Research Review: CrossFit, Exercise Addiction, Body Dysmorphia, and Anxiety

April 28, 2022 by
CrossFit Level 2 Seminar at CrossFit Vauxhall | Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC


In a paper published just last week, researchers in Brazil set out to evaluate the prevalence of exercise dependence, muscle dysmorphia, and trait (chronic) and state (acute) anxiety in CrossFit gym members. The researchers acknowledged that while exercise can improve body image and wellbeing, when practiced compulsively, it can have the opposite effect. Anecdotally, if you have been in the fitness industry for a long time, you have certainly observed compulsive exercise habits in the gym setting.

Exercise dependence (ED) is a disorder in which persons exercise excessively and obsessively to a point of dependence and, often injury or illness. It goes beyond infatuation or interest in a new hobby. It is a compulsive problem.

Muscle Dysmorphia (MD) is a psychological disorder characterized by the preoccupation with the idea that one's body is not lean and muscular. It is more common in men than in women.

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