Archive of ‘Blog’ Category


Overtraining and Burnout in Young Athletes

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

Overtraining and Burnout in Young Athletes

Written by the Sports Medicine team at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Overuse-Sports-Injury.jpgIn today’s society, highly-driven young athletes often struggle with overtraining syndrome. Children are often surrounded by the hype of sports and it is easy to see how a young athlete could push overtraining burnout young athletes themselves too far in their quest to be a great athlete.As one would expect, when I playfully ask my young patients what they aspire to be when they grow up, a large number respond that they dream of being an Olympic or professional athlete. While this is a worthwhile and lofty positive goal, there can occasionally be a downside. Many young athletes will take training and competing too far.

What is burnout or overtraining syndrome?

Burnout or overtraining syndrome occurs when an athlete has worsening performance despite intense training. It is believed to result from a multitude of factors, such as constant high levels of physiologic or emotional stress, fatigue, immune system failure, or insufficient recovery time.

Athletes who experience burnout may go through a variety of psychological, physiological, or hormonal changes including:

  • Decreased sports and/or school performance
  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Personality or mood changes
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of enthusiasm or ambition
  • Difficulty completing usual routines
  • Sleep changes (more or less sleep than usual)
  • Decreased appetite and/or weight loss
  • Increased injuries, illness, or infections

Is my child at risk of overtraining/burnout?

Young athletes who develop burnout typically share specific characteristics or experiences. These risk factors include:

  • Early sports specialization – focusing on one sport from a young age
  • Playing one sport, but competing on multiple teams during a season
  • Overlapping seasons without intervals of rest
  • Year-round participation without an “off season”
  • “Type A” personality including ambitious, determined, driven, intense
  • Low self-esteem and high anxiety levels
  • Parental or coaching pressure to train and compete at a higher level

How do I avoid overtraining/burnout in my young athlete?

Burnout is avoidable and treatable. Reducing the chance of burnout can start with these strategies:

  • Periodization: a process of varying the training stimulus to promote long term fitness gains and avoid overtraining. The year as a whole is taken into consideration and divided up into phases. In each phase, the workout emphasizes a specific type of training. Periodization can also be placed in the span of a single week.
  • Cross-training by varying workouts to focus on conditioning, weight lifting, strength training, flexibility, or core strengthening
  • Focus on proper sport technique
  • Slow progression and avoid rapid increase in workload or intensity
  • Proper injury treatment and rehabilitation
  • Emphasis on sports as tools for fun(!), sportsmanship, fitness, skill acquisition, safety, or education

How much exercise is too much?

Each athlete is different; therefore what is too much for one young athlete will be just right for another athlete.

Working within these specific parameters will help reduce the chance of burnout in your young athlete:

  • Maximum sporting activity: 5 days per week
  • Minimum rest: 1 day per week
  • Seasonal rest: 2-3 months off per year (1 month off every 3 months)
  • Maximum training increase: 10% per week
  • Participate on only one team per season
  • Be sure to check in with the athlete frequently. Ask about sport motivation. Is it still fun?
  • Focus on appropriate nutrition, hydration, and sleep
  • Limit tournament play

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that 30 to 50 million kids play youth sports annually. This dramatic increase in recent years is good because children are exercising and staying fit. However, it is important that parents and coaches talk with their young athletes to ensure they are working at the level that is appropriate for the athlete.


MFit Women Group Training

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog
MFit Women is a specialized training program to address the specific needs/goals of the women of Maclay School; designed to provide a comfortable environment that engages women, builds confidence/friendships, and encourages complete wellness!

Try it out and join us for our FREE Sessions:
Tuesday, June 2nd and Thursday, June 4th @ 4pm.
Meet in the Webster Center.

Summer Training
(T/Th) begins:
Tuesday, June 2nd @ 4pm
Meet in the Webster Center.

What to Bring:
Enthusiasm and Energy!
Sneakers, towel, and water bottle.

We welcome all training levels!
Training sessions are open to Maclay Female Staff, Faculty, Mothers, and Wives. If you are not affiliated with Maclay but are interested in starting/joining a group, please contact Dwan Riggins: for more information!

Summer Speed Training

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

Sport-Specific Speed Training just for you! June/July 2014. Schedule your sessions today.



The Uncommon Leader

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

“The only reason we fail in life is broken focus …something else introduced to us as an option that we choose to accept.” -Mike Murdock

Uncommon leaders stay focused!


Artistry Fueled by Passion

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

What do a musician, soccer player, and painter have in common? They are each an artist in their own right. Art is defined as “a skill acquired by experience, study or observation”. Which begs the questions: What is your artistry? What is the purpose of executing your art without PASSION?

