On the Road to Recovery- Overtraining

Hi my name is Jack, I am 21 and a 2nd yr student. Playing sports has been a big part of my life; unfortunately over the last 6 months everything slowly started to deteriorate. At first it was injuries, then poor sleep, then headaches and nausea, poor eating habits and finally abdominal pain and swelling followed by several hospital visits- I have very mild Cystic Fibrosis.

I had a blocked gut and the doctors feel it was to do with my condition but reading up on overtraining and the way things have been going for me I think poor recovery (little or no stretching after training)and excessive training were the main factors. I have been the picture of health for many years eating well training well sleeping well. It has gotten to the stage now that if I run briefly to catch a bus etc my heart rate feels very high and painful and my joints feel sore.

I find it incredibly difficult to sit around doing nothing and if I have not done any kind of physical activity during the day I feel awful at night. This feeling of having to train and be active has ultimately lead me to rock bottom so now I am trying to pick up the pieces and get things back in balance and hopefully start competing properly in my sports, enjoying it and improving again.

I play soccer and I am the boxing captain for my university. The soccer team I train with is highly competitive and a good standard. The boxing is also very intense and as I am the captain I like to lead by example by working hard. My weekly training timetable used looked like this:
Mon: 5-7pm Boxing, Tues: 5.30-7pm Soccer, Wed: 8-10pm Boxing, Thurs: 5.30-7pm Soccer, Fri: 7-9pm Boxing, Sat: Soccer match (or gym if no match). Sun: Rest

I am trying to stay positive and see this as an opportunity to overhaul my body and work on the areas that I see as the biggest weaknesses, but, I am finding it difficult seeing things that I have worked hard at for a number of years slip away from me. I know that I need to rest. Due to my college and training timetable being very different each day, I have not had a routine for a long time.

My problem areas are:
-Left ankle- I have sprained 3 times in the past 6 months
-Left knee- when I try to stretch out my hips by bending my leg at the knee and externally rotating, it causes me pain and I feel a lot of pressure at the back of my knee and at the top and outside of my shin. Possibly a strained hamstring injury or calf? and maybe poor hip mobility as added pressure.
-Tight hips and glutes-cannot sit crossed legged
-Neck stiffness- I crack my neck often to release the stiffness.

 -Left shoulder- weakness, I cannot really describe it, when I lift my arms all the way up to the side, just before my left arm comes beside my ear it sort of falls/drops in feels like a tendon flicking over. Gets tired quickly when boxing.
 -Pulling weakness- because of the sports I play and the gym work I have done in the past the majority of them have been pushing exercises. As a result my horizontal row and hamstring strength feels weak.
 -Sleep- Probably my biggest problem because of college commitments, my sports commitments as well as family commitments my sleeping has been very poor. I normally wake up early, before my alarm, feeling like I had a very restless nights sleep. I have been getting to bed late and irregular times. 

 -Nutrition- I think this has mainly been affected by my poor sleep patterns. If I sleep well I will eat well but my meal times and quality of meals have been very inconsistent. Sometimes very good sometimes very bad. I used to always feel hungry-but wary of eating too much because of boxing. Now I feel very nauseas and do not feel like eating at all. 
 -Stress- because I am being pulled in so many directions I think this has also been one of my main problems. I have been holding things together but it is getting more and more difficult. 

If anyone can give me any advice, steer me in the right direction or let me know a little bit about your own experience of overtraining that would great. My overall goal is trying to get into a state where I can play sports again and reduce my injury count. I want to be proactive about this. I have access to a set of gymnastics rings (just bought), paralettes, a well equipped gym, thera-bands, running track unfortunately no swimming pool which I think would have been perfect for keeping up with some light cardio. I have begun doing yoga once or twice a week as recommended by the physio.
Thank you for your help.

Stop pushing yourself so hard. Injuries like that can induce further damage so take a step back. I can see you’re a committed athlete which is fine, though you should know your physical limits.

If you’re ripping it in soccer and boxing, it might be time to make a choice which one you’d like to take to the next level. Thats a hard choice to make but it might be a necessity. Try taking a break from one for a week or two and note the change.

Eat more. Eat often.

Rest. rest. rest. Take a break and play Halo or something. Recover.

Research your nutrition. You shouldn’t be on a cutting program all the time. Very unhealthy. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what their talking about.

You need to change up what you’re doing bro. Keep us posted. Cheers.

Thanks man,

I’ve stopped training completely now im just going for a few light runs 1/2 times a week. As well as yoga 2 times a week

Its tough to try to change your whole mentality on working hard but i understand what your saying and hopefully i’ll get it right.

Making a choice between soccer and boxing is tough but i will consider it even if i carry on both i will try to make one as a supplement to my training that I can take it easy on but still get something out of it, if you know what i mean.

Im feeling a bit less stressed at the moment, i think because i’ve been doing something about my health. I’m on some natural sleeping pills prescribed by the doctor, to get me back into some sort of sleep pattern.
thanks again i’ll keep you posted