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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:22 am 
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Hi guys n gals,

I wondered what some of you think in regards to becoming addicted to the gym.

At the moment I have a 4 day routine, the big 4 (press/dead/bench/squat) are split m/t/th/F with accessory taking up the rest/other half of the session.

This means I have Wednesday (today.. :) ) and the weekend off.

Today, I've just had a customer complain and essentially spread my name across managment as f***ing something up. Fortunately, after 3 hours of pulling my hair out, I managed to get the evidence together to debunk the entire assault and returned the favour. Now, although I am in a better mood, I'm stressed to the point of wanting a ciggerette, something which I haven't done for ages (responded to stress with a cig - I smoke cigs in lieu of pot when the situation fits it (work/needing to drive soon/"real" social events)) and it occured to me, normally if I get this stressed, I'll be fine knowing I'll be in the gym in an hours time - and I do always feel the stress melt away after a session, if I hit a single PR I'm on cloud nine for like 7 hours straight! as Wendler put it in his book, its gunna be pretty hard to take me down/clip my balls when I've just hit a couple of PRs that week.

So - im sat here, pissed off and stressed (despite the situation being resolved) and I just wish I had my gym kit with me, I might even go do 15 deadlifts and 4-5 OHPs in my work gear so I dont end up going for a smoke.

What are your feelings of gym addiction in this sense. Have you ever gone against your schedule and essentially overtrained to reduce stress, or is it simply a good idea for relieving stress, and thus the first thing we think of when trying to fix it.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:30 am 
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RobertB wrote:
I smoke cigs in lieu of pot

Here... let me fix that for ya!

RobertB wrote:
I smoke pot in lieu of cigs

There... got ya all straightened out.

Really though, don't go back to smoking cigarettes... it will do nothing but piss you off even more. Secret to *not* smoking is to 'Never Take Another Puff!'

whyquit.com if you need some additional encouragement of what *not* to do. You shouldn't really replace nicotine with *anything* else! If you do, when next time you have an urge to 'go to the gym' for stress reliever and it's not there for whatever reason, you have just given yourself an excuse to go back to taking another smoke.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:49 am 
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Yea I know - and agree, that's how I "quit" (still have the "other" issue of course so not 100% quit ) - just straight up no more cigs.

Don't worry about that part - and to be fair, I really am one of those people who can smoke 3 cigs after a drinking session or have one when peak of stress and not go back - not sure why, I struggle with not smoking the other stuff. Erg, I always feel cheap/immature refering to it! as you might be able to tell :con:


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:52 am 
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I say go to the gym, then when you get home have a smoke (dope, not cigs).

There you go, that's the ultimate in relaxation.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:08 am 
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^
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|
:salute:


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:28 am 
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robertscott wrote:
I say go to the gym, then when you get home have a smoke (dope, not cigs).

There you go, that's the ultimate in relaxation.


Hehe that's the plan, but more about wondering if you lot are similar, I shouldnt train on wednesday or weekends really, but sometimes I really want to. I know my program can be flexible to adjust for it, and again that isnt the issue/question.

its more about getting the urge to go to the gym as a response to a stressful (or even just a negative) situation. Family guy jokes about it with "Bros" :) an idiot superficial guy with his collar popped said "I dont think I was nervous, cos when I get nervous I work out, and I wasnt working out" then just looks spaced out - or they take the piss out of Mark Wahlberg(sp?) for being predictable as an angry/confused character ...he's stood on a street corner looking confused and angry, "what... HUH!!! WHATS GOING ON!!! HUH! - Man I gotta work out" :) so made me wonder if I suffer from the same issue hehe - or how common it is. Not really had it to the extent I did today - but I haven't really been that stressed for a while.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:14 am 
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I think it's important to learn to decrease your stress level without using anything external. It's easier to say than to do, though, and there's no good way to tell you how to do it. It's a matter of changing your own thinking and attitude. The simplistic way to put it is "just relax". No one can do this perfectly, but I think we can learn to do it better and better. Then you won't be dependent on cigs, pot, booze, the gym or anything else.

The issue of being "addicted" to the gym or anything else, is defined by priorities. What is more important? Would you skip important family or work responsibilities to go to the gym? If so, I think it's a problem.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:59 am 
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Iā€™m with Doc
At least some vices are good for you. I progressed from binge drinking and eating for a few years, to playing online poker, and being late for work for two years, to binge eating and spending like crazy, to finally, removing myself from much of the underlying issues (new job). Now, I want to experience life. Turning 41 also woke me up. I do my best to not let the outside effect me inside. When it does, the new vice of lifting sure beats the old days of hangovers and barfing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:21 pm 
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Generally, I get addicted to things when they're going great and the rest is comparably much worse. My humble thought is: why you don't surprise yourself and do something else entirely?

Think about your past, things you haven't done in a while (or a whole lot) and you liked doing? Maybe you can pick them up again. They can be activities or just interests, hobbies, pastimes. If this isn't helping still, in summer there's a lot of things one can do outside, from the extremely simple (take a walk) to a full range of outdoor activities you might have never even tried.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:12 am 
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I think the Doc is right...

