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weight training and sickness

Bam, I get laid up with the flu. Just when my training is right on track, my strength is where I want it to be, and I’m feeling great I get the flu.

Since I live up here in the great white north (Northern Ontario, Canada), the winters can be quite treacherous.

Colds and flu’s are like a right of passage here and there’s not a whole lot you can do to avoid them.

So, when my girlfriend came home from work one day, stricken with the flu, I knew it was only a matter of time before I fell to the bug.

Well, sure enough, we both have given in to the flu bug and are laid up on the couches. Now, I know that as much as I want to pack my bags up and head off to the gym, I can’t. You see, I know I have to stay home to rest because my body is very vulnerable, since it’s in a very weakened state and I think that’s what bothers me the most.

It wasn’t but 3 days ago that my body was strong and in great shape but now, it feels like I can’t even make it up the stairs. I would like to keep my body strong but I know, it has to go through this healing process before I can head off to the gym and that can be anywhere from a week and a half to two weeks.

This morning, I get a question from a reader that says if he should weight train when he has a cold and here I am, laid up with the flu. Well, my answer is no. Absolutely not. However, if you would have asked me that question back when I was 19, I would have said yes.

There was a time when nothing could have held me back from going to the gym, not even the dreaded flu bug. I remember packing my gym bag up and heading out in to the cold for that 20 minute walk to the gym. The walk was hard enough but trying to work out and go home afterwards was even harder. When I think about it now, it was a very stupid move but hey, when Arnold said he never missed a workout, I never wanted to miss a workout. I’d make it back home and sure enough, my cold only got worse. What should have taken a week and a half or so to heal took me 2 to 3 weeks to heal because my cold got worse because of me trying to train through the cold.

I think the worst part about me showing up to the gym with a bad cold was my selfishness. I was putting everyone else at the gym at risk of catching my cold and I’m sure some of them caught it.

For those of you who are thinking of weight training while you have a cold or the flu, I say stay at home and get better. You won’t be doing anyone any favours (least of all, yourself), by showing up to the gym to train. The only thing that will happen if you try and train through a cold is that it will only get worse. Your body is already weak and vulnerable, why break it down even more and open it up to the flu or pneumonia? Besides that, you put everyone else at risk of catching your virus. What about some light stretching or even light weight training? No, not even that. Let the cold run it’s course and don’t put your body at risk.

Do your self a favour and stay home. If you do have a cold or the flu, make sure you take in a lot of liquids and keep warm. These days, when I get a cold, I don’t even bother going outside. I stock up on my cold medicine and make my own, home made chicken noodle soup. The soup is very hearty and is great if you have a bad cold or the flu. Try it out next time you come down with something.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

• 3 potatoes sliced into small chunks;
• 2 green onions, sliced;
• 1 onion sliced;
• ½ cup of sliced carrots;
• ½ cup of sliced celery;
• 1 clove of garlic;
• 1 or 2 packs of chicken stock;
• 2 or 3 chicken breasts, sliced into little chunks;
• 1 or 2 cups of egg noodles;
• Cooking pot filled with water.

Simply add all ingredients (except the noodles) into a pot and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Add pepper and salt to taste. Once everything is cooked, add the noodles and simmer for another ½ hour or so. You can usually save this meal and stick it in the fridge for the next day or two. The best thing about this soup is that it’s hot and hardy.

Anyways, I’m off to bed so I hope this helps you the next time you think about weight training with a cold.

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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