Many of us train while ill.
Today I’ll answer the age old question – can you sweat out a cold in the gym?
Because there is nothing worse than getting into the swing of a great training routine only to fall victim to the office lurgee and leave yourself contemplating a few days – maybe even a whole week – away from the gym.
Which means instead of smashing iron, you’ll be nursing a nasty cough, a headache and a runny nose.
But the question is – what should you do?
I’m not talking about whether you should hunt down the individual responsible for passing the plague onto you and make them feel your wrath.
That’s a given.
I’m talking about whether or not you really need to call time on your training.
Can You Sweat Out A Cold?
Some people take the approach of “It’s okay, I’ll sweat it out in the gym”!
These people are incorrect.
Yes, I know it’s a phrase which you’ve probably heard uttered by around 80% of the folks at your local gym, but “sweating it out” isn’t even an option.
No matter how many calories you burn on the cross trainer, it just doesn’t work this way.
Sure, you might temporarily feel good after training, but that’s because exercise releases so many endorphins which give us that enjoyable post-workout high.
It’s not because we’ve cured ourselves of illness.
Contrary to popular fitness belief, sweat is not toxins being released.
Not is it fat crying.
It’s merely water.
That said, it doesn’t mean you cannot train at all.
It all depends on why you are training in the first place.
Allow me to explain.
The Big Picture
Now that we’ve established that you cannot sweat out a cold, let’s move on.
So if you were contemplating training purely as a means to get rid of your illness – perhaps you’ve heard a friend talk about how 45 minutes on the cross trainer sorted them right out, or you just can’t face the daunting prospect of a day off – then the answer is no.
You should not train.
Now, if we are answering this question from the perspective of “can I still build muscle?” then the answer is yes.
You can still build muscle, and you can still train if you really want to.
But unless you are competing for some sort of event, I would advise against it.
You see, when we perform big compound moves – squats, deadlifts, military press – we not only ignite the muscle building process but we also give a sizable hit to our central nervous system and, you guessed it, our immune system.
That’s why we supplement with things like Omega-3’s and multivitamins, to keep our body in tip-top shape recovery-wise.
But if your body is already taking a battering as it tries to deal with an illness, it doesn’t really make sense to add to that workload.
Sure, you can still “build” muscle – but how productive is a workout going to be anyway if you are feeling ill?
And let’s factor into the equation that under the additional stress we are placing on our already overloaded immune system it’s going to add to the recovery time, too, you can see why I advise clients to just have a day off and monitor their illness before deciding to power through it.
Then you go find that motherfucker who made you ill and exact your revenge.
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