It can affect people as early as age twelve and it is difficult to diagnose considering that many train for athletic events and already spend hours at the gym. "Hypergymnasia" is when one exercises for long durations of time at high intensity just to compensate for the calories they've taken in.
And for many, obsession over calorie consumption is a daily part of life - one health expert says she sees some people push their body too hard because they think working off what they eat is what keeps them thin.
Katie Bolte works at Madonna Proactive on the south side of town in Lincoln. She is a registered dietician and health specialist.
She's seen patients struggle with this issue and she says self-esteem issues as well as personal problems can make people feel like the gym is the only place where they have control.
She also told 10/11 that there are all kinds of problems that can come from overworking one's body at the gym. "It can lead to bone loss...also, you're at a higher risk of heart disease because it does a number on your heart muscle and your kidneys are at risk," said Bolte.
Bolte says that the first step one should take is talking to a therapist, dietician or even friend who can help someone figure out why they feel the need to work out compulsively.
At Madonna Proactive, 10/11 talked to Shelli Pomajzl and her daughter Cassandra. They work out together all the time because Shelli wants to teach her daughter healthy habits at the gym.
But both women told 10/11 they see friends or people they know who come to the gym and only do cardio because they want to know the number of calories they burn immediately.
"And they don't necessarily always switch off and do strength training and stuff, they'll just keep going and going on machines that count your calories," said Cassandra Pomajzl.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating or workout disorder, Bolte recommends seeking help from a dietician or therapist at Madonna rehabilitation or contacting someone at Omni Behavioral Health in Omaha. You can check their website at www.omnibehavioralhealth.com.