Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Exercise is great, exercise addiction is not. Looking back, I know there were times when I was a bit obsessed with exercise. These days, I like to get it done in a short period of time and then move on to the “important things” in life. Today, while doing research for my site I came across a pretty helpful study. The study is called “The Exercise Addiction Inventory: A Quick and Easy Screening Tool for Health Practitioners.”
[Exercising should be fun and feel good. There are times when you will push hard and test your body, but it should be energizing and a positive experience.]
Skip Your Workout When Something Fun Comes Along!
When I was in college I remember skipping a few last minute social events to make sure I got my workout in. It was a stupid mistake! Never sacrifice having fun with friends to get your workout in. Most of the time you will be able to do both, but if someone calls you last minute to go to a concert or a football game…get out of your workout clothes, take a shower and live a little. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Your workout isn’t going anywhere.
Make Sure You Have Other Interests Besides Working Out
People that live and breath exercise and diet every waking hour are dull as hell! I want you guys to get fit, healthy and lean so you can be in better shape to enjoy things outside of exercising. Think of high profile people in good shape. Take Hugh Jackman for instance: He does theater, acting, singing, dancing, kicks butt as Wolverine, etc. Even though he is in great shape, you don’t really picture him living in the gym. He has a well-balanced life while staying in incredible shape.
Eat Grandma’s Cooking – The Pie, Mash Potatoes, Etc.
My grandma passed away three weeks ago and I miss her badly already. During the holidays she spent hours making delicious dishes. If I could go back in time, I would have eaten even more of her amazing food. I am not saying that you should give in to every temptation that someone puts in front of you, but “pick your battles”. If you are lucky enough to have a mother, grandma, or aunt that cares enough about you to make special meals…I say go for it without guilt! Diet a bit harder the following week if you want, but don’t miss such a wonderful opportunity.
More About the “Exercise Addiction Inventory” Questionnaire
Nottingham Trent University in the UK wanted to create a simple process that doctors could use to screen patients for exercise addiction. This wasn’t really meant to prove whether someone had exercise addiction, but was an accurate way to see if further psychological examination was needed. This is a screening to find people who are “at risk” for exercise addiction.
How The Test Works: This is a test where you give a point value between 1-5. 1 means that you “strongly disagree”, 2 means you “disagree”, 3 means that you are “neutral”, 4 means that you “agree”, and 5 means that you “strongly agree”. There are six questions and you put a number between 1-5 beside each question.
1. Exercise is the most important thing in my life.
2. Conflicts have arisen between me and my family and/or my partner about the amount of exercise I do.
3. I use exercise as a way of changing my mood (e.g. to get a buzz, to escape, feel different etc.)
4. Over time I have increased the amount of exercise I do in a day.
5. If I have to miss an exercise session I feel moody and irritable.
6. If I cut down the amount of exercise I do, and then start again, I always end up exercising as often as I did before.
What the Numbers Mean: Unfortunately, I didn’t find a definitive answer on what the overall score means. Other than this…”if you show a tendency towards agreeing with most of the questions, perhaps you need to seek help”. This is just a brief screening tool, but could be used to see if further steps need to be taken.
Bottom Line…Getting In Shape Shouldn’t Be A Huge Sacrifice
There are a lot of ways to get in great shape, my recommendation is to design a workout that fits around your lifestyle…not the other way around. You may need to make a few accommodations to fit it into your weekly routine, but it shouldn’t be anything drastic.
Note: Brad Pilon has another post I agree and fits in well with the whole idea of exercise addiction. He talks about Obsessive Compulsive Eating, which is similar to exercise addiction from a diet perspective. You will love how he simplifies diet…Nutrition 101.