Monday, June 1, 2015

Addiction or Nah?

As a budding sports psychologist, I know the importance of exercise on relationships. I know that exercise can make you feel better about yourself, thus leading to being happier to be around and boosting social interaction. I know that group fitness classes and running groups are great ways to meet people and increase your friend circle.


But what happens when exercise starts to become more important than those relationships?

What happens when you choose a run over a happy hour?
What happens when you miss the beginning of a friend's birthday party because you were at the gym?

What happens when a healthy goal takes precedence, takes dominance, and then takes your life?

It's a slippery slope, and I've teetered on it occasionally.

For example, I've said no to going to brunch because I would honestly prefer to go on a long run over sitting for hours drinking booze on a Sunday morning.


However, I have also said no to going out on a Friday night because I didn't get my workout in earlier, and I felt obligated and guilty.

More Giphy

One was decided on preference and happiness, and the other was decided on a feeling of duty and shame.

I think it's very important to take the time to determine your motives. If you're starting to dread your workouts, or you're finishing them feeling angry and beat (in a not-beat-because-I-worked-my-ass-off-good-way-but-rather-beat-because-my-body-is-internally-rebelling-way), then assess your regime. I'm not a doctor (yet ;) ), but if skipping workouts or even the thought of skipping workouts is making you uneasy, irritable, and/or anxious, take a step back. Sit out for a little bit. Bench yourself from the game. Or even go talk to someone.

If you take a long break, you will lose some fitness. NOT ALL - but that's just basic body mechanics. That used to freak me out. Two weeks off of running, and my VO2 max decreases by 7%!? Yeah, I used to be really concerned about that, honestly, until I realized that it meant nothing to me. 
  1. I'm not a "highly trained athlete," I'm a recreational runner.
  2. I don't even know my (then) current VO2 max, so clearly I'm not going to know A) if it decreases any or B) if that decrease is 7%.
  3. I'm already stressed about Garmin miles and paces, why add more numbers to be obsessed about?
Think about yoga. You begin softly, you warm up the body, you strengthen the body, and then at the end, you rest. The rest is built into the exercise

This blog post went from exercise addiction to the importance of rest... but I guess they're related?

Do you struggle with wanting to and having to workout sometimes?


  1. You bring up such a good point! There's a fine line between a healthy decision and a decision made out of guilt. I've struggled with that as well...definitely something to be aware of so as to not let it get out of hand in the future.

    1. Yep! I want to keep exercise fun, but I also want to push myself and get stronger, and sometimes it's like skipping a workout is "weak." As with most things in life, you've gotta find that balance!

  2. I just had this conversation with my boyfriend. We were talking this weekend about how much more relaxed I am on the weekends when I'm not in a training cycle. Being a super structured, type-A individual, I tend to have a very rigid training plan which if I don't adhere to, I tend to stress out. Now that I'm not training for anything in particular, I have a more go with the flow, oh my 10 miler is really 9... whatever attitude. It's definitely a struggle for me and something I have to work on to balance. Great post : )

    1. Thanks! And yes, when I'm in marathon-training-mode, I'm basically a drill sergeant on myself. YOU DID 14.99 MILES INSTEAD OF 15!? GO BACK OUT, RUN TO THE MAIL BOX. AND JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE, DO IT TWICE.


  3. I totally agree with you on this! Sometimes being active can make some of your social life go to the wayside. For instance, I was asked on a date this week for 8 pm and I said no because I have to get up (for my run) at 5 am! Physical fitness should take a priority in life, but it is not the be-all, is all about balance! Easier said than done:)

    1. Amen to that. We all have priorities, and part of being pro-fitness is making sacrifices and decisions for your physical health... But occasionally it can RUIN our MENTAL health!

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