Today I did something that I don’t recommend to anyone. In fact I condemn it because it’s an asshole move, but regardless…

Since Monday evening I’ve been ill. Not vomitting, but sneezing constantly with a runny nose, some light headedness, a bit of a sore throat and general fatigue. Despite this, I decided to train. Normally if someone’s sick I’ll recommend taking the day off, but I trained for two particular reasons:

1 – I feel that a single day off will be detrimental to progress
2 – It was “above the neck”

The way training is going at the moment, a single day is making all the difference. A gain is a gain and a day training is a day gaining. I’m addicted to progress, always have been, and as such end up doing douchey things like training when I’m exhausted.

“Above the neck”  is an old recommendation that I use to train when I shouldn’t be. If you have a “head cold”, i.e. you’re not coughing up a tonne of phlegm and you can still breathe, you’re still transferring oxygen effectively and can still utilize energy in the same fashion, training may not be too bad for you. The problem with that is your body is still using some of your energy to fight infection – you might not perform optimally in training. If anything hits your lungs, no matter who you are, just don’t train at all. Stop until you’re cleared by a physician.

This is relevant to the average guy in two ways…if your ailment is “above the neck” – take some time off. Training is not your main priority – use the free time to study, call the family, wash the dishes or better yet SLEEP! However, if you’re  a lunatic and can’t get enough…go for it. You won’t settle otherwise and will be forever pissed off you missed the day of training, which will be worse than feeling ill for an extra day or two.

If your absolute focus is churning out performance (national level competition, competitive trialling) speak to your coach and work around the fact that your performance may not be optimal, but train.

The last two paragraphs are only relevant if your illness isn’t in your lungs. Just stop, immediately. Do not listen to your dumb ass mid-life crisis suffering batshit crazy rowing coach – take some time off. Absolute best advice for anyone is to take some time off if you’re ill, of course…but if it’s not too detrimental to your performance and you CAN train through it and it’s a full blown lung infection…go get that podium spot. Make sure you sleep more, eat vitamin rich foods/supplements and you drink a lot of water.

Also, just as a side, when I say “trouble breathing” I don’t mean it being sore on your throat when you inhale – take some lozenges and don’t be a bitch about it.


If you DO train and you’re ill at all, wipe down EVERYTHING you touch with something anti-septic. If you’re in a team sport, you absolutely should not train at all – infecting other team members makes you infamous, believe me.


Today I discovered that this illness is not above my working threshold. I can lift the numbers I’m required to, with solid form, and not die.

It’s the mid-week light session (excluding mil’s/Deadlifts) 5×4 on all exercises.

Military presses were first up and as expected, went swimmingly. We were operating above planned numbers because of the way the weights are numbered. This isn’t a problem at all as we managed to pull off a performance that will not be too strenuous to recover from…any work you can do that does NOT exceed recovery abilities is good news (as long as it’s relevant and doesn’t throw off any other part of your game).

Light squats today – deep as expected, technically sound as usual and not exhaustive, but still work.

Deadlifts…I will never get enough of this exercise. I was beginning to wane by this point, but after some deep breathing and some psyching, pulled off the day’s lifts with solid form as planned. Only the final set was challenging for my grip strength – tennis ball work must be working.

As a finisher, we did the usual 8,7,6..2,1 pull up finisher. When we hit 5 repetitions, we jumped up to the bar and focused entirely on the eccentric (muscle lengthening) part of the movement.

Ross and I enjoyed this session and feel as though Wednesday is our favourite day of the week. Half-day university and Deadlifts – what more could a guy ask for?


Gem’s of the day

– Ill? Don’t train. Just don’t. It’s stupid, take your time to recover, I am now exhausted. I am remedying this with EXTRA SLEEP…in order to make up for the increased requirements.
– Deadlift – capital D.
– If you’re an exercise addict, go for it…but sleep and eat more to make up for the extra energy usage.
– Drink lots of water (3-4L per day), eat lots of nutritious food and sleep more…that just goes for everyone, but moreso if you’re ill.

I am not spell-checking this. I am going to bed.

(EDIT – Post spell-check the following day, I realise I didn’t say anything like I thought I had in the fifth paragraph. Woops. I spent the night cramping up, feeling nauseus and wanting the ground to swallow me up. So, you know, I should’ve just slept all damn day)

(EDIT 2 – It’s worth noting that if you have an ailment anywhere else in your system, your probably won’t be able to train purely based on pain/discomfort on movement. Take time and heal is the ultimate advice for the ill)

(EDIT 3 – The advice I’ve given here is based on my own medical knowledge, my own experiences in exericising in illness and my own personal understanding of the drive athletes/exercise enthusiasts carry)


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