Workout on your mind

You wake up every day and have a plan in mind that involves a workout. You follow these plans no matter how tired you feel, squeeze them in no matter what events you have scheduled for that day, and even make it a point to exercise while on vacation, when you’re sick, or even when your injured.

While regular exercise is healthy and recommended, there can be some grey area of possibly exercising too much.


Thankfully there are some ways to spot if your exercise obsession is healthy, or one that really may be doing more harm than good.

Lets start with the definition

While most people think exercise addiction is being in the overtraining mode, it is actually quite different. Exercise addiction is a chronic loss of perspective of the role of exercise in a full life.

An addicted individual will overvalue exercise and have issues partaking in activities that do not give them the benefit of working out. This individual will also continue to exercise during illness, add additional hours of training to their routine, and will occupy all free time with exercising.

do you have an exercise addiction_3An addicted individual won’t just be spending a couple hours at the gym, but rather spending chunks of their days at the gym, sometimes up to six hours just working out.

There are a variety of traits of an exercise addict

A few characteristic traits include if the person seems anxious, agitated, and has some depression symptoms when they are not doing their workout activity. An addicted exerciser will also blow off plans to fit in their workouts and become highly consumed with the thought of exercising.

These people will also have the mentality that more is better and will ditch rest days for more prolonged hours at the gym or go out running for hours each day.

Now, this isn’t to say that every athlete, who has a career built around training and exercise, is an addict.

The personality of an exercise addict

The main difference between someone who is still healthy about exercise and an addict is the personality that comes with it. The addicts will plan their lives around their workouts, where as a healthy individual will plan their workouts to work with their life.

An addicted exerciser also has a great need for control and tend to be high achievers, meaning no matter what they will get their workouts in.

An example would be exercising outside even when the weather conditions are not safe and continuing to exercise even when they are diagnosed with an injury. Often times these exercise addicts will become ultra consumed with their food as well, looking at is at the fuel to give them energy to go exercise again.

The need to exercise

As a trainer, or an active individual, it can be very easy to fall into the need to want to exercise all day everyday because you feel better, look better, endorphins are released, and you get almost a “high” off of it.

do you have an exercise addiction_2However if you are reading this and are starting to wonder if you are addicted to exercise think about when your last rest day was.

How did you feel during that rest day?

Did you feel anxious or depressed? Or were you able to enjoy it and spend time doing other activities that weren’t exercise like watch a movie, or go out to eat with friends?

If you felt anxious and ended up working out, even though you weren’t scheduled to, it may be a good idea to talk to a therapist who specializes in workout addiction. This medical professional will be able to help you regain enjoyment in exercise and allow your body, and life, to get the proper balance it needs.

Whether you are personally addicted to exercise, or are falling into a handful of these categories take a step back and look at your relationship with exercise.

If you or someone you know needs help, talk to a medical professional who specializes in exercise addiction and make the changes necessary to get true enjoyment back into your workouts!

Connect with Expert Shannon Dolan.

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