Demi Lovato is killing it these days—both in her career and in her personal life. The singer, who has opened up about her issues with eating disorders, self-harm, and body hate, is now making her health a top priority. One remarkable way she's putting fitness first? Working out six days a week at her favorite gym.
"This is her safe haven," Jay Glazer, her trainer, and owner of L.A.'s Unbreakable Performance Center, said in an interview with People. "Demi will be here for four hours a day. It's her one place where she doesn't have to be a pop star. She's talked a lot about her addictions, and this has become her healthy addiction. She lights up when she comes in here."
The videos she posts on Instagram of her martial arts workouts are serious #goals—but is training four hours a day necessary for good health? And isn't there a point when even an addiction to something healthy, like fitness, can take a harmful turn?
"It really depends on the person," says Brian Schulz, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, and sports medicine specialist at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. "Obviously athletes work out for hours a day because it's their job, and that's fine." But, he adds, athletes differ from most of us in two important ways: First, they are already highly conditioned, meaning that their bodies can handle more exercise. And second, they have coaches and plans to ensure they're not overtraining and hurting themselves. And it should be noted that it doesn't seem like Lovato is going full-bore that entire time; she breaks up the four hours with different types of movement (including recovery), a key to managing long workouts, says Dr. Schulz.
You can tell if you've crossed the line by paying attention to your body, Dr. Schulz says. "You're probably okay if you're not in pain, aren't getting nagging injuries, and are able to maintain good form throughout the whole workout," he explains. One sign you've pushed too hard? If you get seriously painful DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) a couple of days after your workout—you shouldn't be so sore that you're in a lot of pain. (Extreme soreness is just one sign of overtraining, check out these nine symptoms to make sure you're not overdoing it in the gym.)
But there's a darker side to over-exercising: addiction. "The main difference between simply loving exercise and being addicted to exercise is your motivation," Dr. Schulz explains. "If you're primarily working out as a way to control your body weight, size, or appearance, you may have a problem." He adds that if you feel like you "need to" exercise even when you don't feel well, get panicky at the thought of missing a workout, or restrict your food intake significantly at the same time, you should see a mental health professional.