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Finish First Insider, Issue #71
August 24, 2009
Welcome Back

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Get Quality Sleep for Peak Athletic Performance

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Ok, so you know that sleep is important, but you may not know why and how it affects athletic performance. I’d like to share with you some information from a few recent articles with evidence from research about sleep and sports performance.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation occurs as a result of a lack of necessary sleep. Sleep disorders, or poor sleeping habits (inconsistent schedule, exercise before going to bed, or other issues causing restless sleep) lead to chronic sleep deprivation. According to Dr. Sudhansu Chokroverty in his book, 100 Q&A About Sleep and Sleep Disorders, “sleep deprivation causes fatigue; sleepiness; deterioration of performance, attention, and motivation; and diminishment of mental concentration and intellectual capacity (5).”

Knowing that peak athletic performance relies on prolonging fatigue, concentrated attention, the ability to process mentally and make quick decisions, and high levels of motivation, it is no wonder that athletes who are not getting sufficient sleep are not performing either consistently at a high level or not at a high level at all (ever). In a sports performance newsletter (Issue #28), I gave 10 tips for optimal sleep—if you are having difficulty sleeping, begin by trying the suggestions outlined in the article (7).

Across Time Zones

A study by Mary Carskadon, PhD, of the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center, not only confirmed the statements by Dr. Sudhansu, but also added that adolescent athletes who don’t get enough sleep (chronic sleep deprivation) on a regular basis are extremely impaired in the morning (6). This is important for athletes traveling westward across time zones to compete. The athlete from the east would be more alert at an early morning competition than the athlete from the west. To combat this, the western athlete should prepare by waking at the earlier time to get adjusted.

Decreased Glucose Metabolism

Some research has found that sleep deprived individuals metabolize glucose less efficiently, and they have higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone linked to memory impairment, age-related insulin resistance, and impaired recovery in athletics)(8). Because glucose and glycogen are the main energy sources for athletes (carbohydrates), any impairment of the glucose storage process (in muscle and the liver) can affect the energy needed for competition and optimal performance.

Inhibited Muscle Tissue Repair

It is also noted that increased cortisol levels may interfere with muscle tissue repair and growth. Elevated levels of cortisol have been also linked to increases in hunger—you would eat more food, but the processes of breaking the food down for energy storage or tissue repair have been impaired, so this food would most likely cause unwanted, unhealthy weight gain.

Increased Fat Storage

Some studies have even further suggested that slower glycogen issues caused by sleep deprivation may lead to higher blood insulin levels which then lead to an increase in fat storage (unhealthy weight gain). An increase in blood sugar levels may lead to adult onset diabetes (type 2) (1)(6)(8).

Good News About Extra Sleep

According to a study reported in the Science Daily news, athletes who get extra sleep over an extended period of time actually improve athletic performance, mood, and alertness (2)(3)(4). The study was done using college athletes at Stanford University, with both male and female athletes. The extra sleep was a total of 10 hours each night for 6-7 weeks. As a result, the athletes were able to reduce their sleep debt and improve their performance. It is recommended not only to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but also to get extra sleep for several days prior to major competitions (2)(3)(4).

If it is possible, extra sleep for several weeks leading up to a major tournament, showcase event, or international competition, you should do it. You will help reduce your sleep debt and help ensure an increase in your peak athletic performance. Getting sufficient sleep (restful sleep) is a crucial element in obtaining your peak athletic performance.


1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep Extension Improves Athletic Performance And Mood." ScienceDaily 10 June 2009. 11 August 2009 .

2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Extra Sleep Improves Athletic Performance." ScienceDaily 10 June 2008. 11 August 2009 .

3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Extra Sleep Improves Athletes' Performance." ScienceDaily 14 June 2007. 11 August 2009 .

4. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep Extension Improves Alertness And Performance During And Following Subsequent Sleep Restriction." ScienceDaily 9 June 2008. 11 August 2009 .

5. Chokroverty, Dr. Sudhansu. 100 Questions and Answers About Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Blackwell Science, Inc..Commerce Place, 350 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts. 2001.

6. Lifespan. "Lack Of Sleep Can Affect Athletic Performance In Teens." ScienceDaily 11 May 2005. 11 August 2009 .

7. (accessed 8/12/2009 at 6:20pm).

8. Tasali, Esra, et al. "Slow-Wave Sleep and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Humans." PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105.3 (

Overtraining in Sports

By: Emily Novitsky , CSCS, Performance Coach, Finish First Sports Performance

Recently an athlete raised the question “is practicing year around better than not.” The underlying question is ‘how long is it before we start overtraining our athlete?’ The definition according to NSCA overtraining is an excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training that results in extreme fatigue, illness or injury. Another term that is used frequently when discussing overtraining is the excessive training on a short term basis is called overreaching. Usually an athlete may recover from overreaching in only a few days of rest. Consequently overreaching can become overtraining syndrome if it continues beyond a reasonable period of time. NSCA defines overtraining syndrome or OTS as the condition resulting from overtraining. The syndrome may include a plateau or merely a decrease in performance. When the term overtraining comes to mind there are also many alternative words that are also associated with staleness, burnout, chronic overwork, physical overstrain, and overfatigue.

