Let’s face it. “Sick” happens, even to CrossFitters. You don’t feel sick yet, but you come to the gym and things just feel off. Weights feel extra heavy and that metcon feels extra hard to breathe through, but you just brush it off as fatigue from yesterday’s workout. Is it really just fatigue or are you coming down with something?
After the WOD you lay on your back and recall your diet…has it really been that bad lately, or maybe you haven’t drank enough water lately, but surely it’s anything except a cold. Face it, you can be spot on with your diet, consistent in the box, hydrated, getting that extra mobility in every, but still get sick, especially this time of year! Once you face the fact that you are sick, it’s time to evaluate what’s going on to try and minimize downtime.
We’ve worked with many athletes who believe that taking several days to a week off will make them weak as a kitten. Relax. A few extra days off to recover will not impact your strength and conditioning, but it might actually improve your body.
So, what’s the right thing to do when sick? What we see a lot a of athletes do is try to pretend they aren’t sick, and throw in a heavy lifting session or a hard metcon thinking that will get their blood flowing, and them back in grove. Sorry, tearing yourself down when your body is already working overtime to heal whatever illness you currently have doesn’t make sense.
So what can we do to to get past this? Short answer, “REST”. Longer answer “REST and MOBILIZE” . If you have a fever, please don’t come into the box, you’re contagious. If you don’t have a fever, and want to do something positive for yourself, use this forced “down time” to work on mobility.
There isn’t a member of our box who can’t improve the quality of their movement in some capacity. Coming in for a 30 – 45 minute stretching and mobility session will allow you to focus on problem areas. Tight shoulders, calves or hips? Foam Roll, voodoo band, do the stretching for your problem areas. This will make you move better and more fluidly than before; that way when you do get back at it you will be a well oiled machine. Feel like you need to get your heart pumping a little bit? Hop on a bike for a few minutes, but don’t go overboard with it.
Don’t stress about not working out while sick; you’re resting, you’re working your mobility, and you will be back at it in a few days.
View your illness as an opportunity to work on quality movement. You may surprise yourself with better technique and speed when you come back. Remember, CrossFit is strength, conditioning, and quality of movement, 3 points of a triangle, all are vital for success. To recap – the best things to do when you’re sick is
Till next time – stay healthy, and train hard!