Working out, building muscle and fitness are going too far. That seems like a big call, but some people work out five times a week and get addicted to it without having an underlying purpose. Now, don’t get me wrong, working out is the best thing that can happen to a human body, but expending all your energy building up your body just for the sake of it, or only in order to look good for a 10-day beach holiday, is definitely not healthy. It’s proving that you don’t do it for your health and the great feeling you get after a workout, but that you do for other people.

I have personally worked out for eight and a half years now, and I found myself going too far with my fitness addiction in the last two years. But thankfully that time has passed, and I have other goals now. Being healthy is one thing, but being obsessed with calories, and sugar intake, and posting photos of healthy oatmeal and shakes all the time is not healthy. It’s spammy, purposeless, and it’s taking up a big piece of your time (and time is a nonrenewable resource). Here are some tell-tale signs of a fitness addiction gone too far, and some steps you can take to pull back.

How many people would eat healthy if there weren’t any social networks?

Have you ever felt that people wouldn’t work out or eat healthy if there weren’t any social networks? That if they weren’t able to post every morning’s healthy meals, or share the pace and mileage they run via Nike Running or Runtastic, then they wouldn’t even bother to eat healthy or jog? The healthy reason for working out has been overtaken by keeping up appearances on social networks and the thrill of the cheering crowd around the performer. If you work out to be healthy and feel vigorous, then you shouldn’t make your focus in the endeavor that part of the day where you eat your meals or you do your workout.

Health is lifestyle, not an obsession

When I was obsessed with my health, I considered myself a healthy lifestyler and I surrounded myself with “healthy” people. We would meticulously check labels and aspire to specialty products we couldn’t really afford. However, I think that every human on this earth should make a difference in their lifetime. Spending time calculating calories and eating healthy without any underlying purpose is selfish and unproductive. From the individual’s point of view it’s a healthy obsession, but health is not something to think about all the time. Not only is it a pure waste of time, but it’s formulating the mindset of a purposeless human being. Good health is a lifestyle, with regular diet, dealing with problems and stress, and working out on a regular basis — without the “obsession” part. Sweating is great for the human body, but it’s not worth turning it into an obsession.

When do we know it’s an addiction?

From my personal experience, during the first two years of my gym obsession I was addicted, boring, and even toxic around other people. I was telling them that they were crazy for eating bread, sweets and chips without them even asking me for advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself starting in on the healthy lifestyle subject without being asked, trying to ram down other people’s throats how eating healthy food and working out is the best thing and they must do it, then you are addicted.

If we want to encourage others to switch to a healthy lifestyle, then we have to be a great example of what that lifestyle looks like. Obsessing, constantly posting pictures on social networks, bragging about how we eat healthy all the time and that everybody should do it, won’t change a thing. But it will give a bad example to people and possibly put them off. Instead, by feeling energetic, fresh, and cheerful around others, we give them the best example we can of a healthy lifestyle. If people want to know your secret, then you can start with your speech!

When you feel like you are going too far, try to determine what your motive is when it comes to working out or fitness. If you really want to be a healthy example for others, become a personal trainer or try to get a job in the health industry. But do it because that’s what really thrills you and that’s your vision. Otherwise you are just obsessing and wasting your time worrying about what the girls or the boys on the beach think about you. Ask yourself if you would you still work out and be obsessed with it if you were the last person in the world? If the answer is yes then you probably need to make living out of it. If the answer is no, just work out to feel good and don’t be obsessed with it.

Work out to feel good, eat healthy to be healthy, and don’t do it for others. Health is the starting point to happiness!

Featured photo credit: Santa won’t be stuck in the chimneys anymore/Berge Gazen via flickr.com

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