Exercise is an essential component to longevity and a healthy lifestyle. But just like with everything else, exercise needs to be in moderation. Too little exercise will be insufficient while too much exercise will be bad for you. So, how much is too much and how little is too little? As a beginner, any sort of consistent, maintainable regimen is optimal. For instance, if going twice a week is maintainable and you can do it consistently for 3 or 4 months, then so be it. If you go 4 or 5 times a week to the gym and only do it for the first two weeks, then that’s simply not optimal and not manageable.
But how much is too much? You can’t possibly be burning too many calories, right?
Read on to find out more about Erin’s story and how over-training and excessive exercise had a negative impact on her life.
Erin is a self-proclaimed addict. She is addicted to exercise. She exercises nearly 8 hours a day through spin class, running, the elliptical and also weight training.
In an interview she said that she ‘never gets tired, [I] don’t get sore, I’ll cancel plans, I’ll cancel appointments. It’s been controlling my life, I just can’t stop.’ Since the age of 7, Erin has been a competitive gymnast.
She is more than used to training three hours a day, eating whole foods and getting enough rest. But when a suppressed memory reemerged, suddenly her caloric output (her exercise) increased exponentially.
Erin’s mother recalls her daughter only ever missing one gymnastic practice and that was due to an extremely high fever. At a 103 degrees Fahrenheit, her mother says ‘that was the only time she didn’t want to go to gymnastics.’
Later in life, Erin began participating in triathlons and marathons. In her words, she said ‘I never missed a day.’
After a devastating injury where she broke her back, Erin says that within three days she was back to running up and down stairs. So it’s pretty safe to say that Erin is as athletic and energetic as anyone can be.
She says that over the past four years, exercise has no longer provided her with the adrenaline rush that it used to.
Her daily routine goes something like this: she wakes up at 5:00 AM for a run, and then she goes to work. After work she spends 2 hours on the spin bike and then a meal, followed by a snack, then another meal and then another snack. She is in bed by 2:30 am. The next day she repeats the cycle.
On top of her extreme exercise regimen, Erin reveals that she also has an eating disorder. Since the age of 15, Erin says that she has struggled with eating and body dysmorphia.
Doctors have told her that her muscles are deteriorating from over training and that her white cell count is high, her red blood cell counts are abnormal and she may also have an enlarged heart.
Erin recalls receiving a message from a female that triggered a memory she has tried to keep hidden for the past 30 years.
Erin said that from the ages of 6 to 10 years old she was molested. Erin says that that memory ‘threw her over the edge’ and since then she has been adding onto her exercise regimen.
She says that she is continuously stacking on more exercise in an attempt to forget about the ‘nightmare’ that was those four years of her life.
When Erin’s mother, Barbara, saw her daughter at the airport, she almost didn’t recognize her due to the thinness and frailty of her daughter’s face and body.
Since then, Barbara has tried to get her daughter into rehab to deal with her exercise addiction and her eating disorder. Haven Hills Recovery has offered Erin 60 days of inpatient treatment free of charge.
Erin fears that her body will break down. When people ask her ‘why can’t you take a day off?’ she says, ‘I can’t, it’s just an addiction.’