Simple rule of thumb: When your sickness is in your head, like a runny nose, sneezing, headache, sore throat etc. it is ok to work out at a limited level. But if you have more extreme symptoms like coughing, chest congestion, vomiting, stomach pains, and fever, then the American College of Sports Medicine suggest you let your illness run its course before resuming physical activity.
Listen to your body. When I’m tired and sick, I get to bed early. Your body is in recovery mode. It is using the same properties to heal your illness as it would to recover from a tough workout. So as discussed above, tone it down and rest up! Heavy weight lifting can absolutely make you more sick by weakening your immune system because it is on overload. So when I am sick, I drink a ton of lemon water, eat very clean, (check out these suggestions for clean eating) and try for more sleep. I also suggest eating frequently throughout the day, and bumping up your Vitamin C and Zinc.
Once you begin to feel better, get back in to a routine slowly, and with much less intensity. Start with aerobic workouts at a comfortable level. Don’t hit the weights or high intensity level training until you are sure that the cold has turned a corner for the better. Colds can have lingering symptoms for days after you are actually better so at this point a good sweat can kick those in the butt. Be sure not to hit it too hard too fast!
If its hard to get motivated after being sick, I call my workout partner to get me moving and once I start I get into my zone. Even if I start off slow and take a little longer to finish my workout, I’m proud and feel accomplished which is priceless.
Take sickness seriously, but don’t let it derail you from your overall fitness goals.
Be Fit, Be Free