Sometimes it’s hard to get a dedicated weight lifter to forego his workout, even if he isn’t feeling well or has a cold. His focus is on building his body and his strength and he doesn’t want his progress to be slowed by illness. But should you really be lifting with a cold? Is weight training with a cold okay or will it do more harm than good?

Is It a Cold or the Flu?

It’s easy to mistake a cold for influenza. Both are caused by viruses, but colds are caused by a huge variety of viruses known as rhinoviruses and coronaviruses while influenza comes from viruses know as Influenza A or Influenza B. The flu is a much more serious illness than the common cold. This condition not only shows cold-like symptoms but also presents symptoms such as fever and body aches. If you have the flu it is advised that you curtail all training activities until you start feeling better. Weight training is a catabolic activity and so is your body’s battle with influenza and that puts extra strain on the immune system. Your body needs all its energy to fight off the virus causing your problems.

Focus your energy on eating well and consuming plenty of liquids while you have the flu. When you have completely recovered, you may return to your workouts, BUT START SLOWLY. Lighten up the weight training when you with a cold for a week and don’t push too hard. The next week you may gradually increase your workout, but don’t get back to full sessions until the third week after your recovery.

Lifting with a Cold

If you have a common cold with a runny nose and some coughing, or if your symptoms aren’t severe, you can continue lifting with a cold if you lighten up. Reduce the amount of poundage you lift by one fourth and keep your sessions short. If your symptoms get worse, you start suffering from a sore throat or respiratory complications, stop your workouts until you are symptom free. Again, reintroduce your body gradually to workout sessions so you don’t overdo it.

Lifting weights with a cold or weight training with a cold may be done as long as you take it easy and don’t reach muscle fatigue. Your body will heal faster if you shorten your sessions and lighten the amount you lift and you’ll be back to 100% fit sooner rather than later.


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