Athletica Nervosa


I caught a BBC report on Athletica Nervosa

“The laddish culture promoted by men’s magazines has spawned a new medical condition: athletica nervosa, or an obsession with exercise. The condition is already known to affect young women, but research by Winchester University is thought to be the first British study to link the phenomenon to men.”

A recent study by researchers at the University of Florida showed that young men’s beliefs about the perfect body shape had changed over the past two decades, moving towards a much more muscular ideal.”

I recall sitting in a sports psychology lecture a few years ago, i knew that today we had a guest speaker (who apparently was advisor to a certain large sports body) the subject today was athletica nervosa/exersize addiction and steroids. When the speaker walked out it was a skinny fat man who went on to warn us of the dangers of exercise compulsion. Now i like the stick to a training program otherwise success is too hard to come by. According to his research most athletes suffer from near eating disorders and strict dietary controls, now the athletes ive worked with have strict control of their diets and do have concerns about their body composition i would consider this normal, the lecturer believed otherwise. The lecturer believed over usage of the gym was paramount to addiction 2-3 times a week was “enough”. Now i can see why nutritionist’s, strength coaches have such a hard time when people like this are helping the individuals with strings and money with programs for elite sports.

Athletica Nervosa Is a disorder that is most often recognized in competitive athletes, but it can affect anyone with a preoccupation with weight and/or diet. It occurs when someone is obsessed with exercising and will do so in an amount of time or intensity that is beyond normal. Although exercise and nutrition are an important part of daily activities one must understand that there is a healthy limit to everything we do. Someone who is suffering from Athletica Nervosa will force themseleves to exercise to control a body image that is often distorted by their own perception. Even though Anorexia Athletica is not yet considered a medical condition it still goes hand in hand with other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Compulsive Exercising.

Do you really think this is a problem in Britain? Not from the looks of it!

According to The Times “The emergence of athletica nervosa comes despite a slump in some parts of the lads’ mags sector. Loaded – the publishing success story of the late 1990s – lost nearly 30% of its circulation in the second half of 2007 as circulation dropped by 47,000 year on year.

FHM shed 56,114 sales and Maxim lost 53,034 sales. However, sales of Men’s Health are stable.”

In britain we are so afraid of harm coming to athletes (especially young ones) in this country, we get them to stick to “sports training” avoid weights and controlled diet. The number of people with the condition is very small, im happy more people are getting fit. I just wish the gym’s would’nt push them into their Cardiocracy and open up larger weights area’s with well paid coaching staff. Instead of giving air time to the idea we’ll become a group of exercise addicted junkies.

Additionally the BBC personal trainer called BMI a valid method of tracking body composistion. I nearly threw my Tea at the TV.


Will Wayland


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