"Would you say you are addicted to exercise?"
Asks my training partner / BFF / fitspo as we glue rhinestones to t-shirts in a rare non-exercise related activity.
I think carefully about my answer as I look around my apartment, which is decorated with a whiteboard detailing my next weeks training plan, along with a collage of photos taken of me at various comps over the last 18 months of being single as fuck and CrossFitting my life away. I have a kettlebell as a doorstop, and as we speak I’m entering my macros from the meal we just ate into My Fitness Pal.
Id be lying if I said no.
I’ve spent my entire life being addicted to things. I smoked cigarettes since I was a teenager (when it was cool to) and had a relatively brief but very intense meth phase. I’ve eaten a jar of peanut butter in a week (no regrets), read every book Stephen King has ever written, and have an extensive collection of money-boxes shaped like fruit people (I got one as a gift and it snow-balled). I have so many tattoos I am now getting them covered over with new ones and I’m currently trying to figure out how to get divorced in Vegas. I’m always all in, go hard or go home, not here to fuck spiders.
Basically you could say I have an addictive personality.
So obviously, if I was ever going to get into any sport ever, if would be CrossFit.
CrossFit for me has been no different than any of my previous obsessions besides one significant factor. It’s stuck. Normally I go so incredibly hard at whatever my latest hobby / interest / fixation is that I completely max out on it and never want to see it again in my life. E.g. meth. Got in massive amounts of debt, lost my job, lost 15kg…aaaand I’m done. Never touched it again except for that one time by accident. Anyway, we were talking about exercise.
I tend to forget that to some people exercise is a walk around the Tan or a yoga class. I literally plan my week around training and consider it a huge inconvenience if anything disrupts my rather rigid schedule. This is apparently a sure sign of exercise addiction, according to the most reputable source available to me on the Internet (Men’s Health & Fitness**, obviously.)
Without hesitation I meet the criteria for six of the seven signs of exercise addiction (the one exception is being prone to injury…thanks Evolutio team in Richmond!), which, according to MH&F, means that my compulsive desire to exercise is most likely affecting my ordinary life. TBH, as long as my bills are getting paid and my cat gets fed, who actually cares. Tinder is a deserted wasteland of bread-crumbers and mansplainers (there should really be a follow up blog re this situation but I’m not sure how physio related it would be?), so I may as well be at the gym than going on dates with guys who claim their favourite lift is chest press on the cable machine (what) or voice concern that I might be able to lift more than them (oh please prove to me what a big strong man you are so my previously diminished sex drive can return **eye roll emoji**).
** Side note – Women’s health magazines are for those who consider Body Pump to be strength training. I don’t really understand the point of chia seeds, nor do I want to read an article about them, or why I should be eating 1200 cal a day, and that water with lemon is considered a snack.
The other warning signs that I can closely align myself with don’t really concern me. More than one workout a day? Obviously. Low sex drive? Show me someone worth swiping right and it could well return. This MH&F article literally encourages you to skip the gym in favour of an afternoon on the couch OR online dating. These are ACTUAL suggested alternatives to exercise. This strikes me as similar to saying, Hey how about instead of being healthy and fit; you have leprosy and one leg.
Ok, so as well as being addicted to gross exaggerations, I clearly I am a bit addicted to exercise. I mean, who can argue with the genius that is a MH&F online quiz.
Who actually gives any shits though?
As I mentioned in my last blog, there’s people who do the wrong sort of exercise, or the wrong amount of the right sort of exercise or the wrong amount of the wrong sort or…that’ll do. The right sort and amount depends entirely on YOUR goals. If your goal is to simply not be gross, and all not being gross takes for you is to walk the Tan a few times a week, that’s awesome, do that. If your goal is to cut your Open placing in half and add at least 20kg to every lift in the universe, then train your dick off and weigh your food like a mad scientist.
Basically, do YOUR thing, and let everyone else do HIS OR HER thing. Walk the Tan, or max out your deficit HSPU, and if you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else then WHO CARES. Coz there’s way worse things to be addicted to than training e.g. meth, Tinder, or a terrifying combination of the two.
I know what I’m swiping right for.
Sarah currently trains and coaches out at our Wards Gym in Richmond. She's a legend and is one of a kind. She's come on board as one of our ambassadors. You can follow here instagram @sarahsfitaye which is a source of constant entertainment, with training, trying to wear dresses and videos of her anti-social cat Graham.