Addiction to Fitness is BAD

I got annoyed with this earlier this summer but didn’t want to call it out right away because it’s based in a local gym and I don’t want to be that guy that picks fights with our neighbors.

I’ve redacted the name of the class, but here’s the copy from the ad I saw (emphasis mine).

REDACTED is an emerging leader in group fitness, inspiring people from all walks of life to a lifestyle of better health and overall wellness. REDACTED transforms old school aerobics into a highly addictive new fitness experience that combines simple, modern fitness techniques (i.e. HIIT, plyometrics, etc.) with music you know and love. This results in a high energy, INTENSE and crazy fun workout that leaves participants feeling HIGH and wanting moreGET ADDICTED TO FITNESS!

Addiction is a real problem. It’s in the DSM. Amy’s a brain doctor and had a really long rant about this too - I just didn’t copy it all down.

You shouldn’t want to become addicted to fitness. That’s not healthy.

Yes, the dopamine spike from a HIIT workout feels good. Yes, that’s why people keep coming back to those workouts. But it’s still not healthy.

You should train to improve yourself. You should train to get stronger and be healthier. You should train because it’s a net positive in your life. Not because you’re addicted to it.

I know the above was just marketing copy, but I’m still annoyed. As a culture, we’re addicted to too many things, hyperpaletable food, our iPhones (or Androids for you weird folks), social media in general, sugar, coffee (Well, I guess that’s okay, I can quit any time I want. I swear!). Most of that has been designed to trick our brain so that we can’t let go. We shouldn’t be proud of designing a workout regimen that also leaves your brain craving more. We should just be satisfied with our life, that seeking circuit in the brain just leaves people feeling bad.

Rather than being addicted to the gym, just make it a part of your life, part of your schedule, something you just do. Don’t skip, make it a habit, but also don’t think of yourself as a lesser person if you do miss. The gym shouldn’t be a source of anxiety, it should be a place where you want to go and leave feeling better than you did when you came in.

The addiction is what makes a successful business, I guess.

Michael Deskevich