I want to start by saying thanks to all my friends, family, and clients religiously following The Strength Feed. Your input and advice is, and always will be, greatly appreciated. What brings me to today’s topic of recovery? Well, I got the flu last week and it hit me pretty hard. Yea, you’re going to need a couple days of bed rest and time off work but recovery prior to hitting the gym again is huge.
The “Cliff Notes” of Recovery:
1. Fully recover before getting back into the gym.
a. A couple extra days off will only help you.
2. Make sure you hit your caloric needs once you have an appetite.
a. Adding BCAA’s throughout the day can help keep you from losing muscle mass while you’re on bed rest.
3. Take extra vitamins.
a. Adding additional magnesium, zinc and vitamin C can help your immunity.
To understand further, continue reading!
1) You have to recover fully before coming back to the gym. Remember that every workout is trauma for your muscle. Very small amounts of trauma, but nevertheless lifting weights creates small tears. During an infection, whether it is viral or bacterial, your body needs to take the time to heal. Your endocrine system and your immune system is taking a heavy hit with the illness and needs time to rid your body of the virus before you “attack it” again. Without proper rest your body can linger in the post sickness state causing a lack of energy. If you have a cough or congestion, it may take longer to get rid of it if you come back too soon.
Viral myocarditis is a condition that can come about when working out with a virus. Basically, the virus can spread to the muscle of your heart to cause a myriad of problems. This is one of many cases where we hear of young athletes dying on their respective field or court…they just don’t want to take time off.
2) Remember, during a cold or flu your body is working hard to recover, and your body works just as hard when it is recovering from a strength training session. So why should it be fueled any different when you’re sick? Obviously, most people don’t have an appetite when they’re sick. This is where soups, milkshakes and other comfort foods come into play. When I’m sick all I want is a gravy biscuit, and yes, comfort foods have a purpose, but remember that your body needs good whole nutritious food to help it recover. Garlic, ginger, hot teas, and citrus fruits can help you heal faster.
BCAA’s can also help a great deal. They are easy to drink and can keep your body in an anti-catabolic state. If you’re not eating your body is going to run out of fuel to help the healing process. What is your body going to turn to? Yes, some fat may be used but a lot of the time the body will turn on its own muscle mass to be used as an energy source. This means the flu is stealing your gains! BCAAs can help prevent this. Look for a BCAA that is high in leucine, this will help trigger the proper
hormone reactions to stimulate protein synthesis.
3) Take the right pills. I am no doctor so please always refer to them first. Over the counter drugs and supplements can greatly help heal your body during any cold. Aleve, Tylenol, vitamin C zinc, magnesium, Ashwagandha, and Echinacea can be used to help you heal. Ashwagandha, and Echinacea have been studied to be used as “adaptagenic” aids. My interpretation on what they can do is help your body limit the stress responses from the illness. Zinc itself has been shown to shorten the life of the cold. Remember these tips the next time you come down with the cold. You may recover better and get back on track with your normal life faster!