Training whilst sick


Woke up this morning with my throat a little sore. Being the idiot I am I chalked it up to dehydration as I hadn’t drank very much the previous day. I got up drank the biggest glass of water I could find, felt much better and went about my day as normal. Heading to training I felt fantastic, I pounded out my warm up rip 60 class no problem, but as it wound to an end and Bjj class was about to start, I felt kind of off, weak and a little shaky. Of course I drew the conclusion that it was due to lack of proper hydration again, or maybe I was low energy because I’d no food, so I grabbed a glucose sweet from my bag drank some more water and tried to shake it off.

During the warm up I was feeling normal, but as we got into techniques I felt worse, and this time I couldn’t shake it. So to not make the situation any worse for myself or my partner, I did what I thought was best, I stopped training apologised and left. I didn’t want to risk making myself worse, but more than that I didn’t want to make anyone else sick just because I wanted to train.

I see that a lot. People showing up to class hacking and coughing all over the place, running off to the bathroom every five minutes to blow their nose. Sure there’s evidence that exercise can help improve our immune response, but we’re talking light stuff, walking and a bit of yoga, maybe a light jog, not hammering out a 3 hour session of Bjj where you rub all up on other people the entire time. Not only are they putting their bodies under a stress that may make them worse or get them injured, their risking their training partners health and the health of anyone nearby. I’ve seen whole gyms empty because of these folks.

Even if you’re feeling better, you should still take your time heading back. Cold are contagious for longer than we think. 2 to 3 days before the illness shows symptoms and 4 to 5 days into the illness, people tend to not be contagious after about a week, 7 days that’s it [1]. I’ve heard of people who get impatient, who head back to training too early after a sickness and make themselves or others sick all over again. I’ve been that person, selfishly working through my sickness not worrying about how others might be affected, then crippling myself with another bout of the “sniffles” for the trouble whilst taking 2 or 3 others with me. I could kick my past self. Take the time off, it’s not worth it.

Fluid and rest will do a world of good in these moments, you’ll get better faster, and you won’t infect anyone else, ensuring you have a training partner for the next class you get to go to. As a plus no-one will be mad at you for killing off half the attendees, because you’re too determined to train whilst contagious as all heck.

This doesn’t just apply to the sniffles and colds, anything that may be able to pass to others is a barrier to the mats, and until you can get rid of the barrier, you’re off. Skin conditions, fungal infections, drippy nose, tickly throat, bad hygiene, if you’ve said yes to 1 or more of these conditions please stay home.

Things I do whilst off the mats:

  • Watch instructional videos, look up techniques that might suit me.
  • Update or go over my Bjj journal.
  • Trim my nails.
  • Stretch / Yoga.
  • Reading. (Not so much about Bjj, but I enjoy it).



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