I'm the worlds worse for leaving everything for the gym. Anything that happens, I just need to train. The past 6-12 months have been the worse. Generally I am quite level headed and can just "relax". Sometimes, though, I just get a serious hunger or NEED to train. On top of that, I get a reduction in appetite and find it difficult to eat when "stuff happens". So, increased training volume and reduced calories means I just run myself into the ground. I went through a phase of doing whatever I wanted and justified it to myself as "training for sanity". Just done what I felt like. The result was an increase in tiredness, no matter how much sleep I got. Found it REALLY difficult to get out my bed in the morning. Plus the inability to actually get to sleep at night. I was getting colds, ear infections, and cold sores constantly (but still training). As mentioned, a serious reduction in appetite. I also had quite a blatant acne break out. Strange...... Was like I was 15 again! I know there's technically no science linking stress and acne but there seems to be a link with me. Of course, under eating combined with over training, as a result of stress, could then leave you open to various nutrient deficiencies and therefore, skin is affected. Maybe it's an indirect link. Who knows.

Now, i've used the gym to relieve general stress for years, and it's never affected my like this but, in the past year, it did become a problem.

Quote:
What is more important? Would you skip important family or work responsibilities to go to the gym? If so, I think it's a problem.


And I can admit that you're right. I got some bad news, months ago (well, my mum did). All the (immediate) family were gathering at my parents house to be around each other. I had cancelled all sessions at the gym. Only thing is, I didn't tell my family this. Told them I had sessions at 7 and 8pm. It would of been frowned upon if I just went to the gym and trained but, not if I went to the gym to "work". We have always been brought up to "throw yourself into your work", when the sticks are down. So, I stayed for an hour or so then left everyone as they were all about to eat together - a rare occasion in my family. I just "needed" to get to the gym, drift into my own world, and lift. This is right in the midst of the above that I described. I knew it wasn't right but, I just couldn't help it. It was shortly after this, I decided to stop making excuses and sort things out. The last few months i've reversed all symptoms mentioned above. I feel good again. I think the gym was masking some stuff that needed addressed. It was a way of "putting things off", if that makes sense.

So, I think it's probably one of the better addictions to have. I think using the gym to relieve "every day" stress is healthy. However, if you use it almost as a decoy to avoid certain issues, problems or situations in your life, then I don't think it's healthy. It's kind of like the smoke alarm theory, lol. The desperate need to train out with your normal lifting schedule is probably the "smoke alarm". You need to make sure you're dealing with the actual fire.

KPj

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:38 am 
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Just to be clear (and honest) I don't see anything wrong with using working out as a stress-relieving technique, and I use it this way frequently. There are days when work goes late, but lifting becomes even more important than usual. But if it's the ONLY way one can deal with stress, or if it becomes an excuse for not dealing with the sources of stress it will become counter-productive.

Any behavior that persists in the face of causing negative results in one's life is pathological.

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Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:57 am 
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Smokers suppress their stress by running away from the situation and having a smoke. If RobertB started smoking early in his life, then that's how he learned to deal with it. Once a person quits smoking, they need to re-write the horribly long pattern/habit of dealing with stress and learning how to correctly and normally deal with it as non-smokers do. Simply replacing cigarettes with the gym during stressfull times does not allow him to learn anything of how to deal with stress as a non-smoker, which means if ever the gym is not an option, there will always be *nicotine* to fall back on. No amount of exercise can reverse the ill effects of smoking.

And I don't buy being able to smoke another and not go back like you said a while back RobertB, there is always a pattern, and if I had your whole smoking history, I bet I could find it. I myself thought that too... I quit smoking for 5 years, bummed a cig from a good friend on a good night of drinking, didn't go back the next day or the next, which bolstered my confidence that it could be done only socially in which I did a few times after that... 1 year down the road, I was back on cigs, full bore, 1 - 2 packs a day. My relapse can be traced all the way back to that one cigarette bummed from my friend after 5 years of a good quit.

Short answer, repattern yourself to deal with stress without any outside influences, practice that, practice it again. Once your internal stress dealing patterns are in balance, then you can start adding external influences.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:23 am 
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heard this relevant podcast the other day...
'Compass Of Pleasure': Why Some Things Feel So Good
Quote:
While most people are able to achieve a certain degree of pleasure with only moderate indulgence, those with blunted dopamine systems are driven to overdo it. Linden explains, "In order to get to that same set point of pleasure that others would get to easily ā€” maybe with two drinks at the bar and a laugh with friends ā€” you need six drinks at the bar to get the same thing."

Understanding the biology of the pleasure circuit helps us better understand and treat addiction, Linden says. It is important to realize that our pleasure circuits are the result of a combination of genetics, stress and life experience, beginning as early as the womb.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:08 am 
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jlmoss wrote:

And I don't buy being able to smoke another and not go back like you said a while back RobertB



well this will be year 9 so I'll let you know in another 20? not sure how long counts as not smoking :) Do have tobacco in joints and probably have *thinks* 3 during the week, 2-3(6-9) on fri/sat/sun - so maybe *takes socks off* 6 full cigs used in those Js. I don't smoke cigs as such with any regularity what so ever.

Agree with what you said in principle but Doc's gone over that - and as he also said, it's easier said than done - I think you're talking along the lines of enlightenment if you don't have a vice you revert to in times of stress/when you need comfort, whether its going for a walk or heroin :)

Anyway - thanks all, pretty much what I was after, especially KPJ's example, good to hear you are better with it now mate.


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