Training through sickness: Weighing up the Pros & Cons

Training through sickness: Weighing up the Pros & Cons

Sep 06, 2023

We’ve all had this ultimate dilemma. We’ve got a little bit of a headache, runny nose and our throat is sore. The question is, do we still go to the gym? Are we going to lose out on these hard earned gains we’ve been working on for so long? The answer certainly isn’t straightforward! We certainly know exercise is essential for the human body and provides a myriad of benefits. So where do we go about choosing whether we stay home or go to the gym? In this blog, we will dive into what we think is necessary to think about when we’re posed with this dilemma. 

The number one thing we should think about prior to going into the nitty gritty is “how do you actually feel?” Sickness isn’t a blank statement, there’s different types of sickness yielding different symptoms. So first of all, we’re here to tell you - if you can’t physically stand up, you’re weak and you basically can’t do daily activities - REST! 

In any case, let’s get into those in the category of slight sickness - those who feel able enough to train so the question is still lingering in their head. Paying attention to your body is essential, having the ability to gauge onto how your body is responding to the sickness is imperative. If you’re suffering from mild symptoms such as sore throat and a runny nose, it may still be good to exercise in one way or another. For example, you certainly do not need to go Ronnie Coleman type training like you usually would. You may use the week as a deload week or a recovery session, where you’re actively still trying to make improvements. Usually in a deload, you half the weight and really focus on the stretch and squeeze to get the blood flowing - which is perfect for setting yourself up for the next session ahead when you do recover.

Let’s look at the opposite side of symptoms and say you’re experiencing body aches, fever, constant coughing etc. we certainly think it’s not worth the risk of training. You will definitely not lose any muscle! For the most part, the argument for these types of people is attempting to get them to STAY HOME. One session or even a couple completely missed is not going to do much at all. 

Guidelines of maintaining while sick:

Just because you’re sick, doesn’t mean you completely stop taking care of yourself! This gives you an opportunity to do many things you wouldn’t really shift your focus on. Below we will list some of our personal non-negotiables:

  • Stay hydrated! Hydration is extremely underrated, even when you’re not sick. There is a rough rule that you should be consuming about 35 ml per kilogram of bodyweight as a minimum. For example, if you’re 50kg you should be consuming around 1.7litres, 60kg 2.1litres, 70kg 2.4litres and so forth. This doesn’t mean you can’t consume more than this of course! When exercising you’ll often consume more water since you’re moving more. 


  • Ensure you’re still feeding yourself adequately! It can be extremely difficult to get food into your stomach, especially if you’re sick. But if you can, always try your best to fit in the minimum protein requirement for the day. If you are sick for multiple days, and your protein intake has completely plummeted to below the standard, that’s when we can suffer more than we need to!


  • Rest! There are many people that still tend to stick to the hard-out training when their body just isn’t ready. If you’re suffering from body aches and you continue to make your body ache even more by training - you’re certainly not doing yourself any favours. So prioritise rest!


  • Get some sun! If your geographical location allows it, get some natural skin to sun contact and enjoy the outside breeze and sun on your skin. 

We hope that this blog gives you a quick insight into training through sickness. We’d say sickness is completely relative to the person. Certainly do not take our advice as doctor’s advice but more so general advice! Happy training, if you’re sick - happy resting!


Training Through Sickness

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