I believe that coaching is an art, because while many may carry the title, very few are willing to neither master the skill-set nor understand the responsibility. Similarly, many athletes wish to be defined as “THE BEST” but few are willing to assert the time and PASSION necessary to achieve this level of ARTISTRY…

Eleven years ago marked the commencement of a journey to find my PASSION in sports, a strong and barely controllable emotion, or the “thing” that drives me. I was a senior in college, preparing to graduate with an opportunity to serve as an intern in Strength and Conditioning at Florida State University. I remember sitting at my desk wondering, “What impact will I make on this world?” It was important for me to define my legacy and execute it.

After about 3 months into the internship, my supervisor (coach) described me as “wet behind the ears”, a description that I initially took offense to but later welcomed as he hired me (full time) fresh out of college. It was official: I was a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a Division I school. It meant the world to me that he BELIEVED in me (when I clearly didn’t believe in myself…I WAS TERRIFIED). Eleven years of experience in the field hasn’t come without challenges, insecurities, and disappointments, but the rewards of growing and impacting a unique part of society are priceless. Not to mention all of the free Nike gear!! Annnnnndddd free trips around the country!!! I was living my dream and thrilled about the opportunities ahead of me.

Today, I continue in that passion …a passion that drives me to serve this generation, and a passion that serves a larger purpose. Why am I so passionate about sports performance training? Influence! Athletics is becoming increasingly more prevalent in our society, and as the numbers of participants increase, the potential for impacting this generation is ripe!

Interestingly enough, the same lessons that I experienced as a young Strength Coach are the same lessons I lead with today. It is an honor (that I don’t take lightly) to challenge my clients/athletes to simply get better with each opportunity they have to “get better”. CHOOSE to be great! Simple concept, yet this single decision is what distinguishes average and best. It is with great diligence that I desire to help others find their passion, but they first need to find that same desire within themselves.

At the end of their preseason training, I challenged a girls’ high school varsity basketball team and presented them with this:

1. CHOOSE what you want to accomplish this season.
2. IDENTIFY what it will take to achieve this.
3. Are you willing to DO what it will take to achieve this? (be honest with yourselves!)
4. Be PASSIONATE about pursuing greatness

I realize that coaching is LEADERSHIP. Coaching is INFLUENCE. It warms my heart to still receive phone calls and texts from former players! It is evident that at some point, and in some manner, I impacted their life (although I believe that they have impacted my life more.). At the end of each day I examine every interaction, conversation, and/or reaction I experienced with a client, student, and/or athlete. I ask myself the following questions:

-What was my investment? What did I choose to “pour” into someone’s life?
-Did my words or actions encourage?
-Did I challenge motives, work ethic, or mentality?
-Was the session conducive to learning?
-Did I maintain a high standard of expectation?
-Ultimately, did I establish an atmosphere conducive to enjoyment, growth, and fulfillment?

This daily evaluation is essential to my growth as a coach because I understand the importance that WORDS and ACTIONS have on the INFLUENCE of human life. Oscar Wilde wrote, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life”. This philosophy suggests that art sets the visual principles by which life is perceived. Thereby, coaching is just another tool to prepare kids for life. This is why I’m passionate about what I do…I want you to win!!

What is your artistry? What is the purpose of executing it without PASSION? Life (phase of earthly existence) without passion is merely existence without life (growth).

I have had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of athletes and in turn have seen every “type”: Talented but lazy. Hard worker yet lacks skill-set…you name it! However, when the rubber meets the road, the individual who flourishes in their craft is the one who simply CHOOSES to be PASSIONATE in their ARTISTRY.


The Making of a Champion: Seattle Seahawks

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

**VIDEO: A film produced by Seahawks players and coaches.


Functional Training Benefits for Athletes and the General Population

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

by Ivana Chapman CSCS

One of the fundamental changes in the fitness world for over a decade is the trend towards functional training. The term recognizes that bodies should move in natural patterns rather than in isolated muscle groups. Although the origin of functional training appears to be from rehabilitation, functional exercises provide benefits for healthy athletes and the general population.

Defining Functional Training
Functional training involves exercising through natural movement patterns, rather than forcing the body through a fixed range of motion on machines or performing isolated movements that target single muscle groups. Exercises can be performed with bodyweight, or with equipment such as kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, cables, stability balls, sandbags, rocker boards, and resistance tubes.

Primal Movement Patterns
When we look at the body’s ability to move, there are seven movement patterns that are involved, often referred to as primal movement patterns: squat, lunge, push, pull, bend, twist, and gait (walking/running). Any exercise that involves one of these movements could be considered functional (i.e., a barbell squat could be considered a functional exercise).

Benefits for Athletes
Since athletes push their bodies in multiple planes of motion, they need to train themselves to be strong in all of these movements. While a few sports (Olympic lifting, power lifting, and some track and field events) only involve one or two of these patterns, most sports involve many of these movements to be used in competition. Through functional training, an athlete learns to simultaneously recruit all major muscle groups while moving in multiple planes.

