The Exercise Junkie; (1) Teacher's Hell as Her Fitness Fanaticism Left Her a Physical Wreck (2) 'I Dare Not Do Aerobics, It Would Be Just like an Alcoholic Having Adrink'

Daily Mail (London), October 10, 1996 | Go to article overview

The Exercise Junkie; (1) Teacher's Hell as Her Fitness Fanaticism Left Her a Physical Wreck (2) 'I Dare Not Do Aerobics, It Would Be Just like an Alcoholic Having Adrink'


Byline: ANNE SHOOTER

EVERY bone in her body ached and every muscle was sore from hour upon hour of exercise.

But there was no way teacher Jackie Pugsley was going to allow herself a rest.

Ignoring the pain, she dragged herself from the sofa, slipped into shorts, T-shirt and trainers and began another gruelling two-hour run.

Miss Pugsley, 33, whose compulsion to exercise has led to numerous hospital stays and treatment in an addiction clinic, told yesterday how her determination to be super-fit took a terrible toll on her health.

`I thought I was in control of my body and of the exercise but in the end the exercise took control of me,' she said. `It always came first - nothing else was important.

`It's so ironic. People think they can get really fit through exercise, but all it has done is made me unfit and unable to work.'

At the peak of her training, Miss Pugsley was devoting six hours a day to exercise - with work and relationships pushed into the background.

`I felt I could never let a day pass without exercise - there was no way I would miss going to the gym even if I was ill,' she said. `I even took my holidays at health farms and worked out all the time.

`My body began to take a real battering but I didn't listen to it.'

Each day, Miss Pugsley would wake at 5am and ride an exercise bicycle for two hours before starting work at primary school. During her lunch break, she would take an hour's walk and after school would run for two hours before visiting the gym for a three-hour workout.

`In 1991 I missed just two days exercising when I had stomach bugs,' she recalled. `When 1992 came, I was determined to work out every day - and I did, between two to three hours a day.

`I bought an exercise bike so I could exercise at home - I didn't even miss Christmas Day. …

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