Ask Angel

Dear Angel,

I’ve been preparing for a couple of months for my first bikini competition. I’m currently a few weeks out and my diet is very strict and my training is hard! I usually never get sick, but now I constantly get a upper respiratory tract infection and then I can’t train for a couple of days as I’m on antibiotics. I use a multivitamin daily. Is there a reason for this and if so, is there a way I can prevent it?

Dear Legallyfit member;

I have experienced your fit-sickness first hand. Recently I became so sick just before my Pro debut. Just like you, I really never get sick anymore and this I can truly contribute to my healthy outlook on life and my eating ways. You can imagine my utter frustration at that point and when I heard that all my preparation might just have been in vain and I had to cancel my long-awaited flight, my body just kicked into survival mode. I think in a way my physique just knew that it is dealing with a small challenge and that I was not going to take this lying down. I took a few days off, however frustrated I might have been! Jacques and my family insisted I rest, and they just did not give in to my puppy eyes beg to go and train! Sometimes, we need people next to us to just kick some sense into us and to make us understand that our health comes before and above any trophy. Eventually I was given the green light from my doctor to fly, and off we went!

When your body is in such a dieted state, your immune system is often compromised the days before the show. As you might know by now, the mind is by far your strongest muscle in your body and if you have trained your mind to overrule your physical pain, your mental strength might sometimes take it a bit too far. My mind told me to just keep going, but that would have kept me from a speedy recovery and looking back, the rest was truly the best medicine.

If you have been super diligent on your diet for weeks, no, months by now, training like it is nobody’s business and just living the Warrior-way, then you might need a break, a rest and a bit of plain old TLC! If the problem is only located in the upper respiratory system, it’s not great to keep going but it is far better news than when it spreads down.

My advice would be to:

  • 1. Take a break;
  • 2. Go see your doctor as soon as possible to evaluate the seriousness of the illness. Also make sure that you can fly as this can play a major role;
  • 3. “Up” those vitamins and make sure that you are on a products like the JVL Vitamins and health boosters.
  • 4. Make sure that your calorie intake gets increased and do not do the starvation diet as this will only make things worse!
  • 5. Limit your training to just slow cycling or do not train at all.
  • 6. Make sure that you take in allot of fluids and water.

Some “red lights” to watch out for, ladies;

Physical Changes

Granted, physical changes are what we all strive for on a diet. However, some physical changes aren’t so desirable.

1. Bathroom habits can be a sure sign that there’s something wrong with your diet. If you are suddenly dealing with constipation when it’s never been a problem, you might not be getting enough fiber. Left alone too long, constipation can require a trip to a doctor. Trouble in the bathroom can go both ways. Diarrhea is no more pleasant than constipation and can lead to dehydration. If this is more of a concern for you, try adding more solid food to your diet. This can especially be a problem in liquid-based diets.

2. Feeling too tired to get out of bed for that three-kilometre run? If you’ve selected a very low-calorie diet, you’re not going to get enough calories for your body to want to do much more than snooze. Try increasing how much you’re eating, even with as little as100 calories.

3. Is acetaminophen or ibuprofen becoming your best friend? If you are regularly experiencing headaches, there are two likely culprits. One is withdrawal: if you suddenly cut a regularly consumed substance from your diet (such as caffeine or sugar), your body may be crying for a “fix”. The other possible explanation is high blood pressure, a concern in high protein or broth-based diets. High blood pressure can cause serious health problems, so don’t ignore persistent headaches.

4. Maybe you’ve decided to try adding more citrus fruit, coffee, tomatoes, and garlic to your diet. Maybe it suddenly feels like someone lit a match in your chest. Congratulations, your diet is giving you heartburn! Cut back on your trigger food consumption, acid-based foods and you should get some relief.

5. Are you having trouble with your eyes? Maybe that blue sweater you bought doesn’t look so blue anymore, or you suddenly trip over every little thing in the dark on your way to the bathroom. Or perhaps you’re previously lustrous hair has become dry and brittle. If you have been avoiding animal products or certain vegetables, you may have a vitamin A deficiency. Better grab some carrots, or better yet, something animal-based. Retinyl esters are absorbed more than beta carotene.

6. Plenty of people have heard of iron-deficiency anemia (most commonly linked to alcoholism), but there are other types as well. The best sources for B-12 are meat and dairy products. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, yellowish skin, and a host of other things.

7. Here’s another reason to avoid a fruit juice diet. Have you ever heard of arginine? It comes from a whole host of grains, nuts, and meats, none of which are part of a fruit juice diet. If you’re on one of these diets and are experiencing constipation, hair loss, and trouble with wound healing, you have a deficiency. Put down the stupid juice and eat some brown rice and chicken, for crying out loud.

Mental Changes

Okay, so dieting can be a little daunting. You may not feel like yourself every day, but if you find yourself having one bad day after another, it may be time to re-evaluate what you’re eating.

1. Everyone gets the blues sometimes, but did you know your diet can cause depression? If your diet is high in sugar, fat, processed meats, or refined cereals, you may be contributing to your own condition. Try substituting some steamed veggies and lean protein in; your mood is bound to improve.

2. Have you recently been experiencing very nasty migraines and restless, fitful sleep? If you aren’t eating enough leafy veggies, whole grains, and nuts, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Not only is your mind affected by this, you heart can be, too. Magnesium is important in the contractions of the heart. Too little magnesium and your heart might “forget” how to beat properly. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound good at all. Try the magnesium supplement in the JVL stores to combat this deficiency.

3. Are you having trouble controlling your temper? Did you have a temper tantrum the last time some dandelion fluff landed on your shoe? As crazy as it may sound, studies indicate that diets can make you irritable and aggressive. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet it is, anything that limits your allowed foods can make you a super grouch.

4. Have you ever fainted? I bet you have if you’ve decided to utilize some silly super-low-calorie diet. Improper nutrition isn’t just responsible for numerous vitamin deficiencies; it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar to dangerous levels. Start carrying around one of those oh-so-fashionable Victorian fainting couches. You’ll look ridiculous, but a fluffy couch is better than an unforgiving floor.

If you’re on a diet and family members are encouraging you to have more cake, more roast beef, more anything, consider two possibilities. One, they’re sick of your diet. Two, your diet is making you sick, and they’re trying to help you.

Remember that there will always be another competition, but your health is irreplaceable. It’s a lifestyle, not a competition!

Yours in health;


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