The dark side of gyms is that gyms are a haven for exercise addicts, eating disordered folks, obsessive exercise enthusiasts, and muscle dysmorphic individuals. The insecure and ego maniacs make up about 65% of gym memberships.
Exercise becomes a WAY OUT for people who are struggling with: relationships, body image, loneliness, depression, anxiety, anger, and fear. Obsessive running represents running from problems that are embedded in the subconscious. People tend to RUN away from their problems. The obsessive need to build the body way beyond WHAT IS NATURAL, represents building a fortress around a weak and insecure persona. Exercise is often used as an escape from the REAL issues. The endorphins, dopamine, and cortisol released from exercise helps relieve pain, both emotionally and physically.
Exercise is often used as a way to FIX problems. But the problems seldom get resolved, instead the person can become addicted to exercise, which creates a whole new problem.
Exercising for many hours a day could indicate that the person is obsessed or addicted to exercise.This is often the case for people who are constantly trying to control their body composition. The fear of getting fat is so overwhelming that it causes the person to constantly exercise to FIX the problem. They become overly consumed with their body. Some will become overly obsessed with calorie counting as well. There is strong emotional link between how they feel about their body, food, and exercise.
To achieve health benefits from exercise a person only needs 15-60 minutes of exercise a day 3-5 times a week. Overtraining can do more harm than good to the body. Most exercise addicts have underlying body image issues that are often hidden. They can easily get obsessed with exercise without others really noticing because since exercise is considered a “healthy” thing to do for the body others will perceive the obsessed person as doing something healthy for themselves and won’t question the obsessive behavior. However, this belief enables the person to fall deeper into their addiction, making it very hard to ever resolve.
There is a healthy way to exercise and a disordered way. Here are my suggestions to stay within the HEALTHY parameters of exercise.
1. Training session time: 15-60 minutes.
2. Frequency: 3-5 times per week
3. Take 4 days off completely from exercise every 3 weeks.
** There is an exception to these recommendation for those true athletes who follow the correct measures of periodization throughout the year for long distance sports, aka; elite marathoners, tri-athletes, cyclist. These folks tend to follow the proper nutrition and restoration measures necessary to sustain their activity.