Signs of overtraining or overstretching:

• General fatigue
• Loss of motivation
• Recurring injuries
• Feeling depressed or moody
• Decreased physical performance
• Insomnia
• Loss of body weight
• change of appetite
• feelings of nausea
• muscle tenderness
• headaches

As athletes there are four seasons of sport competition during the cycle of a year. Recently however due to the increase of volume of practice and competition that is not the case anymore. Theoretically the first season is the off-season. During off-season there is minimal sport specific training and a higher volume of other forms of conditioning like weight training. The off-season is also a good time to rehab any injuries and rest/recovery from the past season. The offseason can last 4 weeks to 16 weeks. The time period can differ with the level of sport. The next season is the preseason. This season is when the conditioning volume starts to decrease and the sport specific practices increases. The preseason will start to prepare for the competition that will take place in a few weeks. The length of preseason will differ with the level of the sport but it can last 3-8 weeks. The next season is the competition season. This is the most important season and is usually the longest season. This is the season when the conditioning (weight training) is very minimal and practice or competition is very high. Some competition seasons last anywhere from 8 -32 weeks. Every sport if different in the length of the competition season and especially once the athletes are at higher levels. Immediately after the competition season the last season that usually everyone one looks over is the post-season. This season is when the athlete rest and recover from the past competitions. There is usually low conditioning and low practice or competition. This is the first chance for the athlete to let his or her body recover from the past competition season. This season should last 2-8 weeks. Post-season is very important in the process of preventing overtraining. If the athlete does not let their body recover from the excessive breakdown during competition they may start a nasty cycle of overstretching or possibly overtraining.

I once heard the quote “train hard here or go home and train some more.” This is very good quote but there has to be a determining factor to learn when to rest. It seems like recently high school coaches are requiring year round practice for their athletic teams. It is scary that we are not stressing how important rest and recovery may be for these athletes. There motto is that the more we practice the better we play. This is very true but this can also be negative to the athlete if they are not also resting the body and properly refueling it for the competition season. The main reason we train especially in the field of sports performance is so that the athlete will peak their performance during the competition season. This is harder to achieve if our athletes are being overtrained. The competition season keeps getting longer and the post season or off season keeps getting shorter.


• After competition or practice refuel the body with proper nutrition

• If you start to feel tired take a day off listen to your body

• Rest and recovery does not make you seem like a weak person it will help you in the long run

• If you start to have persisting injuries you need to rest the body

• Training 7 days a week in the off season is too much

• Training 7 days a week in pre season is too much

• Training 7 days a week in post season is too much

As athletes we try our hardest to achieve the highest level of fitness that is possible but it would not be possible without rest. I think though as a nation we have forgotten how important it is to rest the body. There are longer seasons in every sport now. There are athletes on multiple teams. They have multiple practices in a day. The science is simple. We breakdown the body with training (weight training, practices, or competition) then we have to let the body rest and recovery so it can build up to be stronger. If we keep breaking down the body and do not let it recovery we are just breaking it down more and more until it does not function properly. Therefore this would defeat the purpose of all the training and effort into making the optimal athlete.

To avoid overtraining make sure that you or your athlete are getting enough rest and recovery time. If you have questions pertaining to overtraining feel free to contact Emily or Jeremy at or call 412-787-5070

Congratulations Tony Abbate!!!

Congrats to Tony Abbate for his Professional MMA victory in the 1st round by referee stoppage (for repeated blows to the opponents head) at the Cage Brawl in Erie, PA, last Saturday evening. Keep up the hard work and all the best for continued success.

New Fall Hours of Operation

The hours of operation at the World Training Headquarters will be changing, effective August 17, 2009.

During the week of August 17th, the facility will open at Noon and close at 7pm, Monday - Friday, and from 9am - Noon on Saturday.

During the week of August 24th, the facility will open at 1pm and close at 7pm, Monday - Friday, and from 9am - Noon on Saturday.

The hours for the following week (beginning August 31st through the Fall/Winter) are to be determined and will be posted in next week's newsletter.

If you have any questions, please call 412-787-5070. We look forward to a great fall and winter sports season for the Finish First Sports Performance athletes who have been working hard all summer!


Due to the volume of athletes currently using the Finish First Sports Performance world training headquarters, all athletes are required to schedule all sessions prior to arrival. In the future, if an athlete shows up without first scheduling for a session, there is no guarantee that s/he will be able to use the facility at that time. If the facility is at capacity, the athlete will need to come back for his/her session at a later time. At Finish First Sports Performance, we are taking all measures necessary to prevent overcrowding and help ensure the safety of the athletes and the quality of the programs. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to continuing to serve you.

How to Schedule Workouts Using the Online System

Due to the volume of athletes currently using the training facility, and the expected returning college athletes over the summer, you will need to begin scheduling your workout sessions in advance. It is recommended that you do so online. The Finish First Sports Performance coaches will have access to the sessions calendar to see when you are scheduled. When you arrive to the facility, it is also important to use your fingerprint to check in to the system. Below, you will find the correct way to schedule online. It is also now possible to make payments online, and check your training history. Please call if you have any questions.

1. Go to

2. Scroll down the left and under “Additional Services” you will see MEMBER LOGIN—click on that

3. A new window should pop up and on that window click on ATHLETE

4. Unless you have logged into the system before, your login ID is: last name-first name, and your password is: last name. So for John Smith, his login ID would be smith-john, and his password would be smith. You will be prompted to change your password so that only you may know it—write it down and don’t forget it—if you do forget it, please let Jeremy know so he can reset it.

5. Once logged in, on main screen you will see a box/button on the right titled “REGISTER FOR CLASSES”—click on this.

6. You can register or change your scheduled time up to 24 hours before the session. Any changes that need to be made within 24 hours of the session need to be made by calling Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

The online system works best with Internet Explorer (most recent version).

Motivational Quotes

"A leader is a man who had the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do, and like it."
-- Harry S. Truman

"There is no limit to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit."
-- General George C. Marshall

"Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us."
-- From sign in SEAL training facility (Sir Winston Churchill)

"The only easy day was yesterday."
-- US Navy SEALs

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

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