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Your source for CHS news


Students, coach weigh benefits, harms of gym addiction

Pahal Sehgal

For Matthew Paraboschi, self-proclaimed “gym rat” and senior, mornings are not for sleeping in. While his fellow students are most likely sleeping in the early hours before school starts, Paraboschi can be found at the gym. 

“By going to the gym in the morning before school—I know I’m always free in the morning so I can always do that—I can get home from school and do my homework immediately so I can go to bed hopefully before 10:30 p.m., or around 10 p.m., so I can get good sleep every night,” Paraboschi said. 

Paraboschi said despite popular sentiment that early mornings are a nuisance, they are actually a benefit for him.

“All my mornings are energized because I go (to the gym) in the morning before school. So before school, I’ve had three hours already awake and I feel really good,” Paraboschi said. “(Going to the gym) gives me something I can put my mind to and get better at. It’s just generally healthy for anyone to exercise and getting out there and getting moving. I used to be on the wrestling team, so when I stopped wrestling this was a way to keep pushing myself as hard as I could and I really liked that.”

Sophomore Arjun Yadav said going to the gym has brought him some of the same benefits as Paraboschi. 

“Going to the gym has usually made my life less stressful as I’m just able to blow off some steam and I really enjoy it as I can just focus on myself and self-improvement,” Yadav said. “Soccer is the main reason why I go to the gym. Being in the gym really helps my joints like my hip flexors and other things that are necessary for soccer like your core, your achilles, and also just focusing in on different periods of the day and just being focused as a person when I’m in my physical activity.”

Aaron Bosket, strength and conditioning coach, said he agrees with Yadav that going to the gym brings both physical and mental benefits to an athlete. 

“Physically, (going to the gym) overall raises your physical work capacity to do more work in a given amount of time by being physically fit,” Bosket said. “Also from an injury prevention standpoint, if I have stronger muscles around joints, I’m going to be able to offset some things that could happen and reduce the likelihood of it. If I do get hurt, it has been shown in studies that you come back faster from injury having strong muscles around joints and improving the connected tissue strength as well. As for mentally, doing hard things is always a good thing, for anybody.”

However, incorporating the gym into a regular, everyday activity is harder than it may seem. As a soccer player for the CHS Men’s Soccer team during the fall and Hoosier FC in the spring, Yadav said he often finds himself juggling a delicate balance of soccer, going to the gym, academics, and various other aspects of his life. 

“I like to balance different aspects of my life with going to the gym by usually doing some homework and then going to the gym as a reward just to take the stress out of my life and going to the gym on the weekends is usually easier unless I have sports practice,” Yadav said. “I’m taking a lot of harder courses at CHS; therefore, I really need to balance my time. Sometimes I spend too long in the gym and sacrifice some sleep, or vice versa.”

Paraboschi said he also had similar problems as Yadav before adjusting his schedule.

“I used to not sleep enough. I would be waking up at 5:30 a.m. for the gym and going to bed at 11 p.m. to midnight, and I would feel awful throughout the day, so I just started to make changes and cut back and gave myself more time to sleep,” Paraboschi said. 

Zoe Tu and Siri Byrisetty

Bosket said it could be challenging to find balance.

“You have to make time for it if it’s something you’re really into. I think you have to be good at budgeting your time—say, if you know you can’t exercise in the evening, you may have to try to fit it in in the morning. You just have to be good at budgeting your time, really,” Bosket said. “I would also say that you can also break up fitness and workouts; it doesn’t have to all be in one session. It can be broken up throughout the day. You can take a walk in the morning, you can take another walk at noon or whenever you can, and then maybe you go to the gym for a quick session—for half an hour even—in the evening, whatever works. It doesn’t all have to be thrown into one session.”

Bosket also stressed the importance of sleep for regular gym-goers. He said the greatest consideration “gym rats” have to take into consideration in their everyday lives is the amount of sleep and rest they get. 

“It’s well-documented that society as a whole doesn’t sleep enough. So I would say, (the) number one (consideration) would be (to) get enough rest,” Bosket said. “The training that you do, whatever it is, that in itself doesn’t make you better. It’s the recovery and the adaptation process in repairing the breakdown (that makes you better). The body only knows survival, so if you’re going to break the body down, the body intuitively says, ‘I’ve got to build you back up because if you’re going to beat the crap out of me, I have to survive this, and I have to build myself up stronger.’ So, the body repairs itself at sleep, at rest.”

Although Paraboschi and Yadav said they didn’t find any explicit harms from going to the gym other than possible injuries and issues with time management, Bosket said addiction to the gym could be dangerous and encourages people that want to start going to the gym to seek out qualified, professional help. 

“People get addicted to (exercise) and overdo it. Runners, for instance, can run too many miles a week. That pounding on the body does take a toll. Anybody who lifts weights too heavy too often, that takes a pounding on your joints too,” Bosket said. “Seek out qualified information—maybe it’s the Internet—but know what source you’re getting it from. Don’t just look on there and take the first thing you think looks cool because that isn’t going to work. For certain, overuse and overdoing anything will just beat the crap out of you and cause you to go see the doctor. You have to know what you’re doing with your training.”

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