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Riddle Me This: Flu-Like Symptoms Day After Hard Workout

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Let me start by saying that this is not the first time this has happened to me. Several times, when I've had a really excruciatingly hard lifting workout, the next day I'll have a low-grade fever, chills, aches, etc. Every time it's happened, I wake up fine the next day (day 2 after my workout).

This isn't something that I've experienced after my normal workouts, and I do lift heavy regularly. It's just after the ones where I really really leave everything I have on the weight room floor. Is it possible that I'm working hard enough during those workouts that my central nervous system is just going OMGWTFBBQ?! and basically shutting me down for a day for extra recovery? Has anybody else experienced something similar?

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Yup. Immune system takes a dip after very heavy exercise. It's thought to be linked in with cortisol.

I do two things to keep this at bay. First, I have a protein shake immediately after training, to keep the available protein topped up (so that that, and not my poor immune system, gets drained).

Second is new this year, and that is a carby sport drink (Lucozade sport) during training. That is supposed to blunt cortisol response in older athletes, I'm 41, and it doesn't not work (so far).

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Oh yes, me too.

The worst for me is after I take a few weeks off, and then I come back to lifting. If I go even sort of hard, then I get severe flu-like symptoms for the better part of a week, and then it starts all over again. I have learned to take the first few workouts back very easy and work myself back into it.

Similarly, I simply don't go *super* hard on any workout anymore (I'm 42). I purposely leave something in the tank. I find that this is the only way for me to get gains anymore. If I go really, really hard, then I can't do another hard workout for at least a week.

Along these lines, while there's always a give-and-take between number of reps and intensity of reps, I push that ratio even further now. High reps mean really low weight, and big weight means really low reps.

I'll admit, I haven't really tried much nutritionally to blunt these effects, other than making sure my body has plenty of protein. So I'll be interested to see the other responses on this thread. Although it hasn't been much of a priority for me because about the same time I get these flu-like symptoms is when I get other signals from my body that I'm near my limits. Overall health-wise I'm pretty much the best I've ever been. When I was younger and could push it harder, I was always dealing with tendonitis in my knees and varying degrees of back pain.

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Hmph. Well, I guess I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in this.

I do a protein shake after every lifting session, but I've never tried a sports drink since I'm still trying to lose a lot of weight and try to be very mindful of my caloric intake. Might be worth looking into, though. I can't afford to feel like that for a whole day afterward. Trying to take care of my two little kids yesterday afternoon was especially torturous when all I wanted to do was climb in my bed and never get out.

Book, I may need to consider what you said about leaving something in the tank, also. Truth be told, I didn't mean to go as hard as I did the other day. I was just getting into my work sets on squats when one of the trainers wandered over and was watching my form. He noticed that I was letting my knees drift in slightly coming out of the hole, and when I worked on fixing that issue, the weight suddenly felt 50 lb heavier. Squats were the first exercise in my lineup, and I just ended up totally beat up through the rest of the workout because of them. I knew going into my deadlifts that I was struggling, but I pushed through anyway (hello, ego!) and that's probably where I did myself in.

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I am a 67 year old male, and 3 times now I have come down with flu like symptoms after a strenuous activity.

The first time was about 10 years ago when I went kayaking down a river that was very difficult.  At the end I was exhausted.  On the way back in my vehicle I started getting sick.  It lasted like 3 days before I was back to normal.

I started working on my firewood a few days ago.  I was tired, but not too bad.  I did it again the next day.  That evening I started getting nausea, headache, and body aches, like I had a real bad flu.  It lasted a good 36 hours, but I think I am ok now.

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Hi! I found this thread because I was searching "chills day after a workout." I am 25 (26 in a month) and I run on occasion, but I hadn't lifted weights heavily since Sept. 2020, and yesterday and the day before I went to CrossFit. Yesterday I felt normal (ready to workout again) but last night's workout was extremely hard. Harder than I've pushed myself in a LONG time. And today I have had the chills all day. No fever, but chills. I take Vitamin C, Zinc, and a daily vitamin everyday and run often enough that I would consider myself fairly healthy. 


Reading everyone's responses is really easing my anxiety because, of course, my first concern these days is COVID, although I haven't done anything high risk or been exposed to anyone positive. So, the only factor I changed up is doing intense workouts again. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel back to normal and recovered! Thanks for all the info!

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