Karl Henry: When your body is not at 100pc, you have to listen to it
You need to know when to take it easy too, says our expert trainer, so your recovery time will be less
Last week I was watching some of the amazing Champions League football matches - Bayern Munich versus Athletico Madrid, what a game! But what really struck me was that one of the star players had been reported to be seriously ill in the days coming up to the match, yet he was still playing.
It was obvious from his performance on the night that he shouldn't have been there, and that got me thinking about the relationship between illness and training; what symptoms are there and how should you ease back into training. So for this week's column I want to to share with you how to recognise that your body isn't 100pc, what you should do and how to get back training safely.
How do you know if your body isn't 100pc?
When it comes to exercise there are several ways to know that you are possibly coming down with something. The most obvious one is if you are doing a session that is normally easy and it is much harder than normal, if you are struggling with it and have to stop.
This means that your body is under strain and is simply warning you to stop. Some will try to push beyond this but you should finish the session straight away and head home, eat a meal full of protein and colourful vegetables which contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and just let the body recover.
Pushing through the session is just going to make things even worse, you will become even more tired and your training will become unproductive.
An even simpler method is to measure your resting heart rate. Your resting heart hate will simply tell you how hard your heart is beating. It's best taken first thing in the morning when you are lying down in bed. Take your index and middle fingers and place them on the side of your neck just under your jaw, if you take this number on a regular basis you will notice any spikes. An increased heart rate is a sure sign that you are either sick, stressed or overtrained.
Your body will also tell you in other ways, such as a lack of interest in exercise or training, a decreased appetite or soreness after an easy session that normally wouldn't take anything out of you.
It's so important to look at the quality of your session as it can give you so much feedback about your body and your health.
What should you do if you are sick?
If you have the flu or a cold then training hard is not going to do you any good - all you will do is extend the recovery time.
You are better off resting and eating well, increasing the protein in your diet to aid the recovery and ensuring that you are eating a diet full of colour too, so lots of fruit and vegetables,eating regularly throughout the day.
Ideally bring your protein intake up to around 2g per kg body weight to help you recover as fast as possible. Protein is something that we tend not to eat enough of, especially when sick or recovering from sickness. It's the most important nutrient you can eat to help to get you fit and firm again, so leave it out at your peril.
How should you go back training?
Easy easy and easy! Don't try to go back training and instantly expect to be at the same fitness level you were at. This will ensure that you don't relapse and you get your body back to where it was as quickly as possible. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, you need to build up the foundations and then increase your fitness levels gradually for the safest and best results.
The tips in this column will get you back training as quickly as possible, so watch that heart rate, eat well and you will bounce back.