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Rough Week Post-Contest

by Gary F. Zeolla

       I had an even rougher time than normal the week after my recent contest, IPA PA States on Saturday, March 4, 2017. I always have a rough time due to having to wash everything I had with me at the hotel and at the contest due to my allergies/ multiple chemical sensitivities.  But this time things seemed to bother me more than usual, so I had to double wash many of the loads. Some of the stuff needed to hang dry, but initially it wasn’t nice enough to do so outside, so I had to do smaller loads and hang a little at a time inside. But then later in the week, it got nice enough that I was able to hang the rest outside. Altogether, I think I did 15 loads of wash in three days (Tuesday to Thursday).

      Then Friday was my monthly trip to Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-op. I live northeast of the city and the Co-op, and it is usually a half an hour drive. But there was heavy snowfall the night before. By “heavy” I mean the wet snow that makes for good snowball and snowman making, but it also sticks to power lines, bringing them down. And many lines were down in the Pittsburgh area, including on the main road that I have to travel on to the Co-op, so it was closed.

      But I didn’t know about it until I had driven across a bridge to get to that road, so I had to drive back up towards my home to the next bridge. Cross that, then go back down to the bridge after the one I crossed in the first place, then back up to the Co-op on a very busy road with traffic light every 100 feet. There might have been an easier way, but this was the only way I knew to get there. I tried my GPS, but it just wanted to take me back to the closed road.

      But on the way home, I went NE and trusted the GPS to get me home. It did, but only after giving me a tour of the countryside on a bunch of back roads. As a result, my normal half an hour round trip was turned into almost 2-1/2 hours. By the time I got home and put everything away, I was absolutely exhausted.

      The next morning (Saturday), I was feeling sickish. I have gotten sick the week after a contest at least couple of times before due to the rigors of the contest, including the drive back and forth, and all of the work I have to do afterwards. I was afraid the same would happen this time and I would need to delay the start of my new training plan. And sure enough, by Sunday morning (3/12/17) when I was planning on starting to train again, I was feeling worse, with a full-blown head cold, plus some coughing.

      But not wanting to delay the start of my new routine, I did some Googling to see if it was okay to work out while sick. The consensus seemed to be that if it was only a cold, it would be okay, but not if you have the flu. IOW, if you have a fever, chills, general body ache, chest congestion, or excessive fatigue, then don’t work out. But with a simple head cold with maybe coughing, it would be okay.

      A study even found there was not difference in the severity of symptoms or the recovery time between those who exercised and those who did not. See: The effect of exercise training on the severity and duration of a viral upper respiratory illness. See also this video and article on Fox News’ website: Should you work out with a cold?

      Moreover, I had already planned on doing backoff workouts the first three weeks of my new routine, so my initial workouts would not be that vigorous, so I went ahead and worked out. The initial workouts went okay, except I was battling lots of nasal mucus throughout the workouts, and they took longer than expected due to having to rest more than usual between sets.

      Afterwards, I didn’t feel any worse, so I am glad I worked out. If I had waited, it would have been too long since I had, and I would have gotten out of shape. That might have caused it to take too long to get back into hard training to prepare for my next contest.

      Speaking of which, there are tentative plans for an IPA contest to be held on August 26, 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA, but I am waiting until the entry form is posted to know for sure it is happening. But I hope it does, as it will be just half an hour drive from my home. That will save me the rigors of travel and cut down on the washing I have to do afterwards. But if it doesn’t, there are usually at least a couple of other contests in August or September in PA or Ohio I could enter. But I can wait to decide. In the meantime, it felt good to start training again, even with still fighting a cold.




      The above was written Tuesday morning, in the midst of doing several loads of wash. Then that afternoon, I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing food for later. That is my normal Tuesday, and it always leaves me rather tired due to my fibromyalgia. But this time, I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got done in the kitchen. As a result, I laid around and kept dozing off the rest of the day.

      In retrospect, I probably worked too hard in my squat workout, and that set me up to get overly tired this day. If I had just dropped the weights about ten pounds on my work sets, that would have lowered the intensity sufficiently.

      But as it was, by Wednesday morning I had a slight fever (99.3 degrees), and I also was feeling very fatigued, so I was not sure how to proceed. After much thought and prayer, I decided to skip my morning cardio, but I still had hopes I could lift in the late afternoon as usual. But by then, my fever was up to 99.4, so I thought it best to take the day off. But I was hoping by Thursday I would feel okay, so I could lift Thursday and Friday so as not to miss a workout.

      Come Thursday morning, my fever was down to normal, which for me is below the average of 98.6 degrees. And I was feeling much better, though still not fully recovered. I was still coughing some and had a bit of excessive nasal mucus, and I still felt more fatigued than usual. Therefore, I again thought it best to skip my morning cardio, but this time I was sure I would be okay to lift in the afternoon with only doing a backoff workout. And I was able to do so, and the workout went as planned, except for again taking longer than excepted.

      Then Friday morning, I was feeling mostly recovered and was able to do both my morning cardio and my afternoon lifting workouts as planned. Just like squats on Monday, deadlifts were harder and the workout took longer than I would have liked, but it went well, and I felt much better during and after it than I had on Monday.

      This morning (Saturday, 3/18/17), I am feeling mostly recovered, with just some nasal congestion and a bit of a cough. I am resting today as normal, so hopefully by my planned workouts on Sunday I will be fully recovered.

      Bottom line, despite the rough week post-contest and getting sick as a result, I was able to get in all of my first week workouts except for one cardio workout, and those workouts went as planned, except for being a bit harder and longer than expected. I thank the LORD for all of that and for bringing me through this tough time period. Here’s praying I continue to recover and can get back into training without the distractions next week.

    For my first workouts post-contest, see 2017 Trinity 1 Powerlifting Training Plan: Rotations I & II of VIII.

Rough Week Post Contest. Copyright 2017 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above article was posted on this site March 14, 2017.
The Update was posted March 18, 2017.

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