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Learning from sport burnout and overtraining
Learning from sport burnout and overtraining

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7 Learning from the physiology

You need to stress the body and allow recovery for a training effect, yet it may be difficult for an athlete to self-diagnose overtraining symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, agitation, weight loss, infections and illness. This is especially true for someone with a unidimensional athletic identity who may struggle with inadequate downtime and recovery. In addition, as any failure potentially threatens their identity, this may lead to maladaptive behaviours such as more training, in an effort to preserve their self-esteem (as you saw in the case of Jonathan Trott).

Figure 8 The fine line between overreaching and overtraining is difficult to spot since most athletes rely on self-diagnoses and a ‘no pain, no gain ethos’.

Overtraining may also remain undiagnosed in groups which have an anti-rest and macho culture. Cultures such as these often exist in the fitness industry and amongst recreational gym goers and weight trainers.

Effective monitoring might be able to spot the early signs of overtraining. This is something you will learn about in the next session.