Weight and Resistance Training - How do you get back into lifting after illness?

07-17-2008, 02:10 PM
Until about five weeks ago, I was a regular in the gym. I tried going back last week when I felt a little better, but was hardly able to do anything. This week, with appointments and still feeling ill (started as laryngitis, progressed to some icky thing that went into pneumonia and now is like a perpetual head cold that I can't seem to shake), I just didn't have it in me to get back to the gym. Although I'm still not 100%, I really want to get back to working out--I feel flabby, and I can see that I've lost muscle. But I don't know how to start without burning out. Do I go back to my three-day splits, lifting as much as I can manage, or try a couple of full body workouts during the week? Frankly, at this point, just the thought of even getting to the gym makes me tired, but I'm hoping that by Monday I'll feel better, and I'm in a funk over the flabby feeling. I did go kayaking on Monday because I felt halfway decent, but since then I've backslid. Walked yesterday for 1/2 hour in the morning and managed to mow the lawn, but was pretty exhausted after that. Today I managed a 20 minute walk.

Thoughts on getting back to the gym? Thanks!

07-17-2008, 02:22 PM
It sounds like the mind is willing but the body isn't able. It's not a case of procrastination, it's a case that you still need more recovery time. Don't push it. Keep doing what you can until the body is ready.

If you feel up to some activity, do something you enjoy and don't overtax yourself. You don't have to totally fatigue yourself. As your body is ready for more and more, then you can get back into something more structured and intense.

Perhaps, next time you go the gym, pick 3-5 of your favorite exercises in a set/rep scheme that appears comfortable. Don't go to failure. Leave a rep or two in the tank. If you feel wasted halfway through, pack it in. The last thing you want to do is take one step forward and two steps back.

Take care of yourself.

07-17-2008, 07:54 PM
Take it easy, Sheila. I think those of us who are use to working out probably push ourselves too much when we really need to rest and recuperate. It really sounds like your body needs a little more time. If walking 20 minutes makes you want to curl up for the rest of the day, walk for 15.

Or walk for 10 minutes, then spend 10 minutes doing body weight exercises: squats, lunges, pushups and crunches. How do you feel after that? If you aren't exhausted for the rest of the day, try a short (30 minute) full body workout with much lower weights that you used to use. Yes, swallow your pride and allow your body to get used to it again. I think you'll be surprised how quickly your conditioning comes back once you are healthy :)


07-22-2008, 01:13 AM
I agree with the above two comments. Overtraining by itself can ware down your immune system. Be careful and don't do too much; you may prolong your recovery from the illness.

I'd also suggest squats with an upper back exercise & chest exercise for now -- nothing heavy and maybe just 1 set (see how you're feeling and work up to 2). As for cardio, keep it short & easy too!

07-22-2008, 02:59 PM
Thank you all. I started back yesterday and took it easy. Felt pretty good for the rest of the day.

07-22-2008, 03:00 PM
I had an emergency appendicities operation on July 10th. I feel fine but have been cautioned against strenuous activities- particularly crunches, lifting weights etc for a while.

While I know that it is better for me to wait for a while, I feel really bad about not exercising. Have started walking for about 20 mts at a time at a slow pace but hopefully in next few weeks will be able to get back to my regular exercise schedule. So I know where you are coming from. Best to rest and pace oneself to avoid problems later.