They feel guilty if they do not jog 15 kilometers every day. They raise weights until they drop and let races appoint to train longer in the fitness center. In the celebrity district of Malibu, near Los Angeles, a private clinic has firmly included the treatment of fitness addicts in their program, and the Internet is teeming with sufferers who share their stories of suffering.
Fitness training as an escape
"In Los Angeles you can find more fitness addicts than in any other place, " says psychologist Irene Rubaum-Keller, who runs a private practice in the film metropolis: "Everybody wants to look like a Hollywood star".
Rubaum-Keller, who sees herself as a "cured addict", once practiced aerobics for two hours a day and then lifted weights. "But at some point I realized that the training was an escape for me, " she says.
Among the joggers on the beach of Santa Monica, who travel there with or without Walkman their miles, they did not hide the fellow sufferers: "There was a man who ran there every morning from six to nine, and then again in the afternoon from three to five - meanwhile he stopped jogging and became a fanatical hobby gardener ".
Until the physical breakdown
While nationwide medical surveys show that 60 percent of Americans exercise too little or no exercise, a minority in the hunt for the "right" body image is ruining their health - from sprained ankles to complete physical breakdown. Both men and women are susceptible to fitness addiction. Comprehensive statistical surveys do not exist.
Among the patients concerned, psychologists say they often treat anorexic women, former alcoholics and ex-junkies, who have chosen a "healthier" addiction.
The well-known American marathoner Richard Benyo confirms this assessment in an article on the Internet site of the "Road Runners Club of America": for some, long-distance walking has helped, a recent "negative" dependence on alcohol or cigarettes by a "positive" addiction replace.
Reino, who also considers himself "healed, " puts a ten-point catalog at risk for joggers to determine their degree of dependency. One of the questions is: "Is a day without running like a day without sunshine"?
End station isolation
As a "medical" cause of fitness addiction, happiness hormones (endorphins) are repeatedly called, which are released during intensive sports activity in the body. Psychologists, on the other hand, feel the responsibility of the addicts: "They are not able to deal with people and talk about problems, but instead they prefer to exercise, " says an expert. And in the fitness center, the isolation can even be exacerbated: "Everyone practices on their own, and one should not dare address someone on the treadmill next door, " says one student in Los Angeles.