We have all been there, the resolution made, the workout schedule committed, calendar alert set, and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. The sickness that's been circulating your office, your apartment, and your loved ones' immune systems has got you down and out. Wintertime cold and flu can be the catalysts of the most debilitating symptoms, ones that force a day's training session into reconsideration. We asked two of our trainers their opinions about coming to training sessions when sick or on the verge of coming down with an illness, and how they deal with being sick themselves. Jenn Whittemore, a practitioner at Studio 26 who uses a combination of massage, hands-on IMT, yoga, and Pilates in her sessions said her "objective is always wellness." In regards to clients that are experiencing some stage of sickness, "[She has] the skills to meet the client wherever they are on that continuum through IMT, yoga/pranayama, etc." Jenn keeps a 24-hour cancellation policy because "no one really knows when they're going to be sick." However, as a practitioner the same quickness of sickness is equally possible. Jenn cancels all her clients as soon as she knows she's getting sick. She combats illness for herself and her clients using Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), "helping to boost [the] immune system to shorten the duration of [the sickness]."
Raymond Tinneny, a personal trainer and nutritionist at Studio 26 had a similar approach. Ray also upholds a 24-hour cancellation policy, except in the case of personal tragedy. "If you're sick, you usually know it all day, it's unacceptable to think 'I can beat a cold in a day' then wait until last minute and cancel." Ray uses that same ideology for himself, noting when he has a contagious illness, he takes time away from his clients. This comes from a desire to not pass along illness to his clients but also being sick for Ray "decreases [his] ability to concentrate during the session. If [he is] sick [he is] watching the clock rather then the exercises."
Sometimes clients who are ill show up regardless. During cold and flu season, Ray tells them to go home to rest. Ray says that "Exercising at a moderate pace is already a good hit on the immune system, add in an already weakened immune system from illness and it will prolong their illness. In addition, they risk getting [him] sick then [he misses] work." When dealing with illness, Ray's objectives for his clients shift. He tells them to "nix exercising, and shift the focus to eating clean, resting and increasing water intake. Rest is extremely underrated/underutilized for a healthy client so it is that much more crucial when there is an illness involved."
We know it's hard to admit it when you're feeling down, but listen to the experts. Training or working out just for the sake of saying you did it may very well prolong your road to recovery. It's a difficult admission, but when you're sick, lighten up on yourself.