We are all a little bit like a junky.  Fitness is an addiction, just a very good one. So when the dreaded sniffles and coughs begin, we seriously want to just cry. Cry because of all the hard work that has to immediately stop because of a cough. Cry because we cannot raise the heart rate for a couple of days and feel like we might lose everything we worked for. Or, on the other hand, we just feel like screw the flu, I am training.

Big words and big decisions and because it is flu season, (and I just had a bout), I thought it important to write about training and being sick and how it affects the big picture. Now without really going into the science of illness and training, just think about it for a minute or two. We rarely follow the rule of 4 weeks on and 1 week off (or some detraining and mobility work during the off week, whatever floats your boat), we just go balls to the walls all the time without a good break to give the body some well-earned rest. So when the flu comes around, just stop training and give yourself time to recover. The body is working really hard to fight the infections anyway, so why put any more pressure on it by training? Just see the sniffles as a chance to give the old body a bit of a break and look after yourself and know that you are going to get back to training, fresh and strong and maybe break some personal bests while you are at it. If you train while you are sick (which is really not a good move) you will take longer to recover, you will feel weak while doing your workouts and you will feel worse afterwards.

Us junkies want to train through anything because we feel like we are superman sometimes and yes, most of the times, you are superman. But even superman needs a night off from fighting crime so he and Lois can go on a date. So just treat your sick time as look after you time. Cook a nice dinner. Rest, relax, watch a movie, or six and give the body time to fight (or, like we would call, get a good workout) Revel in the fact that fit people recover quicker from the flu than people who do not train at all.

Remember the above the neck rule. If you only experiencing a runny nose, a dry cough and sneezing, you are fine to exercise (excuse us then for infecting all the other trainers around us when we sneeze all over them, mind you). If you feel worse after the session, cut back and recover for a few days (some quality time with loved ones count) and of course, anything below the neck is a no no for training. So be a good kid and take your medicine, get lots of rest and sleep and drink loads of water (alcohol is not water guys!)

When you eventually get back to training, you are probably roaring to go, don’t. Take it easy the first couple of sessions and listen to your body. You’ve only got one so take care of it. Listen, we all have our goals and want to look our best, but seriously, take care when you are ill and you will have years of good training in you. Don’t do something silly and have grave consequences on your health.