Coming Back After a Bad Case of Pneumonia

I’ve had injuries more or less everywhere, but nothing could prepare me for this one.

About 5 weeks ago at the end of a 6 week workout routine that was quite good I suddenly got a fever. It did not go away for a week so I went to the doc who then found that I had a bad case of pneumonia on both sides of the lungs. He gave me some penicillin and sent me on my way home. About 4 days later I got this terrible rash all over my body and the fever did not go away. New visit to the doc and he sent me straight to the hospital. Apparently I had Mycoplasma pneumoniae which was resistant to the kind of penicillin that I had gotten AND it turned out that I was allergic to the penicillin.

My shape was horrible and I spent 5 days in the hospital. When released from the hospital I would get winded by just going to the bathroom. I’ve been pushing myself a little every day and I slowly get better (It’s been 2.5 weeks since I was released from the hospital).

I had my first trip the gym 1.5 weeks ago and I started by going debunk with 70% of max load. It was horrible. I’ve seen people quit the gym over “similar” incidents and I never got that, but I do now. 2nd time was horrible, 3rd horrible, 4th horrible and the 5th time today it was only moderately bad. So its progress at least :).

During all of this I lost 22 pounds of weight even if I put a lot of effort into eating. I would sit there in the hospital and force myself to eat as much as I could as I knew how bad it would be if I did not. Even had my gf sneak in food that I would “snack on”.

So guys/girls I keep trying to go strong, but my motivation is really taking major hits here and I went from feeling like the biggest guy at the gym to feeling like the smallest guy.

Any advice, similar stories etc. would be very welcome. :slight_smile:


What you need is … success. After a very serious bout (surgery for me), what worked was to treat the first couple of weeks back at the gym as activation/form training. Make sure everything is working the way it should. See, being able to do a really hard workout has one component nobody talks about: trusting your body to do the right thing.

Seriously, major lifts are complex and a lot goes on. So much so that lifters can really only consciously control a small percentage of the lift. So about 95% of any lift is actually automatic while you think about whatever the “important” part of the lift is (e.g. maintaining neutral spine in a deadlift, or not having knees cave in a squat.) beginners, I think, need learning time to internalize the lift and progress comes from how much we can forget.

Being confined to bed means your core stabilization now officially sucks. Coughing can totally screw up your back stabilizers too (ripped a QL once due to the flu and that took a month before I could do anything.) Being inactive is a lot harder on your body than overtraining in many ways.

So your job is to go to the gym and be an outrageous success for a couple of weeks. Do honest work (so no pink DB curls in the squat rack). Work your core (planks, woodchoppers, pallof presses) until you are sure it is functional. If you can hit 50% of your pre-illness maxes reliably and correctly, then you’ve had a good workout. More is gravy.

Once you are used to handling loads and it starts to feel more normal, then see where it takes you. Do it right, you’ll be slinging the iron in a few weeks just like the good old days. Heck, you probably recovered from some issues that were nagging too, fwiw. You’d have never taken a few weeks off for that tweaky shoulder would you? But, in point of fact, just did. A reboot is a fine thing…


– jj