Purpose for the General Population
Functional training has become a buzzword in gyms because the exercises are time-efficient and prepare people for the physical demands of their lifestyles. Bending over to pick up a child, moving furniture, and sprinting to catch the bus are typical examples of potential demands that might be faced over the course of a day. Being prepared to complete these tasks can come through a progressive program of functional training.

Prevention of Injury
Sedentary lifestyles predispose people to weak and tight muscles that perform poorly when challenged by full range movement patterns. For athletes, the added intensity of competition can put muscles, ligaments, and tendons under abnormal strain in multiple planes of motion. Through functional training, the strength and mobility to deal with these stressors can be acquired in a balanced manner.

Training for Life
Most people want to feel stronger and more able to perform their everyday tasks with vigor and enthusiasm. Preparing the body with functional training makes bending over to pick up objects, reaching up to put dishes on a high shelf, or carrying groceries home from the store less challenging. Training the body functionally prepares it to better perform from day to day.

The body is an amazing machine, and it is designed to function as a whole rather than in isolation. While functional training appeared to be a fad a few years ago, it now seems that using natural movement patterns can improve performance in both athletes and the general population.


Structuring Resistance Training to Combat Childhood Obesity

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

by Derek Grabert MS, CSCS,*D

We have been inundated with statistics quantifying the percentage of children that are obese. Typically, these values are stratified by race, gender, socioeconomic status, place of residence, or various other demographic variables. Regardless of which statistic is most impactful to you, the take home message is that childhood obesity is a growing health concern; not a dwindling one. Children need to eat better and exercise more, we all know this. The key is getting them to adopt this lifestyle.

In the field of strength and conditioning, terms like long-term athlete development (LTAD), training age, and functional movement are often used when talking about youth resistance training. These are important aspects of youth training, but focusing on confidence, simplicity, and fun might make more of an impact.

Confidence is difficult to measure but usually results from achieving goals. 

Confidence is difficult to measure but usually results from achieving goals. Strength and conditioning coaches can motivate overweight and obese children by helping them set SMART goals, or those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Improving strength and decreasing body fat are examples of goals that are SMART. In support of these positive outcomes, McGuigan et al. found that eight weeks of resistance training was able to reduce body fat and improve measures of strength in a group of overweight and obese children aged 7 – 12 years old (3). If children are able to physically observe changes in strength and body weight, they can gain confidence that a specific mode of activity is working. Furthermore, resistance training can be a driving force to get kids active in other recreational activities. Although not measured in the aforementioned study, several parents noted that their children began an organized sport following the resistance training program (3).

Organizing a resistance training program for overweight and obese children can be difficult and unfamiliar for some coaches. However, a simplistic approach is usually the best solution. As a general rule of thumb, resistance training intensity should include multi-joint exercises, performed 2 – 4 days per week, with an intensity of 50 – 85% 1-repetition maximum (1RM). Rest intervals of 1 – 2 min should be incorporated between sets and exercises should be performed at moderate velocity (1). It is important to note that overweight and obese children may have some barriers to certain exercises and their progressions might occur at a slower rate than some of the other children. Coaches and physical education teachers need to be aware of these trends and make the appropriate exercise modifications for each child. Refer to Table 1 for exercise progression descriptions for children.

Training Variable Introductory Novice Intermediate and Advanced
Intensity Bodyweight – 50% 1RM 50 – 70% 1RM 60 – 85% 1RM
Volume 1 – 2 sets x 10 – 15 reps 1 – 2 sets x 10 – 15 reps 2 – 6 sets x 6 – 12 reps
Rest Intervals (mins) 1 – 2 min 1 min 1 – 3 min
Frequency (days/week) 2 – 3 2 – 3 2 – 4
Table 1. Resistance Training Progressions
The other component of implementing a simple resistance training program is ensuring the safety of the program. Coaches and other child/adolescent physical activity educators need to supervise these programs at all times. Attention to exercise technique is paramount to reduce the risk of injury. Sometimes the simplest technique involves little to no extra load at all; this will ensure the children learn the movement patterns before progressing to added load.

Sometimes the simplest technique involves little to no extra load at all; this will ensure the children learn the movement patterns before progressing to added load.
In addition to improving children’s self-confidence and strength, and promoting a safe exercise environment, the mode of physical activity must also be fun (2). Furthermore, different children have different ideas of what is fun. The concept of individualization within a group is extremely important for youth strength and conditioning coaches. Overweight and obese children may not progress as quickly as some of the other children and it is not fun for them to feel that their performance is inadequate. Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed at his/her own level, thus underscoring the importance of motivation and social support (3). One child might be striving for the fortieth push-up while another might be striving for their first. Although the number might be different, the outcome of self-gratification and achievement are the same.

