Monday, 17 December 2012

Addict or Athlete

My name is Allyson and I am an exercise addict…..(not)

So we had a speaker at out run clinic on Friday night speaking to us about exercise addiction.  He was an interesting speaker but I am not sure about his comments. If you run and train, you know how easy it is to obsess about your training and to over-train as your event gets closer.   Experts say that exercise addiction is not just another term for over-training syndrome.  Exercise addiction is a chronic loss of perspective of the role of exercise in a full life.  The exercise addict had lost their balance; exercise is overvalued compared to the value of work, friends, family or community.

I am not an exercise addict, I exercise because I want to, I like the way I feel and I like the way it makes my body feel.  I have been known to wake up at 4:30am to get a long run in before work or family events, I have had to cut down social activities to do my training, I work out when I am sick, injured or tired and friends and family have told me I am too involved in exercise.  I love to work out 6 days a week and I get withdrawal like symptoms when I cannot work out.  I even use exercise to improve my mood, I run better when I am mad and I run when I am stressed so I do not eat.  Based on this, I fit the definition of an exercise addict; so do most of my running/triathlete friends.   

I would say I am goal driven, I like to set goals and achieve them…it makes me happy.  I work hard to achieve my goals, I can be single minded in my focus when I get close to an event.  I think anyone who trains for any distance events has these qualities; we need them to keep us on track and to push us for the next goal.  I think it is all about balance; it’s OK to get out of balance for a short time, like before an event but if we stay out of balance for too long we could have a problem.  I know I have felt a little lost in my off season, I like it better when I have a training plan but the off season gives me a chance to re-balance my life.  I know when to work harder and when to take a day off, I know that my family and friends are more important then my workouts and they come first and I know that exercise is an important part of my life but it is not my life. 

My name is Allyson and I am an athlete....


  1. I think people what aren't "into" what we are into the way we are don't get it. I know that my non-athletic friends think I am obsessive. That's why I am so glad I have so many ENDORPHIN HAPPY FRIENDS that get me :) and yes it is addictive :)

    I actually sought some counselling this summer because I was crossing the line between "athlete" and "addict" My "exercise" was becoming more important then other things, and not getting "enough" exercise was causing me anxiety. But I have a long history with disordered eating both as a skinny young adult and an obese woman. I have an "extreme" personality and I just have a hard time finding the balance in the middle. I'm glad to say that the counselling really helped me set my head back on straight. I still need a "relax" pill and a reminder to take an extra day off every now and again...but over all I have to say that my love of SWEATY EXERCISE is a very positive and healthy thing. I want to be that white haired lady running a marathon when she is 70! :)

    Here's to our happy place :) May it always be happy :)

    1. You seem like all my athletic friends, we train hard and play hard and rest when we need too as well. I think we are all a bit obsessive, that is why we stick with it when it is tough. I love my happy place and all my friends that hang out there too!