Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Fitness Obsession: Crossing the Line
Some people do things that are very unhealthy in an effort to improve their appearance like abusing steroids and drugs, starving themselves, or developing eating disorders. Years ago I overheard a body builder talking about how he was totally into the sport and how it consumed his life. He said he finally got to the point where he won a contest. He came home with the trophy and when he saw his wife and young son, he realized that he had been blowing his money on steroids and supplements and spending all day at the gym. He had been neglecting his family and focusing all of his efforts on himself. He said he gave up the competitive aspect of the sport that same day because he didn't like what he was turning into.
Maybe you don't abuse your body, but you just spend too much time working out. There are a few people I always see at the gym no matter when I go there. They must live there! Unless you are an employee of the gym or training for Mr. Olympia or the Olympics, you probably don't need to spend hours there every day. You can get a killer workout in half an hour.
Exercise is a healthy activity, but some people can get addicted to it. I don't think that I'm addicted to exercise, but there have been many times when I've gone to the gym to play basketball and I didn't have a lot of time so I'd tell myself I was just going to play for 30-40 minutes. Two and a half hours later I'd finally leave and would be angry with myself because I couldn't stop playing when I told myself I would. By the way, that's also a great recipe for getting yourself in the dog house.
I think exercise, proper nutrition, and being physically fit are crucial to one's quality of life, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Training too much without scheduling time to rest can cause fatigue, burnout, and set you up for injury. Does your life evolve around the food you eat or a diet or any particular fitness philosophy? If you feel like your fitness quest has turned into an unhealthy obsession or if your life is out of balance, then it might be a good thing to take an inventory and see if you are really headed where you want to go.
Most Americans need to be pushed to get off their butts and do more for their health, but there are some out there who need to relax a little in order to overcome their obsession with fitness. Remember that physical fitness is only one aspect of overall good health.