T Nation

Working Out When Sick?


Okay... I need opinions.

At what point do you all decide to take a few days off of training while sick?

Basically, how sick do allow yourself to be and still workout?


When I am physically unable to train effectively without making things worse. Priority number one is to get better, so as long as I can make progress toward that, I'll continue making progress toward everything else I can manage.


If your feeling sick why not just take a couple days off to get over it?


Never...I repeat..Never train when you are sick!


Post workout immunity may drop to as low as 50%. when you're sick, the only thing standing between a healthier-you and a sicker-you - IS IMMUNITY.

it's up to you.

when you're sick, you could supplement with glutamine.


Don't train sick. No one else wants to get sick either. Just get better and then resume training.


I don't agree with not working out at all. I've found that if I have a minor cold or sickness I can train, and I end up feeling better later.

Now, this depends on how sick you are. If you have some congestion and/or a sore throat or just aren't feeling too hot, it may be okay to train. But, if you have a fever, extreme muscle soreness, vomiting, etc., then it's best not to train.

There have been many times where I had a minor cold, and I didn't feel like training, but I went to the gym and did my workout, even if I felt weaker or didn't have as much energy. But when I was finished, I actually would have completed the workout as I should have, and I feel a lot better.

So it's going to be an individual choice based on how sick you may be.


Basic agreement with previous posts. IFF (if and only if) you are not too sick and/or contagious, you may give it a go.

A few suggestions:
- just getting the blood flowing can do wonders for your mental well being, even if it means gasp cardio
- do not, i repeat, do not attempt to continue your lifting program as you would were you not sick. for example, if it is squat day, pick a moderate to light weight and really focus on perfect form and stretching deep into the reps.
- this is a great opportunity to try some new excercises that you have been unable to get into your split
- work on flexibility. it is too easy to lay around for a week, get all tight, and then hit the gym and get hurt. f*cking great - ANOTHER week off
- eat like a pro. do not eat crap because you are a depressed piece of crap sitting around the house. eat the good stuff and enough of it.
- i like an i.v. of muscle milk while others here prefer GROW!.
- yes of course lots of water

Hope this helps,
Bastard F*ck Guy


Seriously consider cold-water dousing (tempering). This means filling up a bucket with cold (preferably freezing) water, going outside, and dunking. It is to a cold shower as a baseball bat is to a boxing glove. You start feeling better immediately.


Best advice I've heard on this. . .

If it's above the neck, you're okay to train, but you'll probably want to take it a little easier, and lower the intensity.

If it's below the neck, then you shouldn't be training.

In other words, if you have a headache, or a stuffy nose, or even mild a sore throat, you're probably okay to train (watch out with the sore throat, though, as excessive heavy breathing from a workout could aggravate it). If you're feeling nauseous, you're congested in the chest/lungs, or you feel physically weak or feel any discomfort elsewhere in your body, then you should NOT be training.

Of course, the above should only be used as a guide, and your specific circumstances should be taken into account. Training with a migraine headache, for example, wouldn't be a bright idea.

Spend some time recouperating and resting, and you'll be better off in the long run.


good point by RIT.

do not infect others. honestly, nothing makes me more angry than some sickos running around in a public place sneezing and coughing without having the decency to cover up.

very good point indeed.


I have to agree with Nate Dogg on this one.

There have been any number of time that I felt under the weather, colds, mild flu's, etc.. Just flat out didnt feel like working out. I went anyhow and after getting going it was all good, and I leave feeling 200% better the majority of the time.

It all depends on HOW sick you really are I guess. More than once I have tried this to simply find myself up chucking (yummy), thats when I am sure I need to give it a break,lol.

Good luck, get well.


I posted a post similar to this a week or so ago when I was stricken by a mind blowing case of bronchitis... Thank goodness the meds came along and helped me out.

As a basic rule of thumb, DO NOT train while sick (I learned the hard way) as you are placing greater demands than normal on your suppressed and ravaged immune system.

How can you expect to grow or even maintain strength levels when your body and mood feels like shit ? I tried to go in one day when I was sick and the coughing fits sure kept enough people away from me (good point RIT Jared) and really took away from the euphoria I normally get from putting up the weights...

Take the time off and get better first, although I subscribe to the notion that if it's a cold/headache/sorethroat you COULD train through at the expense of your fellow gym member who could catch your germs. Use your discretion.


I'd just like to chime in here to point out that this is normally how one makes things stronger. You push it farther than it wants to go, and it has to be better to get there.

It is certainly a matter of some opinion and conjecture whether this has any effect on the immune system, but in my experience, maintaining my normal behavior even when sick has resulted in me being sick less often. And at the very least, I don't end up with a mountain of work to do when I get better.