Classic question - do you avoid the gym with a cold?

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RobertB
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Classic question - do you avoid the gym with a cold?

Post by RobertB » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:09 am

I did a quick search and maybe I'm not using the right key words but nothing jumped out - apologies as im fairly sure if I looked for 10 mins I'd find, buuuut....

What is your approach to working out while/just after having a cold?

as I ranted in the lounge I got pretty down about failing my overhead press while I had a cold, and I seemed to drag on the cold a little by going to that session - so now im skipping all week.

Do you do this? or do you just do a light 80-90% session? what's best for me? I actually feel a little weak still but that could be from not going enough or just lack of confidence. Just can't decide now whether to smash through the issue or rest excessivley - I don't know what the fine line is (is a full weeks rest too long/will lead to strength loss, or is working out while ill stupid because you are already taxed)

the cold is fine - its just me functioning a little less, few bouts of sweating/temperature, very mild dizzyness (nothing thats going to drop a bar on me/someone else) - mainly breathing is off - its certainley not flu type.


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Post by robt-aus » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:03 am

personal perspective

when you're off, you're off. sometimes it's nice when you know the cause is a cold - the first (and only) time i had to loudly dump a squat bar was after several days of good food, rest and progress.

i've found working out even mildly just extends the slump. there's 51 other weeks in the year - do something else; write on an internet forum or something.

rest is ace, and so is the chance to drink lots of hot tea with honey and ginger - i know i'm recovering when i start to feel jumpy from the sugar.

recover well

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stuward
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Post by stuward » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:01 am

There are times when you definately want to avoid the gym:

When you're contagious.
When you have a fever
You feel nauseous
When you have fluid in your lungs.

Here's are a couple of good articles on the subject:
http://www.criticalbench.com/working-out-when-sick.htm
http://www.straight.com/article-261470/ ... r-hurt-you

I know Eric Cressey wrote about it too but I can't find the article.

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Post by KPj » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:04 am

If it's something minor I'll just go in, warm up, and see how I feel. If I happen to feel great after the warm up, i'll still approach it cautiously. There's been various times when i've had a cold that's lasted about a month and i'm sure it's because i refused to back off training.

However I typically just see it as a chance to do lots of "healthy" stuff. So i'll keep the weights low, really play around with form, after doing an extra long warm up - I foam roll, then stretch, then do a dynamic warm up. Normally lasts about 15 mins but, if I'm ever feeling beat up i'll be extra thorough and warm up for 30-40 mins and normally feel like a new man after it.

In other words you've got to play it by ear. Don't be an idiot but realise that everytime you go into the gym you don't need to train like an animal! I would rather not stay at home and would go in and do "something", though. Obviously sometimes it's just stupid going in at all. I don't get ill very much but last serious thing was mumps. That was great. No training that week! Infact I think it knocked my training back about 2 months because I was very weak when I got back to it.

KPj

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Post by frigginwizard » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:32 am

KPj wrote:If it's something minor I'll just go in, warm up, and see how I feel. If I happen to feel great after the warm up, i'll still approach it cautiously. There's been various times when i've had a cold that's lasted about a month and i'm sure it's because i refused to back off training.
^^ this


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Post by RobertB » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:12 am

Ok cool cheers guys - I think Ill just do some simple isolation stuff tomorrow maybe a 20 minute warmup cycle/stretch just to wake my body up a bit - i'm not getting flushes of dizzyness or painful coughs, just clearing crap out and somewhat tired/down.

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Post by ApolytonGP » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:31 pm

When I was dieting, I would go religiously. I felt that the exercise helped replace off-plan eating and drinking. and that I could power through.

Now, after some strength gain, and also more fatigue and injury, I might choose to take a less hard core route and allow the day off.

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Re: Classic question - do you avoid the gym with a cold?

Post by frogbyte » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:40 pm

RobertB wrote:the cold is fine - its just me functioning a little less, few bouts of sweating/temperature, very mild dizzyness (nothing thats going to drop a bar on me/someone else) - mainly breathing is off - its certainley not flu type.
Bouts of fever from a minor cold is a bit of a contradiction.

I'll work out with a minor cold or allergies if I have no sickness muscle soreness - certainly no fever.

I've noticed recently that rolling my eyes around for a bit (a group of muscles that are otherwise not taxed, and thus not sore from training) I can detect a more severe cold/flu with seemingly decent accuracy.

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Stephen Johnson
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Re: Classic question - do you avoid the gym with a cold?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:39 pm

RobertB wrote:What is your approach to working out while/just after having a cold?.
If it's a head cold (unless it causes a really heavy mucous drip), I can generally get away with a halfway decent workout. Chest colds are a different matter - spasms of dry hacking coughs make breathing right impossible. Working out under that condition is a waste of time.

If my temperature is above a low grade fever (about 100F) I avoid the gym. A fever calls for rest, not exercise.

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:43 pm

And please, everybody. If you do work out while you have a cold or flu, please use antiseptic hand gel frequently, wipe the bars or grips down with antiseptic wipes when you're done (most gyms provide them these days) and don't just cough all around. Keep a handkerchief or something handy to cough into.

There. Now I feel safer.

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Post by frogbyte » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:46 am

If you're actually coughing, that indicates a more wide-spread issue. I wouldn't call that "minor". Working out with a cough seems like a bad idea, health wise.

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Post by Ben83 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:28 am

If I have a cold, I rest or a do a homework out as best I can (have a bioforce at home and some free weights), its not a true substitution by any means.

I feel however, that we're missing the true issue. I would be quite annoyed if I was made ill because someone didnt want to miss a session. Training and gaining size or whatever your goals might be takes years and missing 2-3 days isnt going to ruin the year or 3 year plan that one might have.

Consideration for others I think is paramount here... I'm not a doctor so I appreciate that contageous periods are not necessarily something I understand beyond a lamons perspective. So please, any MDs do feel to correct me if I'm wrong...

In short, if I'm ill, I will stay home, not due to my lack of desire but out of consideration for others in the gym.

:eek:

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:50 am

You make some good points, and in an ideal world, that would be all there is to it--if you're ill, stay away.

A cold is most contagious when the symptoms are at their worst, something like the 2nd through the 4th days of symptoms, when there is a lot of mucous production and coughing. However, you are contagious from sometime BEFORE you develop symptoms (anywhere from a few hours to a few days before) through the time you have any symptoms at all.

If you are going to stay away from the gym, than you should probably stay away from work (unless you work entirely alone), school, the store, church, etc., etc. And in an ideal world that's what you'd do. Problem is, adults average something like 3 colds per year, not to mention flu, and a few other viruses. So that would mean we'd average 6 to 8 weeks of sick leave per year, and 3 or 4 2-week interruptions in our training each year.

So if you're going to go to work, etc., I think you might as well go to the gym, and just take prudent precautions. So stay away for the first few days of symptoms, when you nose is really running, and when you're coughing a lot. Once things slow down, if you aren't feeling too bad, go ahead and work out, but clean your hands frequently with antiseptic gel and clean the hand grips with a virucidal surface disinfectant (like the wipes provided at the gym). If you get relief from decongestants or cough suppressants, use them.


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