Why Your Workouts Are Making You Sick
In the middle of training diligently for any high-level fitness activity - you get more sick than ever. This can strike you as shocking because you ought to be in the best shape you've ever been. Although it might seem odd, it actually makes a lot of sense. An intense exercise regimen seems to suppress the immune system, making germs harder to fight off, and making athletes more prone to minor respiratory infections such as colds and flu.
Here's why: Intense training appears to increase the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body, which suppresses the immune system. Repeated colds can snowball, and disrupt performance, training and recovery. According to Michael Gleeson, a retired professor of exercise and health sciences says that recreational and elite athletes are susceptible, but can bypass illness by amending their eating.
Without them bodily proteins might be broken down to supply energy, which can tax the immune system. A good rule of thumb is to consume 60-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour of intense training. These can come in form of sports drinks, dried fruits or gels, along with water.
Wear and tear are part of exercise. It primes the body for healing. Consuming protein after working out provides the amino acid building blocks that your body needs for recovery. That includes muscle repair and maintenance of the immune system. Aim for 20-30 grams of protein post-workout for immune system recovery, and training adaptation.
To maintain good health, we need to get a plethora of micronutrients. Vitamin D in particular seems to have an important role in preventing illness during training. Supplements that can help you lower the risk of illness by increasing your vitamin D levels include vitamin D3 in winter (1000 IU/day), vitamin C ( citrus fruits or up to 1000 mg/day supplement.
Diets that include probiotic-rich food items such as kefir and kimchi, have been associated with improvements in acquired immunity, fewer respiratory infections and gastrointestinal problems.
Make sure to pick up fiber rich foods next time you go to the grocery store to keep your gut bacteria happy.