Eminem Says Fitness Was a Key Part of Staying Sober

By Victoria Kim 08/03/15

Never a fan of fitness, Eminem was determined to shed pounds after dramatic weight gain.

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After overdosing on methadone in 2007, Marshall Mathers, better known as the rapper Eminem, replaced his addiction with exercise.

At the time, the public was led to believe it was pneumonia that had landed Mathers in the hospital after he collapsed on his bathroom floor after taking too many blue methadone pills. By the time he left rehab, he was close to 230 pounds.

“I’m not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas,” he told Men’s Journal. “The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I’d been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomachache, I was constantly eating—and eating badly.”

Mathers was never an avid fan of fitness, but after his dramatic weight gain, he was determined to shed the extra pounds. He found comfort in running, because it allowed him to function sober. “It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect,” he said.

“It’s easy to understand how people replace addiction with exercise.”

Eventually, his "addict's brain" got the best of him—he was running 17 miles a day on a treadmill, to the point where he was injuring his hip flexors.

Mathers began to mix up his routine, dabbling in Insanity and P90X. Now, he does the Body Beast workout every morning before going to the studio.

At the height of his drug problem, which began as a dependence on sleep medication like Ambien, Mathers was taking up to 20 pills a day. He relapsed within a month of leaving the hospital after his overdose in 2007, but has remained sober since.

"Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died," he said in the 2012 documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs. "My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything. They didn't think I was gonna make it. My bottom was gonna be death."

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr