One of the biggest interrupters I've found, both in my own training and the training of my athletes, is getting sick. One minute your getting stronger, seeing gains in fitness, feeling good about your training and the next you are down and out, stuck on the couch for three days watching daytime soaps while wearing your snuggie (no really, tell me you don't have one of those, they DO look comfortable though!).
It is November, almost the end of November, and I have YET to get sick THIS YEAR.
So, here are a few helpful hints to help you also beat the biggest of bugs this time of year (who wants to be sick over the Holidays - yuck) and to have your best, most consistent season ever in 2012!!
- Wash your hands, not just for a second, but for a full 60-90 seconds. Yes, it's a long time and with SOAP. I like Dial, but a good hand soap and scrubbing will do. Do it well and do it often!
- Drink TONS of water. Make it your business to know how much you've drank per day. Use a bottle with lines so you know in ounces. Viruses have more trouble penetrating your mucus membranes if they are hydrated and slippery!
- When you start feeling something come on, take extra Vitamin C and I also take Ecaanaisia well. Vitamin C is water soluble so the worst that can happen is you just urinate it right out.
- If you start to have congestion, flush out your sinuses immediately with a Nedi-Pot. It took me YEARS to break down and do this, but I am not kidding you - it works! It took care of my sinus issues more than once this year. If you nip it in the bud, then it can't drain into your throat and chest causing more issues. It's strange, but just do it.
- Eat smart: five to nine fruits and vegetable servings daily. Make one high in vitamin C. Vitamin E in nuts and seeds also helps build immunity.
- Get enough sleep. Every time I would feel something coming on I would try to sleep at LEAST 9 hours for two nights in a row. That usually did the trick!
- Find ways to reduce stress – perhaps through physical activity, meditation or simply "time out" from stressors.
- Stay active IF the symptoms are above the neck, if they are below, then take some rest.
- Take the day off. That simple. ONE day off will sometimes be enough that you're back at it the next day or the day after rather than losing a week of workouts. You can ask my coach, it was probably two or three times this year I called him and said, "something is off with my body, I'm taking today off and I'll evaluate tomorrow." He agrees with this philosophy 110%.
- Eat more yogurt with natural probiotics! Keeping your gut healthy is an important part to maintaining immunity!!
Finally, in terms of nutrition, several nutrients may play a key role: beta carotene in deep-yellow fruits and veggies and dark-green leafy greens; vitamin B6 in whole grains, legumes, chicken and pork; vitamin C in citrus fruit, berries, melon, tomatoes and broccoli; vitamin E in wheat germ and nuts; protein in dairy foods, meat, poultry, fish and legumes; selenium in meat and seafood; zinc in beef and seafood.
Try to have a balanced diet that includes lots of color and eat WHOLE foods whenever possible.
A few simple steps can save you hours of laying on the couch being grumpy, wishing you were outside swimming, biking or running!
Here's to happy / healthy training in 2012!