This is something I get asked about a lot.
I think we all kind of know the answer, but we need someone to remind us that no, jumping full speed 100% back into your routine isn’t the answer!
Whether you’ve been on vacation, too busy to workout or sick as a dog — going balls to the wall on your first workout back is likely only going to make you so sore that you need another 3 days off to recover…..
It can be frustrating because you feel like you’ve lost progress or have been set back, but I find by the third or fourth workout back people are basically back to normal! One sure way to make that not happen is to do too much too soon and get yourself sick again or injured.
Do you regular workout, but with less weight.
Cut your weights in half, or at least significantly down, your first workout back. If you’re following a workout program, which you should be, stick to the plan but just don’t try to use the weights you used right before you got sick.
Trust me on certain exercises you’ll be like, “This feels too easy! What am I doing?” but if you’ve been lying on a couch for 5 days 50% of what you had been doing will be a great way to prime your muscles for getting back to work.
Warm Up, Cool Down, Stretch.
For regular life, I’m all about super efficient warm ups (and mostly ditching cool downs) so that you don’t waste valuable time that could be spent doing work. But when you’ve been sick this is a good time to get your body warm (perhaps a 5 minute treadmill walk) before strength training and stretching out/mobilizing anything that feels funky after hardly moving for a few days.
This will also just plain FEEL GOOD and you probably need that right now 🙂
Get enough protein, carbs and water.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick protein is the last thing I’m craving.
You overall food intake was probably down and your protein intake likely was also.
Make sure to get enough protein and carbs to help your muscles recover from working out again.
Hopefully you’ve been intaking all the fluids while you were sick and you’ll want to keep them coming before, during and after your workout.
My top strategy for getting enough protein those first few days back: include a protein source at every meal and have one moderate-high protein snack. For example, eggs or smoked salmon at breakfast — chicken or shrimp at lunch — greek yogurt or a protein bar as a snack — turkey or tofu at dinner.
Moral of the story, ease your way back in. Be smart. Give your body what it needs.
^^^You can never go wrong with that!