The Dangers of Overtraining

April 1, 2010 | Featured in the Spring 2010 Issue

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In hopes of varsity stardom, state championships and college scholarships, many high school athletes push their bodies to the limit. And beyond. Though you may be outworking your competition, super strenuous workloads can eventually lead to overtraining and a seat on the sidelines.

Don’t know whether you’re close to crossing the line between training hard and overtraining? If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you are probably taking your training too far.

• Frequent tightness or pain in muscles and joints
• Fatigue
• Lack of motivation and energy
• Lack of progress
• Insomnia
• Loss of appetite
• Decrease in performance
• Increased susceptibility to illness

According to Penn State University head S+C coach Chip Harrison, the best way to recover from these symptoms is with rest. Significantly reduce, or when possible cease, your training regimen until your body feels normal. Once you resume working out, abide by the following guidelines from Harrison. If symptoms persist, he recommends seeking the advice of a qualified physician.

• Perform two to three fullbody workouts or four to five half-body workouts per week in the off-season
• In season, get one to two full-body workouts per week or two to three half-body workouts
• Allow at least 24 hours of rest before working the same muscle group
• Never work out for longer than an hour
• Schedule recovery days for each week
• Properly warm up before each workout
• Fuel your body with proper food and fluids before and after workouts
• Properly cool down after each workout
• Get sufficient sleep

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