I’ve got a scenario for all you gym bunnies.
Imagine, for a second, somebody said to you “you can’t ever train again”. Maybe you injured yourself or, I don’t know, all the gyms in the country burned down overnight and you’re told you will never be allowed or be able to train again.
What would you do?
Of course you’d probably cry for 3 days straight and start building a shrine for your #gains. That’s a given.
But my real question here is – what would you do?
Where else would you invest that time and those energies that you spend in the gym?
And do you, truly and honestly, have anything else that you like to do?
If your mind and face are currently completely blank; if your answers to these questions are a long, uncomfortable silence, I’m afraid we have a problem.
I meet way too many people who are gym-crazy. It seems to be all that they do, think and talk about. You all know how great I think it is to be committed and motivated, but you have to find the line. You have to be able to turn it off.
Going to the gym and staying fit is a huge part of our lives, and I’m not telling you that that’s not okay and that the gym shouldn’t be one of your favourite hobbies. Hell, I spend waaaay too much time in the gym sometimes purely because I love the atmosphere and like to take my time with training and enjoy it. But the important thing here is that it’s not everything.
And you mustn’t let it be everything.
A healthy obsession?
I think because everybody associates the gym and fitness with a strong and healthy lifestyle, any sign of obsession with it is completely overlooked and gets adorned with positive-sounding words like “commitment” or “dedication”.
But apply this level of infatuation to any other habit, red warning flags would pop up and we’d be calling it obsession.
Just because it’s a “healthy habit” does not mean that you cannot become addicted to it, or that being addicted to it is a good thing. Eating carrots is healthy. Eating nothing but carrots every single day and stressing out when there’s no carrots in the supermarket because you don’t know what else to eat is not healthy.
See my point?
And I sometimes worry about this, because it would break my heart for one of you to find yourself in this situation where you can’t train and realise that, actually, there’s nothing else that you love. That you’ve become so addicted to the gym that you don’t know what to do with yourself anymore. You go to the gym to improve yourself, right? So what about all those other bits of you? Don’t you want to work on your creativity, or your generosity? Your patience? Your adventure?
There’s two things I want you to do.
1. I want you, right now, to think of five things that you love to do. Five hobbies. Five passions. Five interests. The only rule is: they can’t involve the gym.
Go. Write them down.
How did you find that? Easy? Or did you really struggle to think of something? Think about how this makes you feel.
2. Now, I want you to start doing these things more often. Five minutes every day. Or even just once a week. Find what you love, and do it. Don’t be that guy who, when asked what he/she likes to do, replies with “workout and sleep”. I know it’s important to you. It’s important to me too. But there is so much more to this life than locking yourself in a gym for 2 hours every day.
Let it be a big a part of your life, but don’t ignore all of those other things that you love.
Don’t let it swallow everything else.
Don’t let it be everything.
If you liked this, check out my post “Committed or Obsessed: How Healthy Am I?” which covers the topic of obsession with the gym.
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Photo credit: Stevie Purves