When your sniffling and sneezing at the gym, it can almost seem like an impossible task to workout. For someone who’s training for an intense sporting event, a cold could also be the difference between winning and losing.
To help keep fit and remain motivated when you’re not feeling your best, MaxiNutrition has helped to put together this guide to show you that there are steps that you can take to help you avoid the worst of a cold or flu while you’re training.
Limit periods of suppression
Working out and going through arduous training sessions aren’t easy, as 5-7 days a week can truly take it out of you. When you train hard, the benefits can be immense but you also pay a price when it comes to your immune system. Temporarily suppressing the body’s natural defences against infection, there is a period after exercise known as ‘the open window theory’. However, immune suppression usually disappears after refuelling and resting, and the aim is that you’ll come back stronger after this. In the long-term though, your immune system will be enhanced and you’ll be protected against any seasonal bugs that will affect those more if they do not train on a regular basis.
How to support your nutrition
Basic nutritional principles need to be adhered to before any decision is made to try and help boost the immune system. A healthy and balanced diet should always consist of the following:
- 55-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% protein and 15-20% fat.
- 5 pieces of different coloured fruit and vegetables per day.
- Eating low glycaemic carbohydrate throughout the day.
- Eating protein rich foods, with plenty of carbohydrates following training.
- Drinking at least 2.5 litres of water per day.
Supplemented through antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, the immune system can be supported further in many ways. There are many foods out there deemed ‘super-foods’, which are foods that include naturally occurring multivitamins. These include blueberries, almonds, avocado, cranberries, flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin, sweet potato and oranges. All of these foods can help to support a strong immune system, while sport nutrition supplementation – such as taking a protein shake – is an excellent alternative to making sure you gain the right nutrients when your diet is falling short of the mark.
Supporting your immunity
Granola with low fat yoghurt with a handful of blueberries and cranberries.
Post breakfast snack
Peanut butter on crisp breads
Tuna & cottage cheese on a crispy salad with avocado
Post lunch snack
An orange and a handful of mixed nuts
Post training snack
Maximuscle Promax and a banana
Grilled salmon, steamed vegetables, sweet potato and mixed seeds
Post meal snack
A glass of skimmed milk or some fruit
Keeping well and training hard
When you’re trying to train hard, illness can become a real threat to your progress and your health. When an illness strikes, rest becomes the best thing to help counteract it. However, if you’re uncomfortable with missing out on a considerable amount of gym sessions, then opt for nutrition rather than rest. Remember, always make sure the basics are right – supplement when required and make sure your vitamin intake is high before a cold or flu starts to impact your training.