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Is addiction to Exercise bad?

Are you becoming too addicted to exercise?

So it’s pretty clear that we fully advocate a healthy lifestyle. Feeling better from the inside is almost certainly going to give you more confidence which in turn will make you feel better on the outside. Our clients are amazing everyday people, those who want to lose weight, want to tone up or even just know they need to increase their daily exercise, but when does this commitment to being healthy turn too far in the opposite direction and become an addiction that can become unhealthy?

For most of our clients the key to them enjoying group training or personal training sessions is promoting balance in their life. The end outcome isn’t always having a ripped core or being able to run a marathon, but might be something as simple as not feeling as puffed when they walk up the stairs at work. We all have different goals and different levels of motivation to help get us there. With that in mind, when do you start to differentiate enjoying your fitness program compared to fitness starting to take over your whole life?

Are you wiling to sacrifice long term friendships?

One key sign to addiction to exercise is that your friends and partner will start to become frustrated.  Your lack of enthusiasm at being social with others will be the fuel for this fire. You WILL lose amazing friendships, maybe not straight away… but the more you turn down friends social offers of catching up the more your friends will become annoyed and distant. Or has this already started happening to you? If it has hopefully you will see this as your intervention.

Are you training more then twice a day?

To promote a healthy lifestyle we absolutely approve of people moving more. But when do you start crossing that line to being obsessed? This is unfortunately a big grey area and not every answer will be correct for each individual. There are lots of variables which need to be taken into account for example… what are your goals? What intensity are you training at? How active are you during the day whilst at work?

If you’re wanting to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle then we would definitely recommend taking 20-30mins a day and enjoying some brisk exercise.  For example a walk around the park in your lunch break, walking the dog, heading out for a light jog. Not every session that you train needs to be about you living in a pool of sweat for the duration of your exercise. Not only do these ideas of exercise help with weight loss and maintaining your current weight, but over time it will start to increase your inner happiness and you will feel less stressed.  However, if you are obsessing about missing a training session to enjoy a special dinner out with a loved one then potentially some alarm bells should start ringing. If you’re needing to exercise 3 times a day without fail and without adding a rest day to help your body recover then your alarm bells should start ringing.

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Are you calorie counting to excess?

In some instances calorie counting is required to help someone get to or maintain a specific goal but when does this hit the extreme? We are nearly on the brink of people gaining eating disorders based on the obsession of how many calories they are eating. To an extent I agree that it’s great to know how many calories are for example in 2 slices of bread.  This however is more based on continual learning so you can more easily monitor your daily intake and know when you’re eating to excess. If you’re starving yourself all day so you can stack up your calorie count to be able to binge drink and eat for the night then this is NOT ok. This will massively play up with your metabolism.  However starving yourself for a whole day is only going to make you want to consume as much food and drink once you do start your evening.

Are you giving up vital hours required for sleep and instead training?

If you’re someone like me, I need typically in between 7-8 hours of good quality sleep a night to ensure I can perform at my maximum output. So my first step with a client is to usually find out a) how are they sleeping and b) how many hours of sleep do they require to feel fully recharged and ready for their day. I know for my personally if I get anything less than 7hours that my feelings for the whole following day are sluggish and mentally hard to push through. You can’t live your life on small scales of sleep.

Everyone requires different amounts of sleep. With such busy lives though, many people are now opting to forgo an hour of precious sleep to instead get up and utilise that time to do more exercise. It might seem to be the easiest alternative to squeezing in more exercise but is it the best choice for your overall life and body? You really should be looking at your full daily schedule and then seeing where you can make adjustments across your day to ensure cutting into your required sleep is the last possible option. Sleep is important to help with weight loss, help the body recover and most importantly allow you to feel rested so when you do train you can give 100%.

If however you are already training once a day, but then sacrificing sleep to cram in another training session than this could be a sign of exercise addiction starting to take place.  Don’t lose good quality sleep in turn for extra training. In the long run you will feel more exhausted and prone to becoming sick. What period of sleep makes your body feel the best when you wake?  This is what you should be focusing on.

So what’s the conclusion?

So there you have it, we absolutely believe that exercise can become and addiction and can also hold a negative impact on your life. Like anything, balance is key to life – with exercise and fitness being just one of those extensions that also needs to be balanced into your daily schedule. Don’t stop living life and don’t stop enjoying the things you love to do all because of your fitness journey. Love your friends for who they are and not the flaws you may now be seeing just because you have started a different journey to them.

Balance is key to ensure work, health, sleep and life are all working harmoniously together.  Be aware of the signs of over commitment to exercise and crazy diets and just attempt working on creating more balance within your own skin.

Until our next chat …

In health | love | fitness and life be good to yourself and all those around you,

Brenton Wells
Whoosh Fitness

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