As athletes, we take every single precaution to ensure our health is in order so that we can employ our trade day in and day out. However, every once in a while our training and nutrition are going to come to a screeching stop because of something we can neither predict nor prevent – getting sick. Yes, it happens, it’s a miserable feeling, and it’ll knock you out for an indefinite period. Not only that, but when you are at your worst, the thought of losing all that you have worked for creeps into your head and that stress then only adds to the horrible feeling you are currently experiencing.
I’m here to tell you to relax and let that thought go away. You’re not going to lose all your muscle overnight, that is just not physiologically possible, and your best course of action is to follow my Bodybuilder’s Guide to Getting over a Cold.
1. Stay Hydrated
This may be easier said than done, but keeping up with your fluids is probably the single most important component of getting healthy again. Avoid getting dehydrated at all costs and get as much water into you as you possibly can. If that means just sipping when you can than do that. Remember, we are basically just one big body of salty water and we need that water so that all bodily functions can work the way they are supposed to.
The absolute worst thing you can do when you are sick is trying to do more than what your body is currently capable of handling. Your immune system is already at a low, and there is no sense in beating it when it’s down. Sleep as much as you can, lie down all day if you have to, stay away from the gym even if the urge strikes you to pump out some biceps curls and allow your body and immune system to recover.
3. Small Meals
There is a good chance that if you are feeling ill, then food is that last thing on your mind. That being said, when your stomach does start to feel a little better, start small with nutrient-rich foods and only eat your meals in small portion sizes. There’s no point in overloading an already stressed stomach with a bunch of food; it will only add to your discomfort. My suggestion is fresh fruits for the Vitamin C, lighter sources of protein and of course a MyoGenin protein shake.
4. Fresh Air
Being cooped up in a room for hours on end breathing in the same air is not going to be advantageous. Open up your windows and let the fresh air roll in. Get some fans swirling the air around and if you can get outside. If you can’t get outside, a cool air mister (usually used for babies and young children) is a great option and will make the air you are breathing much more soothing and much more comfortable for you.
5. Stay Cool
Ok I know it’s kind of hard to stay cool with your head in the toilet, but that’s not what I’m talking about. When you are sick, your core temperature goes up, and that’s due to the virus or infection you are currently working through. Our bodies work best at a certain temperature (roughly 37 degrees Celsius) and keeping your body cool is a great way to feel better. Find a cool place in your house such as the basement and set up shop there to rest. If you don’t have a basement, crank up the air conditioner and set it to a low temperature. The cool air will feel really nice.
6. Use Your Supplements
Without a doubt, as soon as you feel like you can, use your supplements. Keep taking or start taking your MultiPro 32X again, the vitamins and minerals contained in this formula are second to none for optimal health. Use your GL3 L-Glutamine. This immune system boosting supplement will not only get you back on your feet but will also act as a great preventative measure for the future occurrences.
You may have other strategies you use to help you get through a cold or flu, but these six have worked well for me and countless others. The key is to get healthy again as soon as you can. Be a regular human being first when trying to get back to optimal health, and then get bodybuilder healthy again. This means doing what you have to do to get back to feeling “normal,” getting back your energy, getting back your mental focus and getting back to doing the things to you need to do on a regular basis. Once you are there, then take your time getting back into your meals, slowly increase your food intake and take it easy in the gym for a few days. Your body was just at a low and going too hard too fast will increase the risk of injury.
Remember, bodybuilding is a marathon and not a sprint, so take your time and above all else and stay healthy!