Here's how Eminem used exercise to overcome a drug addiction



Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Eminem was in a bad place.


It was 2007 and the legendary rapper was 230 pounds.

He was addicted to painkillers that caused him so much stomach trouble, he had to eat tons of food - often unhealthy - to soothe it. In a recent interview with Men's Journal, the artist opened up about his struggle.

"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," he said.

When he got out of rehab, Eminem, whose birth name is Marshall Mathers, needed to satisfy what he called "an addict's brain." He couldn't sleep when he was off the drugs.


He needed an outlet.

So, wanting to abandon his old way of life, Eminem turned to excercise.

"It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect," Eminem told the magazine. "It's easy to understand how people replace addiction with exercise."

Soon, the Grammy-winning rapper was running 17 miles a day. "I would get up in the morning, and before I went to the studio, I would run eight and a half miles in about an hour," he said, "and followed that up with eight and a half miles at night."

"I started getting OCD about the calories, making sure I burned 2,000 every day."


Eminem says he ran so much that he injured himself, and realized he needed to mix things up. "I tried out some of those workout DVDs you do at home," he said. "One of the first ones was Shaun T.'s "Insanity" workout. I know a lot of these DVD guys are wacky, but I'm alone in my gym; I need someone on the TV yelling to motivate me."

The artist then jumped to P90x and eventually to the "Body Beast" series, dropping 80 pounds in the process.

eminem 2012 coachella


The past

Eminem has had a long history of drug use. He was quoted in 2011 saying drugs basically "wiped out" five years of his life. At the peak of his addiction, he was taking as many as 60 pills per day.

In 2013, he told MTV his addiction was probably at its worst some eight years prior, in 2005. That's when he says he started mixing pills - eventually landing himself in the hospital. "The doctors told me I'd done the equivalent of four bags of heroin ... Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died," he said. "My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything."


He added, "They were gonna have to put me on dialysis. They didn't think I was gonna make it. My bottom was gonna be death."

Eminem says he relapsed multiple times and spoke of how difficult it was to break away. "Coming off everything, I was literally up 24 hours a day for three weeks straight. And I mean, not sleeping, not even nodding off."

The artist committed two of his albums to detailing the process of weaning himself off drugs: "Relapse" in 2009 and "Recovery" in 2010.

NOW WATCH: What Adderall is actually doing to your body