Soccer Speed Clinic 2013

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog



Why APX360 Sport-Specific Clinics?

Every sport is unique, so it’s important to teach your body how to move and react to your sport’s game or match-like situations! APX360 will teach you how to become a better athlete by training faster (and under control), as each session will be jammed packed with explosive step-by-step methods and drills that are sure to help give you the competitive advantage.

All clinics are open to any entrants: only limited by age (10-19 years old)

SOCCER SPEED CLINIC INFORMATION: Please check back for updates.

  • Location: Maclay School (3737 N. Meridian Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32312)
  • Cost: 6-one hour sessions = $100
  • Tuesdays (5:30pm) – July: 9th, 23rd, 30th
  • Saturdays (10am) – July: 13th, *20th, 27th
  • *Please note: Saturday, July 20th: session will begin at 11am

Space is limited. Reserve your spot today!

Things to bring to training:

  • ACCIDENT WAIVER AND RELEASE FORM (required prior to training; no exceptions!)
  • Training equipment (i.e. cleats, soccer ball, basketball sneakers, glove, etc.). All participants MUST bring sneakers to preserve alternative surfaces (note: turfs aren’t considered sneakers)
  • Water bottles/sports drinks (encouraged to expedite water breaks)

Clean up Your Diet with These Five Tips

Posted by: Dwan Riggins  |  Filed under Blog

by Katie Miller, RD, CSCS, TSAC-F

Five simple tips to help clients who are trying to lose weight and integrate healthier nutrition into their lives.

1. Eat food that is as close to its natural form as possible.

This means eating a fresh apple found in the produce section of your grocery store, rather than a processed form found in a can, box, or bag. This might even extend to the pre-packaged produce section as some produce is treated with a sodium solution which adds unnecessary sodium to an otherwise healthy choice. The more obvious products found within the aisle of the grocery store can also have added sodium, sugar, and other unnecessary ingredients.

2. Eat more fruits and veggies.

Most Americans do not meet the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables as found within the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Including these foods in each of your meals will give your body the necessary vitamins and minerals required for normal metabolism, function, and repair. They also include a good amount of fiber which has been suggested to lower cholesterol, be heart healthy, and keep you regular. If you can’t keep fresh produce in your home because you only grocery shop once per month, at least choose frozen produce over the canned variety. But again, check the ingredient list to make sure you’re only buying the fruit or vegetable and not added, unnecessary ingredients.

3. Choose whole grains.

There is a whole aisle in your grocery store dedicated to breads. What really makes each loaf different from one another other than color and price? Look on the front of the package to see whether the food contains “whole grains.” Then flip the package over and look at the ingredient list. Are there a lot of ingredients you can’t pronounce or ones you wouldn’t be able to buy to make your own loaf of bread? If there are, keep moving down the aisle until you find a loaf that lists real ingredients. This also extends to other starches like pasta, pita, and tortillas.

4. Limit added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats.

Let’s face it. Convenience products (pre-packaged, ready mixes, canned foods) found within most grocery stores have lots of ingredients added to them to keep them self-stable and last longer on the shelves. But these products can definitely be useful when it is time to make a meal after a long day/night at the office. If you find yourself in need of these products, decide which ones you really don’t have time to make yourself (like chicken broth or tomato sauce) and weed out the others. But choose wisely and select low-sodium or low-sugar varieties of those needed food items.

5. Drink more water.

Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day. Water is great calorie-free fluid that helps regulate body temperature, assist in metabolism, and can assist with a healthy skin appearance. Do you find that you often drink sweetened beverages, soda, or milk-based coffee beverages? Some people would be amazed how many calories they drink throughout the day when they actually write it down. Start by replacing one of those beverages per day with a bottle of water, and choose the low-calorie version of other beverages. For example, ask for fat-free milk or sugar-free flavored syrups in your coffee drink, or select a diet soda or a smaller bottle of soda. Over time, replace more of those calorie-laden beverages with water instead. There is no exact water recommendation for everyone, but a good goal would be to shoot for those eight, 8-ounce glasses per day.


  1. United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.
The techniques and drills that Dwan has taught our players have been invaluable in our success. She has helped the players increase their speed, quickness, reaction time, and balance... Mark Krikorian,
Collegiate Soccer Coach
The holistic approach that APX360 takes in developing programs is evident and has real results- the team performs better, they work harder and they're attitudes have improved as well... Veronica Wiggins,
Florida A&M University Softball Coach
Training with Dwan has helped me get to the next level, physically and mentally. Everyday I was constantly challenged with speed drills, learning mechanics, and strengthening... Lydia Vandenbergh,
Professional Soccer Player
I will assure that APX offers you the finest training in fundamentals & technique for speed, agility, quickness, endurance & physical/ mental strength... Lavon "Mojo" Brown,
Former Florida State University Football Player
Meet Our Team