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Lifting Weights and Getting Sick


I really love lifting weights.....and I really have alot of stuff down right now...like my routine and my eating and everything. I finally got a list of supplements that i really like...and just seem to be making gains and looking better everyday.

The only problem i seem to be running into is the fact that i keep getting sick. I use to get sick once a year tops...now that i have started lifting weights...i have been sick around 4 times, 2 of which have happened since december. Now i read that overtraining can cause you to become sick but...i cant see how im overtraining...and if i am overtraining...i cant imagine how little id have to train to fix it.

I train 6 days a week...and i know like this seems like a lot...but to me it makes NO sense to train a muscle group once a week. I cant see how that would produce gains. I work each muscle group twice a week. I have been eating a ton. Is it just a coincidence that i have been getting sick? or is it a direct side effect of the training? This really sucks because it fucks my whole schedule up. Did anyone else experience this while they were starting out?


Its your body, you will know by what you read for the symptoms. If you really cant tell meditate on your daily habits(I had a similar problem with sleep and thought it was overtraining..realizing it had nothing to do with it).

If anything look at your habits. Do you go out into the cold weather with just a skimpy little workout tshirt on after you leave the gym? Stuff like that.

Just some ideas to help you out.


Do you wash your hands after you leave the gym, or touch your face a lot while you're there?


Good point. Reminds me how disgusted i get seeing someone take a piss and walk right back to the barbell/dumbells....


You just helped me have a revelation.

Same thing used to happen to me a lot - I think it does depend on your habits - if I get rolling with the building, I get to where I'm so hooked on the workout that I can't possibly miss it - work gets busy, I have to work late, then I can't work out until late - pretty soon I'm trying to live on 3 hours of sleep each night.

Bottom line.....it seems like when I get so into my routine that I cut into my rest, that's when I get sick - it may have something to do with washing up immediately after the workout - exposure to germs is high, and I feel stupid to admit that's something I haven't thought of much before.

So yeah - the germs at the gym, rest, stress, diet.....they can all figure into getting sick - go ahead and examine all those things and see if you need to make some changes.



Damn, that's nasty. I am so thankful that I workout in my house.


Yeah since picking up training (again after a 3 month relapse, yeah yeah, we're all guilty from time to time) I've become a freak about washing my hands at least 3 times during training sessions.


Keep your fingers out of your mouth, nose and ears when you are at the gym.

I don't care how many times you wash your hands, as soon as you pick up anything the last schlep was sweating on your washing is useless.

Sometimes life is a bit dirty...


Dude, I know exactly how you feel. I've been hitting the weights HARD for the past few weeks (Waterbury Method right into a powerlifting routine). I've been doing pretty well, but the past two weeks I've started getting only about 3 hours of sleep a night. And I've been missing max attempts and feeling shitty...

This morning I wake up for school and start hacking up a lung and have the shakes. My whole body hurt. It's gotta be the rest thing. So I slept all day (unfortunatly I didn't eat all day). My fever went away and I feel a lot better though. I guess I learned my lesson the hard way. It's that whole Dan John thing: Work/Rest, Pray/Play. If one increases, the other one must increase too.



what kind of sick are you getting?
sore throat?
vag warts?

if its just "i feel like shit" sick, then watch what you eat before you workout...don't eat too heavy, but make sure you have something in your system

...washing your hands is a key. i work at my gym so i know how many times things get cleaned around, which is a good thing b/c RIT's gym is really cleaned well.


stuffy nose...weak...tired...basically a cold


My wife and I experience the exact same thing. We started experimenting with our program and have found something that works better for us. I am not saying it would work better for you, but you could try altering your program and see if you could find something better for your body.

We use to do eight weeks of upper, lower, rest, upper, lower, rest, rest. One week off. Repeat.

Now, after some "tinkering", we have started three weeks of full, rest, full, rest, full, rest, rest. One week of lighter weight. Repeat. We may decide to take off a full week for an out of town trip here and there, but so far this protocol has worked well for us.



I go through the exact samething, but for me it happens almost monthly. With me I know its because of my shift work and on my night shift not really getting any quality sleep. I've found the best way for me to work around it is I dont start feeling a flu coming on untill half-way through my 8 day cycle. So my first 4 days of my night shift I hit the gym hard and then take the last 4 days off, and hit it again with a normal schedule for the next 3 weeks. I dont know if something like that would work for you...or is even advisable but its the only way I've been able to get around feeling like shit and seemingly always having a cold or flu.


I believe Mike Mahler has an article onthis, check the archives


I went through this whole sick thing for months until I realized that I was overtraining...read some Waterbury stuff about managing fatigue and not inducing it, and realize that training is not a sprint but a marathon of progress and that consistency is better than balls-out intensity for a week or two followed by getting sick. Good luck!


dude lol...how is training each muscle group twice a week overtraining? I really would be extremely unsatisfied doing that. Also i think its alot of BS to think that training a muscle once a week will induce hypertrophy..lol thats literally training a muscle 4 times a month!...


Well for one thing, what's your volume look like? Also, you don't have to train 6 days a week to train each bodypart 2 times a week. You're only getting 1 day of rest each week doing that.

I train 4 days a week and train each body part twice a week. That equals 3 full days of rest each week.


Monday - Chest Shoulders Triceps
Bench - 3x8
incline flyes - 3x10
Incline bench - 3x8
decline bench - 3x8
close grip - 3x8
military press - 3x8
shrugs - 3x12

Tuesday - Legs
Squats - 3x8
Deadlifts - 3x8
Leg Press - 3x8
Leg extensions - 3x10
Calf Raises - 3x10
Hamstring Curls - 3x8

Wednesday - Back, Biceps
Dumbbell rows - 3x8
Pull-ups - 3x6-8
Lat pulldowns - 3x8
Barbell curls - 3x8
E-z bar curls - 3x8
Preacher curls - 3x8

Thrusday- OFF

Friday - Repeat Chest Shoulder Tricep

Saturday- Repeat Legs

Sunday- Repeat Back Biceps

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY despise when people say they work chest and back one day then total arms the next day (bis,tris). I dont see how that is logical...isnt it logical to work the muscle group for a day that works together directly?


It's logical to work those muscles together but it just seems like you're doing a lot of volume and could afford to cust some of those isolation exercises.

My days are broken down into push days and pull days (2 of each per week). Push days = quads, chest, shoulders, and triceps. Pull days = posterior chain, vertical back, horizontal back, and biceps.

Right now I'm doing a month long strength cycle (3x3 and 3x5). Example of a push day:
3x3 - 2 min. rest
Back Squat
Bench Press
Military Press
Close-grip Bench Press

Example pull day:
3x3 - 2 min. rest
Bent Over Row
BB Curl

3x3 and 3x5 may not be a lot of volume, but I'm pushing near maximal weights and my body's responding positively (ie: growth but no sickness).

After this month long cycle, I'm taking my normal week off to recuperate before starting a mass cycle. Even though it'll involve higher rep ranges (between 6 - 12) it'll still only be 4 - 6 exercises a day for 3 - 4 days a week.

Do you ever take rest weeks? I was taking one once every 2 months, but I'm doing them once a month now and I'm growing more and not fighting nagging injuries like I used to.


If you really don't think that it is your program (it probably isn't) then it must be your diet (it probably is).

You should make a food log and post what you find. Then we can give you a better idea of the problem.