Getting sick sucks, but getting hurt after you’ve been sick for a week sucks more.  Let me be your idiot and learn from my mistakes.


Back when I thought I was invincible, I decided to go crazy squatting the week after I had the flu.  Not my brightest idea.  


It resulted in a herniated disc and a year and a half of suffering all because I didn’t know how to self-regulate.  Fantastic start to my 30’s! 


In the 3 years since I’ve had a lot of time to look back and really question how smart I think I really am.


After the initial shock that I indeed can be broken, I concluded that I need to:

  • Workout smarter,
  • Preserve my body rather than try to kill it every time,
  • Make a better comeback strategy if I’m going to be out of the gym for a week or more.


Prior to the “post-flu-incident” I would go balls out at the gym whenever I would come back from a week off.  My rational, I just had a week of rest and I have to make up the lost time.  I’m losing my hard earned gainz brah.


As you can see, the results were less than desired.


Benefit from my situation and keep yourself out of the ER.  This applies to coming back from a cold/sickness and coming back from a vacation. 




I’m not talking about when he came back to play for the Wizards.  I’m talking about the 3-time champ return.  That’s the comeback we want.




Coming back after a week off is like trying to figure out if someone liked you in high school.  There are times when everything is great only to be followed by feeling like you suck at life.


The best thing to do, whether coming back from vacation or illness, is to keep the intensity at a 5 rather than pushing it to 11.  Too much too soon can cause injuries (like me) or give you a serious case of DOMS.  Let’s try to mitigate some of this downside.


Like the governor in your car keeping you from going over a certain speed, you need to regulate how hard you go.  The ego gets bruised but that is about where the injuries end.




Losing hard earned gainz sucks.  Trying to keep them is what kept me going harder than I should.  I should have played the long game.


When coming back after a week off, use the weight prior to the time off.  Instead of going full boat, cut the sets in half.  So if you were benching 225lbs for 5 sets of 10, cut it down to 225lb for 2 sets of 10.  This way you can keep the muscle nerve connection but you’ll limit the muscle soreness and general fatigue.


If you were gone for longer than a week, back off the weight and the sets. Cut the sets in half and drop the weight by 20-30%.  Adjust as necessary but it’s a lot easier to add weight than to get buried by it on the first rep.


Keep this up for a week and for God sake don’t go for PRs.  Ease your way back over the next week or two, slowly ramping up the sets then weight. 




If you are coming back from any kind of sickness, go easy on the circuits and HIIT right off the bat.  Your body was just fighting off a cold, give it some time to recoup back to full strength. 


Along the same lines as lifting weights, ramp up the intensity over the course of 2 weeks.  Remember we are playing the long game, not the “I wanna see results now” game. 




Staying hydrated is crucial when coming back.  Chances are you didn’t drink all that much water while on vacation and had a few cocktails. So chances are you are at very least a little dehydrated.  The same goes for being sick.


When your dehydrated it is easier to pull a muscle.  Drink at least one 16.9-ounce bottle of water before the workout.  Sip water throughout the workout, then drink another full bottle after the gym. 


I typically drink about 60 ounces of water each day between these 3 times.




In a perfect world we’d never have any setback.  Unfortunately for us, sometimes we hit a bump in the road to our Aesthetic Physique. 


Coming back for any reason, if you experience any of these symptoms, hit the showers and call it a day:


Return of cold/sickness


Non-workout pains (not referring to DOMS)


Having an ambulance called for you because you passed out while lifting does not make for a good story later on. 


If you know someone who could benefit from this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.  2 out of 3 people are obese today, let’s start a change.