Posted by: Gym junkie | 2008/09/29

Gym Junkies Anonymous

I have recently admitted to myself that I am addicted to cardiovascular excercise. I spend a total of 9+ hours at the gym every week. From Monday to Friday I do an hour of cardio, Saturdays I train legs and abs and do an hour of cardio, and on Sundays I do arms and abs and an hour of cardio. Combined with an irritable bowel and getting up early, going to bed rather late and constantly begin in overdrive, I am frequently tired and tend to feel the need to eat as a ' pick-me-up' . Then I feel guilty because of eating at late hours of the night or binging. I follow a healthy, balanced diet rich in fibre, fruit, veg, complex carbs, legumes, chicken, fish, little red meat, low in fat (not too low) but sometimes I go crazy and binge on either chocolate and muesli. Haha, I know...
I am quite fit and have a strong, well-defined body. I am 1.64m tall and weigh just below 50kg, so I don' t believe I NEED to excercise like I do.
I am completely convinced the tiredness and excessive excercise and little sleep are all inter-connected.
The point is that I want to change. I don' t want to constantly feel a desperate need to go to the gym, I want to relax more. Although you might tell me I should speak to a psychologist, I would like to know if you, FitnessDoc, could offer some advice about the amount of excercise I need in order to maintain my form and keep fit. Any suggestions on types of exercise, etc is welcome.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi there

You're right on most counts in your question - about the need for exercise, the sleep, your fatigue, and even what I would suggest! But it's not that simple, I know. First of all, 9 hours is not necessarily the problem - elite atheltes often do 30 hours a week and they cope fine. They're obviously pros, and all they do in between is relax and sleep, whereas we can't do that. For us, exercise is the one thing that is controllable, and so that's why you have to look at it as part, not the focus of, your daily life.

Now, in terms of what you need to maintain your current form...well, I don't know, because it doesn't seem you really have a goal. ANd that's a big issue - why are you training? I think it would help you to find a goal, a purpose behind your training that you might follow moving forward. Maybe it's time to pick a 10km running race, or a cycling event, or something, and then use that to focus your training. THen, hopefully, you'll recognize that a rest day is PART of the bigger picture. At the moment, you're just drifting and so there's no place for rest, because you don't know where you're trying to get to. So my advice is to get a goal, and then get onto a programme for that goal. That will help a lot.

You probably need 5 days a week of training, for between 45 and 60 minutes a day. That's the guideline, according to the people who study this. However, that doesn't work for many people - like I said, the elite athlete gets 10 times this, and if you enjoy training, you can easily double it. So don't worry about numbers, just rather look at harnessing whatever mental energy it is that is driving you to train yourself into exhaustion. If you can do that, then you'll solve much of the issue. Other than this, it's a decision - if you want to relax, then relax. If you want to lose that feeling of desperation, then you kind of have to just do it! I know it's not that simple, but that's where speaking to someone might help. I really would suggest it.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: b | 2008/09/29

cancel your gym subscription and seek professional help

Reply to b

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