Immunity and Training
We are all made up of different systems. And these systems have to learn to work together. We’ve been learning about our immune system and how we can support it through our training.
This feels particularly important during a period of social distancing and isolation. Some of us will be using training as an outlet - to keep us motivated and active. We might be training more frequently. We’re likely limited with equipment and so overloading on certain movements. Maybe we’re pushing ourselves harder. We’re also experiencing changing moods, higher anxiety levels, and suffering from a lack of intimacy and contact with loved ones. It’s more important than ever that we tune into our bodies and take care of ourselves.
Our learning has been fuelled by Eleiko Education - a three-week online course focused on Optimising Immunity for Better Training Outcomes. We wanted to share our learnings from week one.
Your defense system protects you against the effects of “stressors” that challenge your resilience. Training is a stressor and as a result, affects your immune system. When programmed right, training can positively impact your immune response. However, if not managed appropriately can lead to higher levels of stress on your body, potentially resulting in you becoming unwell or getting injured.
Life and training load have to be partnered together to manage your body’s stress levels effectively. It’s important to find ways to be aware of our stressors and assess them quickly. That’s where Eleiko’s Readiness and Wellbeing (RAW) score comes in.
It involves scoring yourself, daily, on a scale of 1-3 (1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good) across four pillars - Sleep, Physical, Mood, and Nutrition. Ideally, you assess your scores either first thing when you wake up or before you train. Your total RAW score is an indication of your stress level and potentially your immune health. This score then corresponds to a suggested effort level for your training. This effort is related to your RPE - Rate of Perceived Exertion.
We’ve been tracking our RAW scores for the last week and have found three main benefits:
- It’s encouraged us to alter our programming. Opting for bodyweight training on the days where our physical score was low or we had suffered from poor sleep.
- It’s been a nice reminder that you can easily set new routines and stick to them - particularly if you are getting value from that change in behaviour.
- Tracking scores alongside someone else, whether you’re together or remote, encourages conversation about the pillars and opens up an avenue to discuss how you could support each other better.
If you’re interested in tracking your RAW score to help optimise your training around immune health, download the pdf here.