I love Fitness! There’s nothing that I enjoy more than putting on a pair of headphones, thumping my favorite tunes, and getting a great workout in. Working out is something I’ve used for years to help cope with life’s several challenges. It’s the most underrated form of stress relievers out there. In many respects I find myself getting irritated when I’m having a crappy day and it seems like everything is trying to stop me from getting my long sought after pump.
But, the question is, is too much “Fitness” unhealthy? In short, yes. Too much of anything is unhealthy. There’s a fine line between dedication and obsession. Obsession is when things can get a little rocky and you can find yourself ruining your mental stability by the very means you chose to build your mental stability.
Obsession is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. Dedication is the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose.
So what’s the difference?
The main difference between obsession and dedication is that with obsession you can’t stop thinking about it even if you want to and your behavior is compelled, it’s outside of your conscious control, whereas with dedication you think about it all the time because you want to and your behavior is determined by your own freely willed choice to pursue that path.
Many fitness junkies refer to their gym sessions as “me time.” And while it’s true that working out has proven to be an effective antidepressant. The real issue could be you’re avoiding life’s bigger issues. That’s a perfect recipe for exercise to become an unhealthy addiction. Rather than addressing the real issue or seeking treatment you’ll go to the gym multiple times a day instead of confronting the underlying issue. It’s ok to hit the gym to find your center for the day and allow you to clear your head. Just keep in mind it won’t make issues in your life disappear.
For those of you about to embrace the fitness lifestyle this new year my advice is this, LIVE A LITTLE! If there’s a holiday spend it with your family, eat the pie, and don’t punish yourself. It’s ok to hit the gym on a holiday if that’s part of your daily routine. But don’t sacrifice time with your loved ones to do so. The gym will always be there but someday they won’t be.
If you spend more time training than with other people, that might be a sign of an unhealthy relationship with exercise. There are plenty of ways to rationalize your devotion to the gym. If you’re training for something or some form of competition, it’s understandable that you’d be ditching weekend drinks with your friends.
I’ve lost a ton of friends because of my lifestyle. People feel that I may be a stick in the mud because I’ve chosen a lifestyle of healthy habits and physical fitness but that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. I enjoy a good cocktail too, just in moderation.
Taking care of your body is just one piece of the puzzle to being mentally and spiritually strong. Find time and spend it with friends and family, explore new hobbies, and take part in social events.
Don’t starve yourself. I made the huge mistake of jumping on the Keto train and losing a ton of muscle mass in the process. Look, there are a billion different diets out there. Ignore all that bullshit and pay attention to your macros and eat clean. Burn more calories than you take in and you’ll be fine. Carbs are not the devil!
Don’t spend all afternoon in the gym either. Prioritize your life and practice time management. Long gym sessions every now and again are fine. But if you find yourself essentially living at the gym, you may have stumbled into an unhealthy obsession. One hour to an hour and a half a day is plenty. Quality over quantity is key for achieving your fitness goals.
I hope this helps anyone obsessively thinking about the gym, or stressing about their fitness goals. Relax! The fitness game is not a race. Lift heavy and live a little.