You glance around to find the source of the wretched sound: There sits the red-nosed snot goblin –20 feet away, blasting away on curls between sets of sneezes.
A snot-filled secretion spray projects through the air, splattering the dumbbells for the sixth time; you suddenly become aware of the season: Flu Season.
You’re thinking, “there goes the rest of my workout, I don’t want what that guy has.” The gym already holds tons of bacteria from all everyone leaving their stank everywhere– how can you stay healthy during the avoid the soul-sucking winter flu-season?
As with any illness, it all starts with prevention. In the interest of crushing your training so you can lose fat and look great come spring, it’s best to be proactive against getting sick in the first place.
Proper nutrition, hydration, and basic hygiene are simple, but neglected behaviors that have a huge impact on your health and workouts. That first throat tickle or sniffle doesn’t have to be a sentence to cough syrup and Kleenex. Here are a few cold killers to keep you happy, healthy, and jacked this season healthy.
1.) Wash your poop-laced Hands
According to this study at Michigan State, only 5% of people properly wash their hands in public restrooms. That means as many as 95% of people are walking around with some grimy, fecal discharge on their hands. Great.
Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds and hit your fingernails, between fingers, wrists, and the forearms thoroughly. Seriously, this sounds easy…but are you doing it?
Proper hydration is vital for optimal cell function. When fighting an illness your body temperature is elevated, increasing the need for fluids. The more water you pump into your body the faster your immune system will fight invaders.
3.) Avoid Booze
As tempting as “Hot Toddy’s may be they will keep you sick. Alcohol will dehydrate you, ruin sleep quality, and depress your immune system. Sound like a recipe to stay sick? It is! Stick with water or green tea.
4.) Drink Green Tea
Green Tea is an antioxidant powerhouse. Studies show that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound in green tea increases antibodies in the blood to stop the replication of cold and flu viruses. But, there’s a catch. If you have an autoimmune disorder, green tea may actually exacerbate the issue, as covered by Precision Nutrition here. As always, there is no perfect food or drink for everyone. But, should you be clear of any autoimmune diseases opt for some high-quality green tea.
5.) Take Vitamin D
Notice how rarely you get sick in the summer and warm times of the year?
Cold and flu season takes place in winter; non-coincidently, most people become deficient of Vitamin D due to seasonal weather changes. Vitamin D supplementation provides a huge boost to the immune system. It’s hard to get too much vitamin D, as we consume copious amounts from the sun in warm months.
During cold and flu season supplement 2000-5000 IU’s of Vitamin D. Non-toxic levels have been reported at 60,000 IU’s per day for months on end, so don’t worry about getting too much. P.S. find out how Vitamin D improves your ability to build muscle, burn fat, and improve performance here.
Exercise is great for looking good naked, but it will also improve your immune function. Hit the weights 3-4x per week plus a few days of high-intensity cardio, walk your dog, play a sport, or go do some yard work. Just go do something.
Already sick? You can still exercise, just lower the intensity and keep your germs to yourself, bruh. Think stimulate, don’t annhilate when training with an illness.
7.) Strategic Supplementation
Being the Arch Duke here at Bach Performance I can pretty much do whatever I want when I want. Hell, I’m writing this in my pajamas listening to old school hip-hop.
The problem? When I’m sick or not firing at 100%, my productivity and thus, my income goes down. With that said, as soon I feel under the weather I move heaven and earth to get healthy as fast as possible. Besides quality sleep, food, and nutrition I’ve tried dozens of supplements. Honestly, most are bullshit, but I’ve found two products from Onnit to be game changers.
Personally, I take and recommend to all my clients a high-quality greens supplement like Onnit Earth Growth Nutrients. Since most of us never get 8-12 servings of fruits and veggies this fills the gaps, especially while traveling. Moreover, there are tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients to both boost immune function and improve gut health–an underrated component of staying healthy. Grab Onnit EGN here, you won’t regret it.
Beyond that, I’ll also consume shrooms. No, not the psychedelic kind (not anymore at least), but Shroom Tech sport. When I get the tickle in my throat I’ll pop a handful of these, which generally knocks the cold off its feet by morning. This stuff is currently in clinical trials so the science is still coming. But for me, this has done wonders as a last ditch insurance policy against getting sick.
8.) Sleep More
My Pooch Rocky Balboa
According to Michael Irwin, M.D., sleep researcher at UCLA , if your sleep decreases by greater than forty percent the effectiveness of your immune system declines by fifty percent. Fifty. I used to wear my “lack of sleep” like a badge of honor to show everyone how busy I was. Big mistake. Make sleep a priority both before and during and illness.
It sucks to wake up with a congestion headache or itchy throat.It sucks even worse to feel perpetually sick and underperforming in the gym. It’s time we change that.
Wash your damn hands. There’s probably poop on them. Seriously.
Drink more water. 1/2 an oz. per lb of bodyweight is good.
Avoid booze, sorry. Hard pass on Thirsty Thursdays.