The aim of this review was to develop an empirically supported cognitive behavioural model of compulsive exercise within the context of the eating disorders. A systematic review of the correlates and predictors of compulsive exercise among eating disordered patients identified four key correlates. These were subsequently validated by a second review, incorporating both the clinical and non-clinical as well as the exercise science literatures. A proposed model is presented which is both evidence-based and testable. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.