Saturday, August 10, 2013

Down with the sickness - Training through, and post illness

So apparently I am sick now more often now than an elderly woman suffering from an immune disorder that lives in the sewer.

Nevermind that the last illness I had was more than 6 months ago, and that I've only been sick about an average of 2-3 times a year the last 4 years.  What's really important is the perception that I am constantly on my death bed.

Seeing as how I am finally feeling better, I thought I might take a few minutes in between deathbed illnesses, to write about how I manage to train and continue setting PR's.  Despite being the immune system version of Mr. Glass from Unbreakable, training has gone well for quite some time, so I thought I'd expound on training while being down with the sickness.  O-whacka whacka.

I actually do get questions on what to do about training when sick, so I thought I'd give the real life version of what I do when I'm sick, in regards to training, or just some solid overall protocols on how to handle it.

Colds -

Colds are a nuisance for sure.  The severity of the cold is generally the issue.  Some colds do in fact zap you hard enough to steal your strength out from under you faster than a midget can poke you in the taint.

If it's a head cold, I train through it.  It is possible if I am achy with said cold, I'll rest.  But most of the time I just still plan on training, and do.  I've even had some damn fine sessions with some pretty severe colds.  Often times, you will even feel a bit better after training than you did before.  However I don't recommend training balls fucking out with a cold because you have to remember your immune system is a little compromised at this point, and training IS a stress.  So go in, break a sweat, get a pump, get out.

If it's a chest cold, or something even more dramatic like bronchitis, I do NOT train.  Ever.  If it's in your lungs, wait.  And when I say wait, I mean WAIT.

I had a former training partner that came in to train after he had just gotten over a bad case of bronchitis.  I told him to really take it easy, and not push it very hard.  He didn't listen, and during our warm up of walking around the track he said he felt like he wanted to go for a quick jog on the treadmill.  I advised against it, but he was a stubborn asshole and went and did it anyway.

He came back from his "yog", and said he felt great.  As we were there just talking, he found it harder and harder to breathe.  Then he went limp, and passed out.  Right there on the spot.  I mean it was a silly pass out too.  The ol arms went noodley and legs buckled.  He turned a crisp winters snow white, and while I was semi concerned my main thought as he lie there on the floor was..."that's what you get, you stupid mother fucker."

So don't train with a chest cold, or anything that inhibits your breathing.  Take it easy until that completely subsides, then break back into training lightly.

If you're taking sudafed, be wary of the fact that it can dehydrate you a bit.  More on hydration below.

Stomach Flu - 

To borrow from webmd....

The stomach flu is not a single disease. Instead, it's just a nickname for viral gastroenteritis, which is itself caused by a number of nasty viruses, such as noroviruses, rotaviruses, and adenoviruses.
I do not in any way training through the flu.  By the flu, I mean what I just had.  Diarrhea, vomiting, fever, sweats, chills, etc.  This is a time when you need to be pounding the fluids, and when your stomach can take it, run the BRAT diet.

From wiki, for you lazy assholes....

The BRAT diet is a diet for patients with gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea, dyspepsia, and/orgastroenteritis. The BRAT diet consists of foods that are exceptionally plain and low in fiber. Low-fiber foods were recommended as it was thought that foods high in fiber cause gas and possibly worsen gastrointestinal upset.

An acronym, BRAT is a mnemonic for bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast, the staples of the diet.[1]Extensions to the BRAT diet include BRATT (with tea), BRATTY (with tea and yogurt), and BRATCH (withchicken, often boiled). Sometimes the "T" represents tapioca.

I did train about 5 days after my symptoms first started.  I felt ok enough by then to train, however the truth is, it wouldn't have hurt me not to train.  One thing that I think all of us get way too caught up in, is that we HAVE to train.  I do enjoy training, however there are definitely times where I would probably be better of just resting more.  This is probably an example of that, however I trained anyway.  The session really wasn't bad, but I did NOT feel better afterwards.

The main thing you need to be cognizant of after the flu, is hydration.  Most people tend to have longer recovery periods because they simply don't realize that part of that shit feeling you have after the flu, is also from being severely dehydrated.

The World Health Organization's standards for re,hydrating are as so....

A basic oral rehydration therapy solution is composed primarily of salt, sugar, and water using a standard ratio
30 ml sugar: 2.5 ml salt : 1 liter water
2 tbl. sugar : 0.5 tsp. salt : 1 quart water

Another handy solution I found was the following....

Gather the following items: table salt (sea salt is even better), baking soda, sugar, orange juice (100% juice), water (filtered is preferred), large container that can measure 1 liter of fluid.

Measure one half teaspoon (1/2 tsp) of salt into the containerAdd one teaspoon (1 tsp) of baking soda (NOT baking powder!)Add eight teaspoons (8 tsp) of sugarMeasure in eight ounces (8 oz) of orange juiceAdd water up to the one liter (1 L) mark to dilute the above ingredientsStir or swirl to combine

Once the above oral rehydration solution has been made it should be administered to the individual with diarrhea as a means to prevent dehydration. It is often necessary to take very small sips of the ORS frequently, rather than attempting to imbibe a glass of this concoction. It is not necessary to restrict water as long as the child or adult with diarrhea is drinking the oral rehydration solution as well. As always, individuals should contact their health care provider with any concerns or questions regarding treatment of adults or children with diarrhea.

You must remember that when you have the shits, you're shedding water at a faster clip than you can get it back into your body.  So even if you think you have been drinking enough, you probably haven't.  You need to take plenty of time to make sure and re hydrate your body before you train.

You are highly susceptible to injury when you are dehydrated.  So make sure you take an extra day out just to ensure proper hydration.

Food poisoning - 

Unlike stomach flu, food poisoning tends to run it's course in a shorter period of time.  So you can probably train within a day or so after your stomach stops feeling like you were impaled by Vlad.  However, I would make sure you've taken a day out to adhere to some proper re hydration protocols as outline above, before you venture back into the pit.

Mono - 

Mononucleosis is known as the "kissing disease" because that's the most common way that it's spread. However it can also be spread through the water fountains in the gym as well (who still drinks from the fountain in the gym besides kids?!?!).

"Infectious mononucleosis (also known in North America as mono, the kissing disease or Pfeiffer's disease, and more commonly known as glandular fever in other English-speaking countries) is a disease seen most commonly in adolescents and young adults, characterized by fever, sore throat and fatigue."
The general cure for mono, is rest.  The main risk associated with it is a swollen spleen.  However, the chances of rupturing it from exercise appear to be slim.  This does not mean however, that you get a free pass to go grind out heavy squats and pulls.  My personal recommendation would be to take an entire week off, rest, and then do light work the week after that.  You can still train with mono, you just need to take it easy.  The best thing about this is, taking it easy for a while often leads to solid strength gains for most hard training people.  This is not conjecture, it's fact because I've seen it and read it from too many advanced guys.

So the main thing with mono is to manage your fatigue by resting for a while, then add some light training back in the next week.

I hope some of this helps, or gives some insight.  I generally train as soon as I feel a little bit of energy starting to return.  Generally I like to "get a pump" and leave.  I'm certainly not trying to set a PR during that time, just get my body moving again and feeling better.

I'm off to train in a bit, and probably contract another immune breaking illness within the next 24 hours.  Stay  tuned.

1 comment:

  1. You haven't lived until You've squatted with a head cold and saw Jesus..