even high fives after the workout… people will not just understand, but thank you. WIPE OFF ALL YOUR EQUIPMENT.
Here is an example of a day’s programming and how to scale it:
Back Squats- 10/10/10/10 (increasing weight)
Metcon- 16 min AMRAP:
30 Wall Balls
40 KB Swings
50 Double Unders (100 SUs)
Fx- 14/10, 35/26
Rx- 20/14, 53/35
Rx+- 20/14, 70/53
Here is how to scale it:
Back Squats- 10/10/10/10 (using the same weight across the board; something you can comfortably handle that may just warm you up for the metcon)
Metcon: 12 min AMRAP: (change your time domain, this time by 25%)
30 Wall Balls
40 KB Swings
-If you normally do Rx workouts, scale here down to Fx. If you normally do Rx+, scale down to Fx or in between Fx and Rx- maybe use a 44# KB and 14# WB.
* This is only sustainable for 2-3 days in a row. Do NOT go 4 days in a row if you are in this level. Take a rest day or two after. You can continue this scaling pattern for as long as you feel under the weather.*
Severe– this would be a full blown cold or flu. STAY HOME, REST, AND CONTINUE EATING AS BEST AS YOU CAN. We will all be thinking of you, but no one wants to be near you.
Basically, if you are feeling under the weather and make it in to the gym, treat it almost like an active rest day. Focus on getting healthier, not on your weights or metcon times. You can give 100% while going 80%…who knows, you might just hit a nice PR on “Fran” when you come back!