It happens to everyone; at some point you will get sick. Most everyone does not like getting sick. People who follow a regular workout routine seem to enjoy it even less because those days missed from the gym eat at us. We feel like we are losing muscle strength and watching our gains fade away.
That is true, in a sense.
But you need to learn the proper steps to follow to get back to the gym properly and not rush back to soon. Trust me, in my years of training I have made that mistake a few times. Usually I push myself to get back sooner than I should, get one really good workout in, and then cause a slight relapse to my body that pushes me further behind schedule.
Don’t fall into that trap. As soon as you start to feel better follow the carefully laid out steps below. How do you know when you are feeling better? The general rule of thumb is that is has been 24 hours since your fever broke and your appetite is back.
On that first glorious day of feeling good your job is to rest and refuel. Your body is depleted and you need to build up the energy stores. That means lots of juice, water, and sport drinks to rehydrate and fill up the electrolytes. Start taking your multi-vitamin if you weren’t but do not go back on other supplements yet. Use this as a chance to detox a bit which will help renew their potency. For food it should be regular protein (if it sounds good) and then good carbs such as fresh fruit and veggies for nutrients.
Usually this is the day I jump back into the gym too soon. After only one day of refueling you won’t be ready. Follow the same food plan from before. If you feel like you must do something then go for a walk for 30 minutes. This will be your benchmark. If at the end of your walk you feel zero fatigue then you are just about ready. If you feel tired at all then you aren’t fully recovered yet. Make sure to stretch regularly to loosen up your body
If you were fine after the walk then you are ready to hit the gym…tomorrow. One more day is what you need. But this day should be focused on going back to your regular diet program. If you can eat what you did before then your body should be nicely tuned up. If you were fatigued on the walk then keep repeating Day 2 until you aren’t and get more sleep such as a nap. Also keep stretching.
The gym! Today you should be on a normal diet and resuming any supplements. For the gym you need to do a 60-70% effort workout at the most. I recommend switching to a higher rep, lower weight routine and cut back on a few total sets. Your muscles are going to need to flush out toxins that have built up so there is no need to try and get back to what you lifted before you got sick.
If this is your next day at the gym then repeat Day 4.
Rest; even if you normally workout 3 days in a row, take an extra day off.
Resume your normal routine. By now your body should be flushed and you have had a couple easy workouts in to retune your system. After a full day off you are as ready as you will ever be so cut loose!