Exercising While Sick

By Kira O’Donnell

Happy New Year friends! I had a different blog topic planned for this week but after a rough start to the New Year I was inspired to share this with you instead. I’m hoping that after reading this you will have a better idea of how to let your body tell you what it needs.

One of the key phrases that our Bikini Boot Camp sisters constantly hear from out coaches is…“Listen to your body first and me second.”

In the gym setting this refers to taking rests when you need to during the workout allowing yourself to create an intensity that is perfect for you. I love this concept because it creates a competition free environment. BUt this saying applies to us even when we are not in the middle of an awesome 30 minute workout…

My experience of body vs mind:

1) Traveling back 2 Days after Christmas – Started feeling sick

My body says – You have been traveling all morning maybe you should relax and start fresh in the morning.

My brain says – You already missed a couple workouts this week and can’t miss another.

Winner – My brain

 2) A few days later – Slowly starting to get more sick

My body – You are not at full strength so you really should rest and let yourself recover.

My brain – Just push through it you will be fine. You must to stay on track.

Winner – My brain…although the workouts didn’t leave me feeling energized.

 3) NYE – Wake up with a fever

My body – Are you kidding me? You clearly need to go back to bed.

My brain – Well, maybe once my fever goes down I can try to do something.

Winner – My body…but my brain promised I would do it tomorrow.

 4) Rest of that week/end – I am not feeling better, not even a little

My body – Slooooow down, rest, hydrate

My brain – Just gotta keep moving and ride it out, must stay on track

Winner – My brain… but my workouts are losing their intensity.

 5) Following Monday – Can barely get out of bed…headache, nauseas, achy, extra stuffed up nose

My body – Ok I have been trying to tell you but you haven’t been listening…STAY IN BED!

My brain – a. Ok I’ll sleep an extra hour and then try

b. Hmm still no good ok I’ll take a hot shower then try

Winner – My body….ended up having a bad sinus infection and maybe the flu too??? Finally called my doctor and got antibiotics…

6) Rest of the week – Quickly feeling better!

My body – Just because you are feeling better doesn’t mean you are better. Rest and let the meds do their job until you are 100%

My brain – Woohooo I can breathe and I’m not achy…Let’s do this, let’s get back on track!!!!

Winner – Surprisingly, my brain!

To some of you it may not seem like a big deal but to anyone who knows me this is extremely challenging!


You see, I tend to talk myself into doing things even when my body is clearly saying no. I am very competitive with myself and mentally can be tough on myself. I need to learn how to listen to my body better. This is something I have been practicing a lot more since beginning my fat loss lifestyle.

Do you ever find yourself rationalizing why you shouldn’t go to the gym and say you aren’t going but then find yourself sprinting out the door at the last minute? How do you know if your body really needs something or if your brain is trying to play games with you? You have to play detective.

Here are some useful examples of detective workout with eating:

  • – Increased hunger = increase fiber, protein, and water intake
  • – Increased Cravings = increase fiber, protein, exercise, and sleep
  • – Decreased energy = increase fiber and protein

For me, I should have noticed that my workouts were becoming less intense and leaving me feeling rundown, tired, and unable to sleep at night, not full of energy like they normally do. Mentally I kept telling myself that I couldn’t afford to miss workouts, to tough it out, but really I was causing more harm than good. I can only learn from this.

Practice makes progress! “When in doubt, go workout” is another great BBC motto that I do believe in but we need to be wise also.

Learn your body, its triggers, its responses, its limits.

When you do that you can feel good about the decisions you make and not beat yourself up for having to miss a workout. Try having an accountability partner that you report to when you are making a decision. If you missed your workout today I assure you it is ok because tomorrow is a brand new day and the opportunity to start fresh is always there! 🙂