You’re athletic performance has gone down hill; you’re tired all of the time and common injuries keep reoccurring! Does this sound familiar? One possibility (not to rule out any possible medical problems) is training too hard or too often, better known as overtraining. Before going into a solution, let’s look at some indications of overtraining. The five most outstanding are: mental and physical fatigue, diminished physical strength, mild depression, reoccurring injuries and a weakened immune system. Overtraining can cause these symptoms, which could also be due to other ailments, so please see a qualified physician if the symptoms persist. How do we quantify overtraining?

1) Spending excessive time on the ice each day with very little time off (applies more to figure skaters than hockey players)
2) Training a muscle group (legs, back, etc.) with weights too often (>one time/week intensely and >three times/week moderately is too much).
3) Doing cardiovascular work (off ice) greater than five hours a week is more than enough if you are not preparing for an event.
4) Getting too little rest or sleep.
5) Extra physical labor can contribute to overtraining (your body doesn’t know the difference).
6) A poor diet will prevent proper recuperation from training.

A combination of the above factors is not necessary to induce overtraining. It only takes one to slow your progress. My suggestions… they’re simple!
• Avoid spending excessive amounts of time on the ice (work efficiently)
• Take at least one day off a week to recuperate
• Incorporate off ice strength training that compliments your sport without overdoing it
• Make your cardiovascular work more efficient by incorporating interval training
• Make sure that obtaining a good night’s rest becomes a habit
• Most importantly, make sure that your diet compensates for losses induced by exercise or physical labor. Remember, we have to “fuel up” with high-octane fuel to perform well!

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