As we all have experienced at some point in our lives, too much of any good thing can cause damage. Training is no different, and often it shows up in the form of muscular dysmorphia or bigorexia.
What do I mean by this? Most people train to feel better in their bodies and succeed to various degrees with the right training. However, a few select ones (like yours truly) become so obsessed with their physiques and training that it causes harm to themselves and their environments. They never feel enough, and base their entire existence on the next workout, meal, protein shake, etc. No result is good enough to the point that they end up doing serious damage. In more harmless cases, the subject will not leave the house without a pump (guilty!). In more serious cases, athletes will only leave their house to train or shop for food, and quit all of their social activities as it’s often thought of as being detrimental to their progress.
It is unfortunate how often I run into athletes with these problems. Bodybuilding is a strange sport where there are no world records to measure yourself against. Because of this, there is no end of perfect physique. This could be a good thing for the focus becomes about the journey of the sport and not the results, but it could also hurt and frustrate athletes as they are forced to chase a moving target.
What is to be done, as Lenin would say?
1. Keep some old and preferably unflattering pictures of yourself as a reference point to how far you have come.
2. Track details of your strength development; very often, clients are shocked when I tell them that their strength has tripled in a certain exercise.
2. Make some non-fitness friends so the conversation does not always stir around the latest bodybuilding video or protein powder recipe.
4. Develop some non-fitness interests; outdoors would be ideal.
5. Stay away from all fitness activities (even this awesome blog) for at least 1 day a week.
6. Realize that there is a whole big world outside of the gym that is waiting to be explored (with an awesome physique, of course!).
Until next time,