Intense exercise is the most result-producing form of training, however, intense exercise also “taxes” the immune system severely. Intense training evokes an immune response that can leave the body vulnerable to infection and illness. If you want to remain healthy and continue to improve your physique every month, year after year, then heed the following advice.

Athletes must think of their workouts as “withdrawals” from their “health” bank account. Whereas, the quality of your nutrition and rest determine your “deposits” into this account. If the deposits don’t meet or exceed the withdrawals, the end result is an over drawn account. That means over-training, poor performance and possibly illness. Bottom line – poor results from your training and compromised health.

What to do . . .

Intense workouts mean big withdrawals. Intense training every week means a lot of big withdrawals are made from your account. Therefore, some big deposits must be made also.

High quality nutrition and sleep patterns are the only forms of “currency” that will top up your account so your balance doesn’t hit zero.  Many athletes really fail to understand this simple concept until they pay the ultimate price – an extended layoff from training due to injury or illness. And like I’ve said before, if you can’t train you won’t gain.

Sleep seems to be a factor that is grossly underestimated by athletes. Research conclusively shows that sleep is the fuel that rejuvenates the immune system. Training intensity must be matched by sleep quality to keep your “health account” in credit. Jobs, relationships and particularly newborns also “eat” into your sleep “deposits”. Therefore, extra allowances must also be made for these unexpected hiccups in life when they crop up, particularly if you wish to train hard consistently and remain healthy.

See Also:
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How do you know whether or not your deposits are meeting or exceeding your withdrawals? Often, you don’t until it’s too late. The best way to make sure your withdrawals do not exceed your deposits is to maintain high quality nutrition and sleep patterns all the time. Not just during the weekdays but every day. Many people let their good habits slip on the weekends. Don’t make this a habit.

Smart athletes can tell whether or not their deposits are meeting or exceeding their withdrawals by the quality of their results. Results don’t lie but you also need to be realistic. Don’t judge your results on a weekly basis, that’s too short a period. Athletes need to measure their results over a longer term, say every three months. Use an honest appraisal and truthfully assess whether or not you have made substantial gains over this time frame. If you are not seeing the results you really want to see then I recommend you increase your “deposits” into your “health account”. That means more rest and better nutrition. I would go so far as to say that 99.9% of all illnesses suffered by people who train daily are simply a result of an overdrawn “health account”.

Immune boosting Supplementation protocols . . .

Before & after every workout:

To help prevent immune suppression that occurs up to 24 hours after intense exercise . . .

Between Meals:

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High Intensity Training and a Strong Immune System – How to Have Both

by Paul Cribb Ph.D. CSCS. time to read: 3 min