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Why Our Fitness Addiction Is Going Too Far

Why Our Fitness Addiction Is Going Too Far

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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