'I've been living with this for over 20 years' - The rise of 'bigorexia'

'Bigorexia' is the name widely-given to an obsession with gaining muscle
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.41 10 Mar 2022

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'I've been living with this fo...

'I've been living with this for over 20 years' - The rise of 'bigorexia'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.41 10 Mar 2022

Share this article

One man who suffered from a form of muscle dysmorphia says men need to talk about what's in their head.

'Bigorexia' is the name now widely-given to the condition that is seen mostly in young men and boys.

More and more men are becoming obsessed with hitting the gym and gaining muscle.


Keith Russell is the creator of mental health podcast 'The Endless Spiral'.

He told Lunchtime Live he never even knew what this was.

"I only came across even the term body dysmorphia or muscle dysmorphia around this time last year.

"Once I researched it, I discovered that I've been living with these conditions for over 20 years.

"It can be physically and it's mentally exhausting.

"There's so many traits that you could see other people doing, which you might think they're just vain.

"But when you look back at certain situations you realise - I realise - that I've been living with muscle dysmorphia for a long time".

He says this can affect his everyday approach to living.

"Constantly looking at yourself in the mirror, not going to social events, or not wanting to take your jumper off are these type of things that you can kind of link back.

"It affected my every day, and it would affect my thoughts all the time.

"You'd wake up in the morning, you'd be worrying about if you had to go somewhere that day and what would you be wearing.

"You'd be worrying about who's going to be there if they hadn't seen you in a while.

"Even later on in life when I had kids, I didn't want to take my kids to the swimming pool.

"If it was sunny out I didn't want to just go in a t-shirt, I'd have to wear a baggy shirt over it.

"Even sitting in traffic in a car, I didn't like when people pulled up beside me because I didn't like my side profile".

He believes muscle dysmorphia is mostly prevalent in men, and they need to talk about it.

"It seems to affect men more - and there is a stigma there.

"Most men, like myself, will go undiagnosed with this for a long, long time.

"So it can be very hard to approach someone about it or might be hard to see someone who is suffering with this.

"For me personally I wore a mask - and I don't mean a physical mask - I wore a mask that I was fine all the time.

"And everyone tells me... I looked perfectly normal.

"So on the outside, it can be probably hard to understand - and obviously for men, they don't talk about these topics, they don't share so no one else kind of knows what's going on in your head".

'I've been living with this for over 20 years' - The rise of 'bigorexia'

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People affected by issues raised in this article can contact Bodywhys on 01-210-7906 or e-mail

Main image: Keith Russell. Picture via @Keith_Russell on Twitter

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Bigorexia Gaining Muscle Keith Russell Lunchtime Live Muscle Dysmorphia The Endless Spiral

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