severity of its symptoms and its impairment to quality of life, overtraining phenomena must be considered serious and career-threatening events. Using the story of an elite rower, I illustrate the advantages of diagnosing and treating nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR) and overtraining syndrome (OTS) by
Maria Francesca Piacentini and Romain Meeusen
This longitudinal case study evaluated the effectiveness of an online training-monitoring system to prevent nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR).
A female master track and field athlete was followed by means of a daily online training diary (www.spartanova.com) and a weekly profile of mood state (POMS). The online diary consists of objective training data and subjective feelings reported on a 10-cm visual analog scale. Furthermore, parameters that quantify and summarize training and adaptation to training were calculated. The novelty consists in the inclusion of a specific measuring parameter tested to detect NFOR (OR score).
During track-season preparation, the athlete was facing some major personal changes, and extratraining stress factors increased. Despite the fact that training load (TL) did not increase, the or score showed a 222% and then a 997% increase compared with baseline. POMS showed a 167% increase in fatigue, a 38% decrease in vigor, a 32% increase in depression scores, and a total mood increase of 22%, with a 1-wk shift compared with the OR score. A 41% decrease in TL restored the OR score and POMS to baseline values within 10 d.
The results demonstrate that immediate feedback obtained by “warning signals” to both athletes and coaches, based on individual baseline data, seems an optimal predictor of FOR/NFOR.
Jos J. de Koning
Susan Vrijkotte, Romain Meeusen, Cloe Vandervaeren, Luk Buyse, Jeroen van Cutsem, Nathalie Pattyn, and Bart Roelands
The margin between optimal training load and excessive stress varies on a daily basis. When training stress is experienced for too long, nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) and the “overtraining syndrome” (OTS) can be developed, with impaired performance for weeks up to months and sometimes even
Ed Maunder, Andrew E. Kilding, Christopher J. Stevens, and Daniel J. Plews
which may contribute to fatigue and nonfunctional overreaching. 7 Indeed, a recent study showed 5 days of high-intensity interval training performed under heat stress actually impaired exercise capacity, which induced maladaptation. 8 Therefore, when considering undertaking a heat stress training camp
Nathan A. Lewis, Ann Redgrave, Mark Homer, Richard Burden, Wendy Martinson, Brian Moore, and Charles R. Pedlar
Purpose: To examine a diagnosis of unexplained underperformance syndrome (UUPS, or overtraining syndrome) in an international rower describing a full recovery and return to elite competition the same year. Methods: On diagnosis and 4 and 14 mo postdiagnosis, detailed assessments including physiological, nutritional, and biomarkers were made. Results: Clinical examination and laboratory results for hematology, biochemistry, thyroid function, immunology, vitamins, and minerals were unremarkable and did not explain the presentation and diagnosis. Redox biomarkers including hydroperoxides, plasma antioxidant capacity, red blood cell glutathione, superoxide dismutase, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E (α- and γ-tocopherol), and carotenoids (lutein, α-carotene, β-carotene) provided evidence of altered redox homeostasis. The recovery strategy began with 12 d of training abstinence and nutritional interventions, followed by 6 wk of modified training. At 4 mo postintervention, performance had recovered strongly, resulting in the athlete’s becoming European champion that same year. Further improvements in physiological and performance indices were observed at 14 mo postintervention. Physiologically relevant increases in concentrations of carotenoids were achieved at each postintervention time point, exceeding the reported critical-difference values. Conclusions: Increasing athlete phytonutrient intake may enhance recovery and tolerance of training and environmental stressors, reducing the risk of unexplained UUPS. Alterations in redox homeostasis should be considered as part of the medical management in UUPS. This is the first reported case study of an elite athlete with alterations in redox homeostasis in conjunction with a diagnosis of UUPS.
Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter, and Jürgen Beckmann
individualized recovery is not achieved after training and functional overreaching, a continuous imbalance of inadequate recovery and excessive demands could initiate a cascade of deleterious conditions including underrecovery and nonfunctional overreaching (NFO). Underrecovery and NFO represent 2 closely
Clementine Grandou, Lee Wallace, Aaron J. Coutts, Lee Bell, and Franco M. Impellizzeri
training in combination with inadequate recovery can result in a decline in performance with or without related physiological and/or psychological signs and symptoms. 4 Resulting maladaptive conditions may include functional overreaching (FOR), nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR), or the overtraining
Sabrina Skorski, Iñigo Mujika, Laurent Bosquet, Romain Meeusen, Aaron J. Coutts, and Tim Meyer
Physiological and psychological demands during training and competition generate fatigue and reduce an athlete’s sport-specific performance capacity. The magnitude of this decrement depends on several characteristics of the exercise stimulus (eg, type, duration, and intensity), as well as on individual characteristics (eg, fitness, profile, and fatigue resistance). As such, the time required to fully recover is proportional to the level of fatigue, and the consequences of exercise-induced fatigue are manifold. Whatever the purpose of the ensuing exercise session (ie, training or competition), it is crucial to understand the importance of optimizing the period between exercise bouts in order to speed up the regenerative processes and facilitate recovery or set the next stimulus at the optimal time point. This implies having a fairly precise understanding of the fatigue mechanisms that contribute to the performance decrement. Failing to respect an athlete’s recovery needs may lead to an excessive accumulation of fatigue and potentially “nonfunctional overreaching” or to maladaptive training. Although research in this area recently increased, considerations regarding the specific time frames for different physiological mechanisms in relation to exercise-induced fatigue are still missing. Furthermore, recommendations on the timing and dosing of recovery based on these time frames are limited. Therefore, the aim of this article is to describe time courses of recovery in relation to the exercise type and on different physiological levels. This summary supports coaches, athletes, and scientists in their decision-making process by considering the relationship of exercise type, physiology, and recovery.
Maria Francesca Piacentini, Oliver C. Witard, Cajsa Tonoli, Sarah R. Jackman, James E. Turner, Arie K. Kies, Asker E. Jeukendrup, Kevin D. Tipton, and Romain Meeusen
Monitoring mood state is a useful tool for avoiding nonfunctional overreaching. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is implicated in stress-related mood disorders.
To investigate the impact of intensified training-induced mood disturbance on plasma BDNF concentrations at rest and in response to exercise.
Eight cyclists performed 1 wk of normal (NT), 1 wk of intensified (INT), and 1 wk of recovery (REC) training. Fasted blood samples were collected before and after exercise on day 7 of each training week and analyzed for plasma BDNF and cortisol concentrations. A 24-item Profile of Mood State questionnaire was administered on day 7 of each training week, and global mood score (GMS) was calculated.
Time-trial performance was impaired during INT (P = .01) and REC (P = .02) compared with NT. Basal plasma cortisol (NT = 153 ± 16 ng/mL, INT = 130 ± 11 ng/mL, REC = 150 ± 14 ng/ml) and BDNF (NT = 484 ± 122 pg/mL, INT = 488 ± 122 pg/mL, REC = 383 ± 56 pg/mL) concentrations were similar between training conditions. Likewise, similar exercise-induced increases in cortisol and BDNF concentrations were observed between training conditions. GMS was 32% greater during INT vs NT (P < .001).
Consistent with a state of functional overreaching (FOR), impairments in performance and mood state with INT were restored after 1 wk of REC. These results support evidence for mood changes before plasma BDNF concentrations as a biochemical marker of FOR and that cortisol is not a useful marker for predicting FOR.