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Athletic Republic: Is Your Athlete ‘Overtraining’?

FLN: Athletic Republic is a Boca-based training center that sends me a monthly email and I saw this and decided to put it up as a thought piece. I’m certainly not a young athlete today, but I am concerned by the number of injuries in many sports these days.

“The more I train the better I will get”.

Let’s ask ourselves if this statement is true or false. When training loads reach an athlete’s individual ‘tipping point’, he or she can be considered overtrained, resulting in decreased sport-specific athletic performance. According to a research study published by Jeffrey B Kreher, overtraining without adequate rest and recovery leads to performance decrements that last >2–3 months coupled with a mood disturbance. All of us parents with youth athletes could agree that we would not want this for our young athletes, or even ourselves (especially those with teenagers, they have enough mood disturbances as it is). 

So, the answer to the question would be FALSE. Let’s focus on quality of training versus the quantity of training.

The athletes today, from what I see, could potentially be hitting the zone of overtraining. Many play multiple sports with multiple practices per week. Coaches during practices will teach sports-specific drills and skills and then finish with endless high intensity cardio. When is their rest/recovery period? The 8 hours of sleep (that most of us aren’t getting) is not enough. Ideally, there should be a day of sports specific skill training (I.E Practices, Batting Practice, Stick Handling etc.) followed by a day of sports performance training (speed development, Power Development and Strength) and repeat. This gives a day of lower intensity skill training followed by high intensity performance work which will allow for maximum performance benefits and adequate recovery throughout the week. If every day is high intensity, then chances are, the athlete is not getting enough recovery and could potentially decrease performance (not just for a game or two but like the study showed, for 2-3 months). 

Athletic Republic has implemented proper intensity, volume, and rest periods directly into the athlete workouts which allows them to continue to increase performance while staying healthy and ultimately clear of overtraining. That’s why we always recommend at least 1 day in between our Acceleration classes to allow for that recovery period. Adding our lower intensity Enhanced classes in the middle we help build highly trained well-rounded athletes who will continue to grow and perform to their maximum potential.

Below is a diagram of Fitness-Fatigue-Theory. What this represents is when we exercise, fatigue increases and preparedness decreases. Which means, you would not perform in a game/match very well directly after a high intensity workout because fatigue is high, and preparedness is low. With proper recovery, fatigue decreases and preparedness increases (even after fatigue levels off). This is the point where we want to train hard again to continue to improve performance.

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