What Being Sick Has Reinforced In My Fitness Journey

This week I’ve unfortunately experienced getting sick as so many other people have with the increase in Omicron variant cases as well as the regular cold and flu during this season. While being sick is a miserable experience, it’s helped reinforce a few key aspects of my own fitness journey that I’ll discuss in this blog post. 

#1 Recovery is Key 

Recovery is one of the most important parts of your fitness journey as without proper recovery, proper adaptations cannot occur. Without proper recovery you can even increase the chances of you getting sick. This lack of recovery and/or over-exercising is a common term in athletics called overtraining. In this athletics weekly article, Scott Laidler describes the signs of overtraining which include flu-like symptoms such as: “muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue, headaches, lack of energy, reduced sex drive and lowered immunity.” If you’ve ever experienced these symptoms while on a training plan without being sick, chances are you are either overtraining through over-exercising or under-recovering. Proper recovery includes incorporating adequate rest days into your exercise program, eating nutritious foods, getting adequate sleep, and managing outside stressors. Keep track of these variables to ensure you’re getting the most out of your training program without leading to overtraining symptoms. 

#2 Whole Nutrition > Restriction

One of the worst things you can do on a new health and fitness journey is restrict food groups from your diet. Getting adequate macronutrients, micronutrients and water intake are important for long term health and immune system function. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), approximately 2 billion people are at risk of micronutrient deficiencies. These deficiencies can be mitigated by incorporating a diversified diet filled with vegetables and fruits of wide variety, optimal and varied protein sources, carbohydrate sources, and healthy fat sources. For someone wanting to lose body fat or whose not getting enough vitamins and minerals in their regular diet, supplementation can be added to prevent these deficiencies. Before adding in random vitamin supplements to your diet, it would be best to get blood work done from your doctor to get an accurate view of which nutrients you may be deficient in. Regardless, it is not advised to cut out entire food groups from your diet as these can lead to immune system issues that can negatively affect your health long term. 

#3 Life is About Ebb and Flow 

Being sick is a stark reminder that not every day can be approached with the grind or die mindset. Some days you may not be able to hit your squat record, other days you may surpass your expectations but regardless, you can’t be “ON” all the time. Being sick reminds us that rest is necessary, if not when we’re feeling great, especially when we’re feeling under the weather. Keep this in mind on the days you don’t feel your best. You can always push the tempo on the days you’re feeling great, but don’t get discouraged and lose sight of your long term goals on the days you don’t feel great. You’ll always have another opportunity to push a little harder. 

What are some other life lessons you’ve learned while getting sick? Comment below! 👇🏽

Sources and Additional Articles: 

Understanding Overtraining in Athletics

Public Health Aspects in the Prevention and Control of Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin D Deficiency- An Ignored Epidemic


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