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Overtraining in Sports part 1... it's an epidemic

In the modern era sports has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Its “big business” one might say. With the amount of money, within the industry, sports have seen its fair share of ups and downs, posers and non-posers, cheaters and non-cheaters.

Today nearly every kid, along with their parents, has a dream to become a professional athlete. The likelihood for this dream to become a reality is small but that doesn’t stop them from investing financially, physically and mentally in this dream.

The industry has seen a boom in the evolution of training and the number of so-called “expert” coaches and trainers. More coaches, trainers, locations, times and availability has made overtraining an epidemic. Overtraining is when your body and mind reach a point of exhaustion that leads to decreased performance and motivation. In fact, overtraining often leads to an inability to increase performance and even stay healthy. Here are some major signs of overtraining:

1. Fatigue – no matter how much sleep you get you simply cannot wake up. Your body and mind feel so tired that you are yawning throughout the whole day. In fact, the only way you feel awake is through neurological stimulants that leave you with jittery energy for a short period of time.

2. Muscle Soreness – this kind of muscle soreness is not from a single workout or a single muscle but rather when your body is sore all over. The soreness persists 24 hours per day 7 days per week. When you walk your quadriceps hurt. When you pick something up your back hurts. Soreness that is a constant nag.

3. Forgetfulness – you reach a point where a simple appointment is impossible to remember. Your mind is in a constant state of wonder. Your focus level can be held for a minimal amount of time.

4. Lack of motivation – this sign can be the most troublesome. Once you have reached this point it will take some time to get your motivation back. You no longer desire to train or participate in the sport you are involved in, which is the very same sport that you over trained so hard for.

5. Injuries – this characteristic can be a career ending one. In the infancy of overtraining the body suffers little nagging injuries. If the athlete doesn’t listen to the body and change their training tactics / schedule than a more severe injury will most certainly occur.

Our bodies are like a well tuned sports car, we are meant to go fast, hard and be handled with care. The fact remains that in sports today coaches without a proper education on the body, or even some with a proper education, are adopting the principle that training quantity is what’s most important. This is most prevalent in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), youth sports, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, wrestling and swimming. Other sports not listed are guilty of overtraining as well but these sports have seemed to make it an epidemic.

Coaches often suggest that training multiple times per day and/or engaging in practice times that run over two hours is the only way to achieve stardom. This is an epidemic that can only be stopped with education to the athletes, coaches and parents. The evolution of training should bring more education to the fields with a better understanding of this motto, “efficiency over quantity.”

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