Archive for December 2010

Sick? – “To train, or not to train?”   Leave a comment

I work in the public school system, and despite my level of exposure to the latest and best germs kids bring to school, I hardly ever get sick. But, I have to admit that once in a while I get one that I just can’t beat down within 48 hours, and have to refigure my exercise schedule. Stew Smith (US Navy SEAL) recently published some good advice for coping with sickness within your training program:

Working Out With a Cold
by Stew Smith (US Navy SEAL)

This week a National Guard soldier who is preparing for his PFT asked a common question that many people get wrong. “Since I have a cold (head stuffed, sore throat, sinus pain) is it OK to PT or run?”

First of all, anytime you go into a public facility consider it germ infested during the flu season — especially a gym. Catching colds from your kids who attend school, from living in barracks, or from cafeterias is all too common during the flu season. By simply washing your hands and using hand cleaner throughout your day, you can significantly decrease your chances of even catching a cold or flu.

But back to the question. The rule is: If your chest is congested, you have a fever, chills, dehydrated, or any other cold ailment from the neck down, DO NOT WORKOUT. Chest congestion and any type of exercise do not mix well. Aerobic or anaerobic activity can overwork your heart and can cause your chest cold to develop into a bronchitis or pneumonia. Lifting weights can naturally increase blood pressure. Combined with over working your heart, you can really cause damage if not careful when exercising while ill. Plus — you don’t want to bring your germs to the gym either.

However, if you have a head cold with minor sinus pain, sniffles, sneezing, etc., it is fine to work out as long as you have a normal energy level and are not feeling sluggish with no fever. Be careful not to overdo your activity with high-intensity workouts. You need to drop your intensity level a bit because your body is using energy to fight whatever is that is making you feel ill. Keep hydrated by drinking 3-4 quarts of water a day and eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, electrolytes, and lean meats. This will enable your body to fight off the bug causing your symptoms.

There is no evidence that you can “run off” or sweat out a cold. Studies have proven that you cannot decrease the duration of the cold or flu symptoms by exercising. In fact, if you workout too hard, you can actually get sicker. So eat, rest, add a light workout if you feel up to it.

— Great article by Stew Smith, and by the way, most people DO NOT wash their hands in a way that reduces actual germ population on the hands. Make sure you do it the right way by following this advice from Lance Corporal Scott Tomaszicki (USMC, MCAS – Cherry Point):

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the right way to wash your hands is to wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub well, making sure to clean the backs of your hands and underneath the fingernails as well. Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Rinse, and dry your hands using a clean towel or by air drying. Thorough handwashing can go a long way toward staying healthy in flu season.

MGySgt Roarke’s 3-Part Plan   Leave a comment

Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul Roarke (USMC Ret), author of Corps Strength, and designer of the Enhanced Physical Readiness System, offers a three-part plan to anyone who wants to use his program to improve their physical fitness. In his own words:

1) Get your thinking right, meaning stop making excuses and take ownership of your health and fitness.

2) Stop eating like a spoiled child, you know better.

3) Get off your lazy ass. Make time to PT, the computer and the idiot box aren’t going anywhere, promise.

Obstacle Course Prep Workout   Leave a comment

Running obstacle courses is my favorite category of trail racing. I am looking forward to running the Twin Cities Mud Run next year, and the Bootcamp Challenge again at Marine Corps Recruit Depot – San Diego! Finding a way to prepare for obstacle course racing requires a little creativity. Captain Woodcock (USMC) is a friend of mine and suggested I ruck around the neighborhood carrying a sledgehammer! Well, I didn’t think that would get me a positive encounter with the local law enforcement. However, Stew Smith (US Navy SEAL) developed a good preparatory workout with the Naval Academy Spec Ops Team to simulate an obstacle course for those without access to one. He figured there was a 20-30 yard run in between obstacles. Most obstacles had either a pulling exercise or a pushing exercise or a combo of both. He added an 8 count bodybuilder to the exercise and a pullup and set the workout to a pyramid cycle. I do a version of this workout on Monday and Thursday mornings at Harriet Island Regional Park, after skiing 3-5 miles, using the parking lot and the nearby playground equipment to combine the Marine Corps Special Operations Command “Short Card” (a great balanced workout) with supplementary pull-ups, dips, and cable leg-ups. Read the Stew Smith workout HERE.