Overtraining Syndrome in Young Female Athletes

I’ve titled this specifying young female athletes, but honestly this can occur in women of all ages.  Men, too, of course, but many times men exhibit different symptoms.

I have had the privilege of working with two high school female swimmers recently- both exhibiting the EXACT same symptoms: decreased athletic performance, anxiety, dizziness, light-headedness, elevated resting heart rate to name a few.  The girls had seen their pediatricians, pediatric cardiologists, neurologists, and ENTs- none of whom were able to pinpoint any problems.  Their bloodwork was in clinical “normal” ranges.  The problem is clinical normal ranges doesn’t necessarily mean there are no issues.  One of the athletes had borderline deficiencies in many vitamins and minerals that, combined, could have been contributing to these issues.  Iron and/or ferritin levels are two place you will commonly see female deficiencies.

Additionally, the stresses of training were taking a toll.  Both of these athletes are swimmers, training 2 a days in addition to normal schoolwork and life.  Both girls were doing mostly sprint and anaerobic work, and their central nervous systems were completely over-stimulated.  This can cause elevated heart rate and a general feeling of being “on edge”.

Working to restore an aerobic base by implementing more endurance, slower training days as well as nutrient supplementation and rest can help to restore performance.  It’s a long process so you have to be patient.  Even though I have only mentioned these two athletes, I have worked with many women in this situation.  If you want more information or assistance, please contact me.

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