Eminem reveals that he struggled with weight gain and weight loss even as he battled addiction. The rap icon speaks with candor about his challenges with maintaining sobriety and attaining and maintaining a high fitness level in a rare interview with Men’s Journal.


Photo: Eminem
Credit: PR Photos

Yes, when we think of celebrities opening up about diet, food issues and weight loss — and sharing detailed fitness and workout routines — we don’t typically think of Eminem as being among them. In his powerful and critically acclaimed album of 2010, ‘Relapse’ he was painfully open about his struggle for his very survival and how close he was, at times, to death.

But now in the Men’s Journal interview, he speaks openly about yet another battle he was facing concurrently. The Detroit MC who’s also known as Slim Shady spoke of days in which his physique didn’t live up to the appellation.

He said, “In 2007, I overdosed on pills, and I went into the hospital. I was close to 230 pounds. I’m not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas. The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I’d been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomach ache, I was constantly eating — and eating badly.”

He revealed that in his quest to regain his physique, his devotion to fitness became yet another addiction. He said, “Unless I was blitzed, I couldn’t sleep, and running helped me sleep. It’s easy to understand how people get addicted to exercise. It’s one addiction for another, but one that’s good for you.”

He continued, saying, “I became a f–king hamster. Seventeen miles a day on a treadmill. 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. Then I’d come home and run another eight and a half. I started getting OCD about the calories, making sure I burned 2,000 every day. In the end I got down to about 149 pounds. I ran to the point where I started to get injured.”

It’s a cautionary tale, for sure. Some addictions are applauded and some are not. The addiction to the adrenaline high of running, and the addiction to the thrill of seeing the numbers on the scale go down, is an addiction, as anyone who battles with such can attest. Thankfully, he has overcome the potential addiction, and, from the other side speaks with such candor.

Eminem went on to detail how he scaled back the injurious amount of running he was doing by choosing instead to use workout DVDs and to vary his routine in the gym. He spoke of his continued devotion to working out and said, “I guess I’m pretty compulsive working out. I feel like if I step away from it for too long, if I have a crazy week and take a five-day break, it’ll be like starting over.”

You can see Eminem’s full interview with Men’s Journal in its entirety here. He goes into detail on his daily workouts and how he arrived at the success he’s now achieving, having gone to the brink of an ironically unhealthy pursuit of health and fitness.

He’s currently in the news for his involvement with the critically acclaimed movie ‘Southpaw,’ as executive producer of the movie’s soundtrack. He was to have portrayed the movie’s title character, heavyweight boxing champ Billy Hope, the role that went to Jake Gyllenhaal who’s drawing Oscar buzz for his searing portrayal and for his intense physical transformation to play the role. Clearly, from what he’s now telling us, Eminem, with his devotion to fitness might also have graced the screen with a similarly astounding transformation.