When you are preparing for a competition, whether it’s as a coach or an athlete, optimum health is, well, optimal.

Sometimes the stress of preparation, and let’s face it, overtraining, can weaken the body and compromise the immune system making you vulnerable to all sorts of bugs.  When you are in the middle of comp. prep. and this happens it is very stressful and a day or two off training can feel like a week and will make you feel weak both physically and mentally.  We feel we are letting our club, our coach, ourselves and the people we are training down and these thoughts are very dangerous to our mental preparation and physical conditioning.

So how do we stay naturally healthy and in peak condition or at least minimise the impact of a nasty bug in our system?

*Disclaimer – go to the doctor, I am not a doctor.  I always try and use food as medicine.

  • Water water water, drink it, loads of it. You can put fruit and herbs in it to get a bit of extra nutritional benefit if you want but just make sure you are up to your eyeballs in H2O as it will flush out any baddies.  Don’t forget baths and showers, the meditative benefits of both are very therapeutic.
  • Catch some zzzzzzzzs.  Often.  Adequate rest is a crucial part of any good training program in general but is even more vital when you are trying to heal.  Plus it really is a fantastic form of meditation too.
  • I also try and get a teaspoon or two of good quality, unprocessed organic Apple Cider Vinegar to help detox the body.  Put a teaspoon in a glass of water a couple of times a day, simple as that.
  • Swallow garlic. Get a small garlic clove and down it like a pill.  A tip given to me by a naturopath.  The therapeutic benefits of garlic are well documented.
  • Red meat.   This helps to create a strong immune system, I go straight for mince and make a Bolognese and stack it with garlic.  Salmon and Turkey will increase your white bloods cells too which is key to strong immunity.  There are vego and vegan options around too.
  • Vitamin C. An antioxidant that fights free radicals and acts like a scavenger in your body getting rid of any nasties.  I casually throw back a 2 litre bottle of OJ in about 5 hours to saturate my system when I’m not well.  Vit C is also in capsicum, leafy greens and
  • Invest in a juicer and go crazy.  It’s one of very best way to get all the micro nutrients your body needs straight into your blood stream.  There are a million great websites with a million more recipes, one of my staples is celery, cucumber, spinach, beetroot, carrot, green apples, lime and ginger.  Liquid Sunshine.
  • Speaking of sunshine. Get outside and soak in some vitamin D, great for the body, great for the mind.

Obviously as we all know there is no actual cure for the common cold or the influenza virus so prevention is your first line of attack.  Eat healthy, keep your stress levels under control and balance quality training with adequate rest for recovery.

If, however, you do still succumb to a bug, try the above, it can certainly lessen the severity of the symptoms.  I’m also an advocate of herb tea made with hot water, lemon, honey, ginger and a splash of whiskey…and a sneaky bit of chocolate too, because as I said, it’s not just about physical health, but mental and emotional health too and chocolate is good for the soul.