What is bigorexia?

Current lifestyle trends in South Africa are seeing more and more people move towards healthier lifestyles. There are, however, some who push their personal health and wellness goals by taking training one step too far.

Recently labelled, Bigorexia (muscular dysmorphia), is the term that has been given to body building in excess; this condition affects hundreds of thousands of men worldwide and has been likened to the reverse of anorexia.

According to Darren Jacobson, head of Personal Training at Virgin Active SA, "Virgin Active has moved away from the idea of a gym that has a core focus on body building. To us, Virgin Active health clubs are focused on the body and mind as a whole with the outcome being great health and wellness. In saying this, our equipment, facilities and new concepts are geared towards assisting people to move better and feel great."

So what is Bigorexia?

For some men, muscle development is such a complete preoccupation that they will miss important events, continue training through pain or broken bones, even lose their job rather than interrupt their physical development schedule. The condition is not only exclusive to men with some women body builders having been reported with similar symptoms.

According to Jacobson: "The condition has severe psychological repercussions on a person’s outlook of life. Very often their priorities become distorted and they become fixated on the outward appearance of their body."

"Most often these individual’s use supplementations and in an increasing number of cases steroids," says Jacobson.

"The desire to become bigger, coupled with a severely critical view of their current physiques means that these individuals are never satisfied with their shape or symmetry and will drive themselves over the edge just to get that extra striation, cut or bulge."

Jacobson confirmed that Virgin Active has a strict code of ethics that prohibits the promotion, sales or endorsements of supplementation within their clubs, having a zero tolerance policy with regards to banned substances such as steroids.

Virgin Active actively promotes the concept of movement. Striving to combat daily stresses and through movement patterns, education and motivation by their highly qualified staff work, to assist our members with movements and activities that compliment their daily challenges.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE