5 stages of the Zwift addiction cycle – can you relate?

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Zwift 5 stage cycle of addiction

Ok, people. It’s time to take you through the 5 stage cycle of Zwift addiction.

Denial is a part of it

“I’m not going on Zwift today”. You all know the feeling. You’ve not ridden all day and you weren’t planning to because your legs are sore, your ass is sore and you’re really tired from the day before. Then the voices in your head start. “It’s not that bad”, “Yeah I’ve gone 15 days straight but it’s not like I have a problem”, “C’mon it’s exercise, it’s good for me”, “There are others way worse than me, at least I take 1 or 2 rest days a month, maybe”.

First comes stage 1 of Zwift addiction: Emotional trigger

Addiction is usually part mental and part physical. An emotional trigger means different things for different people. Maybe you get a little angry and feel you need Zwift to get it out of your system. Maybe you’re thinking of the happy times you’ve had on Zwift. Maybe you come across a Facebook post where somebody’s talking about hitting a new record on Watopia and you feel jealousy.

Which triggers stage 2: Craving

This is the physical part. You start getting anxious and obsessed. You start thinking irrationally and feel this sort of weird feeling in your body, like your nerves are overstimulated and you crave your Zwift fix to calm them again. This is the stage a lot of addicts find the most difficult to overcome.

Followed by stage 3: Ritual

Most of the time, the Zwift addiction rituals are an unconscious act. Many people start trying to alleviate their craving by getting into the ritual, but are still in denial about that they’re going to use. This might include turning on the computer and logging on to Zwift simply to “watch” other riders, browse through the exercises or logging on to the mobile app to give a couple of “ride on’s” to others. Without even thinking about is, suddenly, in a sort of a haze you start changing into cycling clothes, filling your water bottles, turning on the fan, calibrating your trainer and putting on your favorite workout music.

The inevitable at this point, stage 4: Using

At this point, you’ve gone too far mentally and physically and simply have to get your release. So you get on the bike and start riding. You tell yourself you’re only going to do a quick Watopia lap, but then you do another, and another. You feel aren’t fast enough so you do one more and go all out. Since you’ve only done 30km you decide that 50 is a better number, then 100. Finally, you’re physically spent, your brain gets the much wanted endorphin kick, you’re drenched in sweat and your nerves are calm. This brings you to the final stage.

Stage 5: Guilt Happiness!

Let’s face it, we’re talking about Zwift here, not heroin. All of the above will probably bring you happiness and no guilt. Now, I’m not saying Zwift can’t bring on real and dangerous addiction, I’m sure it can. But this article is more meant as a joke so please don’t take it too seriously 🙂 I’m sure a LOT of people can relate to the Zwift addiction cycle, please leave a comment if you’ve done any of the above, I’d like to know if I’m the only crazy person out there or not. Don’t forget to SHARE if you can relate!

If you think you have a real problem (like losing your job or family because of Zwift) please seek help.

5 stage cycle of Zwift addiction
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