Working out when sick: Do or Don’t

Hello people!

Today’s topic can be one of the MOST confusing when embarking on a fitness program, so I’m going to try to level the field by giving you a few human anatomy and physiology facts when it comes to working out and illness. Ready for the ride?

cold season

First, let’s all acknowledge the fact that germs are everywhere. You really need to stop trying to hide from germs (because you can’t really control that) and start thinking about your actual immune system. When you workout your immune system actually fires up to see what the heck is going on. It doesn’t know if you’re being attacked by a vicious virus or if you just really hate the stairmill. A quick scout of the body will send a message to the brain that certain hormones need to start releasing faster, others slower and oh yeah, we need to start repairing those muscle fibers ASAP. Working out when your immune system is compromised can result in slower recovery for this reason. Your body is efficient and will deal with the main threat first.

Second, we live in a world FULL of people. I always ask that people keep other in mind should they choose to work out while sick. If you’re a little unsure as to what is acceptable, check it out below:


  • If you have a fever.
  • If you have drainage that is yellow or green (gross, but seriously)
  • If you cannot control a hacking cough
  • If you find yourself dizzy just standing up
  • If you are having trouble breathing
  • If you feel achy in your joints

These are for your own safety as well as the safety of others. If your sickness (at this level) persists more than 3 days, see a doctor asap.


  • If your nose if stuffy but you don’t feel a lot of pressure
  • If you’re just moving a bit slower
  • If you haven’t had a fever
  • If your cough is containable
  • If your mucus is clear

Sometimes it can just be allergies or sinuses. If you choose to workout while feeling under the weather, make sure to wipe down equipment before and after use. You don’t want to pass your germs and you certainly don’t want to give your immune system anything else to handle.

Always walk with caution and if you feel too sick to workout, skipping one or two days to recover will NOT derail your progress. If you find yourself sick all the time, take a look at your fuel and your workout to determine a culprit.

You can stay in tune with your immune system by taking a high-grade, whole foods multivitamin, a good probiotic and making sure you are getting enough Vitamin C each day.

Stay moving, stay healthy


How to deal with setbacks

I’m blogging today from my phone for a couple of reasons.
1. My computer has taken a few rest days :-/
2. I seem to have contracted the flu.

Double whammy right?
It’s been years since I’ve been really sick enough to take a personal sick day. Normally, it’s my kids :-)
Anyways, when you get all gung-ho about your training program and then become derailed by sickness, injury, or life, it can seem hard to get back into it. Here are a few tips I use to keep myself training for the future….even if I’m stuck in my bed.

1. Know your limits. When you’re dealing with sickness, the basic rule is a fever equals NO working out. Sometimes, if we force the body to workout when it is fighting off a virus, we’ll actually make things worse on ourselves. You won’t undo all your efforts with a few days of rest! But you will if you force workouts.

2. Hydrate. Whether you’re sidelined with an illness or injury, make sure you are still getting your water in. This can be difficult as we are usually not thirsty. Set the timer on your phone for every hour and get 16 ounces in each one. This will actually help expedite recovery.

3. Stay motivated. Right now I am keeping training books and magazines around me and planning some awesome comeback workouts. Even if I can’t get to the gym for the next couple of days, I can stay focused and motivated.

4. Catch some sun when you can. A short walk or simply going to get the mail can brighten your outlook. It’s not called the sunshine vitamin for nothing! Vitamin D is essential to building the immune system and fighting disease.

5. Remember hygiene. Ok, I know this sounds basic, but we can get sick to the point where a simple shower wears us out. Really, for yourself and your loved ones….. Take care of yourself! Your body will respond favorably, as will your loved ones :-) .

6. Think good nutrition. When we’re sick nutrition and meal plans can fly out the window. Nothing tastes right and cravings can take over. Have a plan and try not to let the junk food linger in the house. These cravings stem from the body needing to be taken care of. Consider having a large pot of veggie soup on hand as cooked vegetables settle easier on the stomach. You don’t need nearly as many calories if you’re stuck in bed (like me!) but don’t starve all together. Keep portions small and light and strive for high nutrition.

Hopefully, you’re feeling better already!

Remember to care for your body on a day to day basis and it will return the favor.

Until next time, have a healthy day!