T Nation

Help! Diagnosed w/ Mono

So I got diagnosed with mono a few days ago…apparently I cant lift for at least 4 weeks maybe up to 6 since there is a chance of rupturing my spleen…anybody have any experience in this area? I have barely been eating, finally been able to eat some dinner the last two days. I just don’t wanna lose muscle put on fat etc… etc… Anybody with insight/suggestions/ experience would be appreciated. Thanks G$

I had mono about 18 months ago and it is not something that I would mess around with. You are not going to want to eat but I would recommend trying to force down some protein shakes throughout the day and taking a bunch of fish oil. You should try and get some real food in your stomach but I know that is not as easy as it sounds. The only other thing that comes to mind is sleep as much as you can based on your schedule and don’t really worry about fat gain but holding onto muscule could be a bit more difficult. Maybe someone with some more exp./knowledge could comment on something like Carbolin 19 or BCAA’s to retain muscule but I have no idea if that would be wise while you have mono.

I had mono a few years ago and yes it sucks. I’m not a doctor, just a dumb meathead so if you want to take time off for 4 weeks and not train skip everything from here till the bottom, if you still want to go to the gym listen to this advice.

If I knew what I know now I’d have totally condensed my training to 2-3 movements and taken my sweet ass time to get them done. And(I’m getting on my flame retardent suit for this one) I would have trained almost exclusively on machines. Nothing tires you out more than moving your body through space, chins dips squats etc, and normally that’s a good thing but not when you have such limited energy to train. Move the weight around you, let a bench support you as often as possible. If you want to do rows, do chest supported rows. Your mind might think you can do a 225x10 bench press still, but your mono weakened body can not do that and it’s a recipe for disaster. If you are going to train, train safely. You aren’t going to gain now, this is about the only time I’ll EVER tell someone to try to mantain haha. You just need to give your body a good reason to hold onto muscle and you don’t want to tax it further by training hard to failure or with loads of volume.

I’d do MWF push pull legs stopping 1-2 reps before failure on every movement. Use as many warmups sets as needed.

Hammer Strength Incline work up to 1 heavy set of 6-10
Hammer Strength BTN Press up to 1 set of 10-12
Pushdowns 1 set of 10-12(god that pained me to write haha)

Machine Preacher Curl 1 set or 10-15
Reverse Grip Pulldown 1 set of 10-15
Hammer Strength Row 1 set of 6-10

Leg Press Calves 1 set of 10-15
Seated Leg Curl 1 set of 10-15
Leg Press 1 set of 6-10

And DONE. Taking all the time in the world you need to get your breath about you between warmup sets and exercise. You aren’t going to gain muscle here, you aren’t as strong as you were. Just go through the motions and get blood flowing and let your body know it still needs that muscle for something. Try out exercises you’ve never tried before(that are safe). It’s totally demoralizing to normally squat 275-315 for sets of 10 and then be squatting 135x10 while you are sick. Forget that, do leg press or hacks or something that you don’t have any idea what your “normal” weight is. Don’t train for too high of reps, that’s time under tension that’s zapping your breath from you.

Eating also was terrible. My suggestion is to learn to eat like a baby. What? Ok let me explain. Babies eat soft food all day long, trying to tear up a chicken breast and chewing it is both disgusting after a while and flat out left me out of breath haha. I’d take some chicken and slow cook with some vegetables like corn and green beans till it’s tender as hell and I can basically drink it like soup. Anything you can do to get food down is fine, your weight will drop most likely but you need to fight it. Get some cooked ground beef and toss it in the food processor with some tomato juice to make a baby food protein paste, gross stuff but it’s freaking edible. Soup is your friend, toss some really soft cooked chicken or beef in there and you’ve got a meal. Figure out a protein shake you could drink for every meal, and then do that if you have to. If it’s chocolate protein ice cream and peanut butter, go for it. Get at least 3+ meals in per day.

Good luck man mono sucks, if you are bitter about it give it to as many people as possible haha. Basically every food or drink you want is yours, just touch it and tell them you have mono and BAM you got yourself a sandwich ha. I’m joking(sort of) but just get through it and get back on track as best you can.

“I’m joking(sort of)”

So true. My bud had mono and at lunch anything he wanted was his! A simple well placed cough and we just backed up and handed over our calzones haha.

Squats and Milk

I just got over mono about 2 months ago. My doctor told me not to do any heavy lifting, I don’t know about yours. Pretty much what I did was started swimming (wasn’t supposed to run hard either). But it did a lot for my cardio work, without breaking down a lot of muscle.

That sucks but even if you do lose some muscle, you’ll gain it back quickly after you recover. just keep an eye on the diet when you can eat a gain, don’t stuff yourself and just get fat.

I had mono. Two summers back. Actually, I had an enlarged spleen and was lifting while I had this. Believe I stopped for about a month.

When I came back, I went into an 8 workouts a week (doubled mon/wed/fri) program I had created with my friend. We probably did about 20 - 25 sets on the big workout days (5 a week). Went from about 175 to 195 with a small amount of fat gain (started at 175 before mono).

Keep in touch with the Dr. He will let you know when ur spleen has gone down to a size where you can resume physical activity. Don’t rush it! 4-6 weeks is nothing compare to having surgery cuz you ripped your spleen.

Go play some video games and eat sensibly.

[quote]GetTheHIT wrote:
Squats and Milk[/quote]


Thanks for the good laugh!

Wasn’t lifting at the time but just thought I’d throw my little story in.

I got mono my junior year in high school. At the time I was 6’3" and I went down to 140 pounds, from like 170 or so…The whole summer I kept getting sicker. I did nothing but lay on my couch. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even have been able to do pushups in the condition I was in. Maybe I just had a real bad case of it, I don’t know.

Anyway, now I weigh 225 at 6’5". Still a skinny bastard but I’m working on it, haha.

Don’t lift with mono and do not force ANYTHING!!!

My story:
I got mono during christmas break last year and I recovered 100% in 1.5 weeks. I did it by sitting in front of the TV and taking my pills in yogurt (all I could literally eat) all day. I got winded just walking upstairs so exercise IS NOT an option and you should not think about getting back into the gym.

I lost 10 lbs in a week (207 to 197) since I literally had no space to swallow anything and it was extremely painful. But, I drank bottles and bottles of water and sipped it literally all day sitting on the couch. Tea also helped but only for about 5-10 minutes so I made lots and lots of tea.

In terms of lifting, when you feel 100% better from being sick, then you can start lifting. We have a home gym (not my main gym but worked out for this situation) so I did that 3x a week for 1 exercise for each body part for about 2-3 sets. Very easy work if I were healthy but hard after coming off of mono. In terms of the spleen, it’s good to get it checked but you will feel paranoid about hurting it as was I.

Luckily my dad is a doctor so he checked my spleen and got that taken care of easily. But I did the above program for about 2 weeks. Then, I did my exact program before getting sick but with less weight. It only took a few weeks to be back 100%.

So to recap, DON’T force food down (it’ll come back up), DON’T try to lift too early, DON’T ignore your body’s messages, DON’T beat yourself up psychologically because it will all be back in no time. I used this mentality and recovered in 10 days so take it or leave it.