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Training Advice During COVID19?

Hey CT!

I am a healthcare worker, working with treating patients infected with SARS-COV2. At the moment, we have to work around 70-90 hours a week, covered in 24 hour shifts. During these, if I am lucky, I can sleep around 2-3 hours… I can usually get to the gym 2-3 times a week, with an additional 1-2 resistance band/bodyweight training at home. I feel my regeneration is way down, my training enthusiasm and intensity suffers greatly, usually just dragging myself through the sessions. I usually feel “this was a good workout” maybe one time a week. At the moment my main goal with training would be to support my immune system, to get through the infection if I catch it quickly, easily (or without any symptom if at all possible). My secondary goal is to keep as much of my current mass as possible. Could you give some pointers how to restucture my training during these times?
The other part of my question is, if I get infected, but remaim symptomless, is it safe to train at home? and when is it safe to return to training after the infection? What to watch out for?
I know you’re not a healthcare professional, but I hope you have come across something about this. I’ve digged through the literature, and apart from a runner’s world article (which stated basicly not to move if you are infected, and even for weeks after one is healed) I have not found anything relevant…

Thanks in advance Coach!

  1. Thank you for what you do. I personally would not be physically or mentally capable of doing the hours and the type of work that you do.

  2. Training is beneficial for the immune system in the long run, simply by helping you be more healthy and better at dealing with stress. However acutely it can weaken the immune system, especially if you do too much relative to your current stress level.

Let me briefly explain. One of the effects of cortisol is to inhibit the immune system. It does so that the body can devote more resources to the systems that are more important to fight the current danger. Once cortisol comes back down, the immune system goes back online and is used to fix the damage from the fight.

Resistance training increases cortisol and thus can contribute to inhibiting the immune system, this is especially true if cortisol is already high from other stressors.

And the more training you do, or the harder your train, the more cortisol you will release. This means a greater/longer inhibition of the immune system.

So really, while you are in the middle of the high-stress period, training cannot be used to strengthen the immune system (unless you were completely sedentary, out of shape with several rhealth risk factors which physical activity can help reduce).

If you really wanted to use physical activity to help the immune response you’d have to go with a form of activity that helps you lower stress the most.

If you want to maintain muscle mass my recommendation, in your situation, would be to do as little as possible to maintain your muscle. Especially on the volume/frequency side of things. HIT (not HIIT), the type of training promoted by Ellington Darden, Mike Mentzer and the like would be a good option. DC training or fortitude training by Scott Stevenson, but only twice per week would also work.


I’m not getting within a country mile of this one. As you mentioned, I’m not a healthcare professional. So I’m not doing to answer a serious health-related/medical condition question, especially one on which even the medical community itself knows so little.

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Thanks for the answers Coach!

I understand. Just thought maybe you came across
Something about the topic (your infos and posts about your kidney problem and how you handled it have been more informative and up to date than my Nephrology classes), as none of my collegues have, nor have I found anything relevant in the scientific literature. Guess I have to wait till we kbow more about the virus.

Thanks again!