Returning to Training after Illness or Sickness - Recovery Routine

Weight Training after Illness

Listen to your body for signals of how and why to weight train

Illness is a part of human life that mankind hasn't been able to totally avoid. Just when a cure is discovered for one problem, another sickness surfaces. The flu is no respecter of persons. The common cold is another culprit. Although scientists have been trying to beat it for years, there is still no cure. German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, as he approached his 90th birthday, was impatient with his doctor's inability to cure his cold. "I'm not a magician" was the doctor's response.

The situation hasn't changed, much since then. The flu can knock anyone off his feet, and it gets tougher every year. The flu epidemic that swept the United States in 1989 disappeared, but only a few years later it was back with a vengeance. These epidemics affect the fitness enthusiast because, as marvelous as fitness is, it doesn't make you bulletproof. A flu virus can still take you down. Being in good condition can give you a better chance of beating an illness, but sooner or later almost everyone succumbs to something.

One positive aspect is that a man who has been training for some time usually recovers faster than the average Joe. Moreover, a guy who has been working out can sometimes shrug off a cold that will put others in bed.

Overall, being in good shape can be a bonus in fighting the flu. One problem area occurs when you combine an especially strenuous workout with a poor diet (too many holiday goodies, late-night ice cream, potato chips, etc.) and some stress. Those elements can team up to bring even a well-trained athlete into an ill condition.

The main goal after falling ill is gaining back the lost ground. Although some men use an illness as an excuse to give up training altogether, most have a strong desire to get back into the gym. In fact, the time away from the gym that an illness forces a man to take can stimulate a renewed interest in working out. The man who truly enjoys training will be champing at the bit to get back to business - the business of building a great body. That desire can help him recover more quickly.

One problem with wanting to get back into the gym too soon is that your enthusiasm could kill you. A disturbing number of people are dying because they are engaging in strenuous activity too soon after an illness. Most of the evidence of the flu disappears and the trainees jump right back into their workouts full blast - and get blasted. A sickness can come back on a person if it is not fully taken care of. Exercising leaves the body in a depleted state and open to trouble. You need to get back into the training groove at a moderate pace before going full bore.

A program can be set up to assist in the return to the training routine. For example, a man's regular Monday workout is as shown: After falling ill for two and a half weeks, he returns to the gym using a revised workout routine. When he has done two or three workouts, he can rapidly increase the weight, number of sets, and time spent running to bring his body back to where it was. If he is out for more than four weeks, he should realize that both his muscles and his joints will need to read just to the workout.

The body loses some strength when it is lying around all day, and illness causes just such a situation. Also, the presence of drugs taken to fight off the illness may have some effect on training (tiredness, dizziness, etc.). You're better off erring on the side of too little rather than too much when returning to action after an illness.

Any weight training you do after an extended illness (four weeks or more away from the gym) should involve only 70 to 80 percent of the poundage and sets you used previously. This means that if you have been squatting 300 pounds for 4 sets, you should begin your comeback with no more than 210 for 3 sets. For a first workout 2 sets per exercise are better than 3. Following this guideline, you would do 2 sets of 210, and on the next workout go up to 3 sets of 210. Once you feel your strength returning, you can crank up the poundage and add another set (perhaps two or three weeks later).

The key in returning to action is moderation. Too much too soon can cause problems, sometimes even fatality. A little patience will do the trick. Use all that energy you've stored up after you have been back in the gym for a few weeks - not before. Do not hit an all-out workout for at least two to three weeks after your return to the living. A little wisdom here can go a long way in preventing serious problems later.

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