Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gym Junkie

“Hi! My name is Boonsky and I’m a junkie, a gym junkie.”

Like a drug addict or substance abuser, I have always got endless excuses for my incessant abuse and indulgence. It all started during my college days. In the beginning I pumped iron to pack some muscle onto my stick-like frame. After joining the 9-to-5 club, I signed up to a gym working out regularly to kill time and to stay lean and toned. Now I hit the gym at my office every weekday evening in order to avoid the rush hour traffic. On top of that I also swim twice a week and log about 20k running a week.

It is simply amazing how I turned elated after each gym session. I practically am basking in the post workout glow. I’ll be high on dopamine, endorphin and testosterone. Dopamine induces a sense of euphoria and hope, albeit temporarily. Endorphin numbs the strain and pain of the ever-increasing workload. Testosterone gives me an extra boost in the ladies department. Totally a happy camper!

Therefore, I supposed somewhere along the line I got hooked. If I don’t get my workout fix, I’ll be feeling like shit. Something just doesn’t seem right. I’d feel lethargic, I’d lost my appetite, I’d have trouble sleeping that night, I’d run on an extremely short fuse and snap at anyone within a 10 ft radius around me.

In order to indulge in my habit, I’d sometimes reschedule dinner plan with friends or call in for a rain check last minute. I had declined invitations to happy hour altogether just to ensure I got my gym shot. I should have seen these red flags so long ago. But I was in denial.

My obsession turned severe when I avoid any form of communication, even eye contact in the gym. In fact I’d be annoyed if someone trying to make small talk while I’m doing my bench press super set. I just want to be left alone doing my weight regime, sweat it out, hit the shower and get out of there, preferably without uttering a single word.

My road to recovery began over a weekend in last October. I recently enrolled in the sign language weekend class at the Y in town. I normally do not go into town during weekends. Then the thought came to me on my way to class on that fateful Saturday: I should have packed along my gym bag and get my gym fix before attending class, as the Y is just a stone throw from my gym. Brilliant, I can pump more iron! On Sunday night, I sat idly in front of the TV as the Monday blues crept in slowly. I suddenly rejoiced and looked forward to going back into office the next day, because I can go to the gym after work tomorrow!

At that moment I know I have a problem and I need help.

Quitting cold turkey is tough. It’d send shock waves to my system and the withdrawal syndrome would be too much to bear. I still go to the gym daily but I dial it down a couple of notches on the intensity. Later on I hope to slowly cut down the number of days. Oh, and I started talking to people in the gym.

Well, just taking it one day at a time.

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