Thursday, December 26, 2013

CrossFit and Rhabdo, Ouch!

    I just recently came across this article CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret. I have been contemplating trying CrossFit just to see what the hype was all about. Currently, haven't tried it so I don't have an opinion. And oh my gosh, this article is scary. It basically describes a condition called Rhabdomyolysis. Asked my husband what that is and he said its an issue with straited muscles...Ok, thanks doc, but what issue? I guess he doesn't see this too much in dogs and cats (:
 In the article it describes how extreme over-exertion can cause the muscle cells to rupture and release protein into the blood stream. The protein levels are so high, that it can cause kidney failure and this condition can be fatal. Now, I don't know, based on this article, how  common this is in CrossFit gyms. Is it common, or is it because something this rare has happened a few times, the trainers have took it upon themselves to be educated on the matter?
      I decided to look into "Rhabdo" further and came across this answer to the first article 'Secret' Rhabdo:CrossFit, Exercise and Risk. This is written by an M.D. who is also a CrossFit trainer. He talks about this being a risk of any hard core fitness regimen and that CrossFit takes it upon themselves to educate their trainers and their clients, instead of ignoring the issue. I have done hard core training (at least, to me it was) and I have never been told about this risk. So if there are a lot of articles from CrossFit on this condition, I don't see it as a bad thing. It means they are talking about it.
     My question after reading the articles is: How the heck do I know if I am putting myself at risk for this condition? (doubtful that I ever will, call me crazy but do not enjoy extreme pain)
Here are the symptoms, courtesy of Web MD
  • Painful, swollen, bruised, or tender areas of the body
  • Muscle weakness or trouble moving arms or legs
  • General feelings of illness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion, dehydration, fever, or lack of consciousness
  • Dark-colored urine; reduced or no urine output
How do you know you are just working hard and not exploding your muscles?
Found these tips on a CrossFitter's site :CrossFit Reality
  • HYDRATE!!! (Dehydration leads to muscle fatigue which will exacerbate Rhabdo)
  • Listen to your body (If I didn’t, I could be dead! Seriously)
  • Drop the EGO. (If you push it past your capabilities, Uncle Rhabdo will be waiting.)
  • Go to the hospital (If you get Rhabdo, you need advanced treatment to save your kidneys. You’ll end up there sooner or later with Rhabdo, so be smart and go early)
  • Act prophylactically! (Take steps ahead of time to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.)
  • Ice any unusual pain or soreness after every workout (no exceptions here folks, if you come to me with soreness you’ll know what I’ll say from hear on out.)
  • Educate yourself [Know what movements are more likely to cause Rhabdo; eccentric movements (loading muscles while also lengthening i.e. pull-ups, squats, GHD sit-ups, etc.)]
  • Go through On-Ramp (If you are new to CrossFit, regardless of your background you should start off with an On-Ramp class to avoid Rhabdo) 

Now I don't think I push myself to this point. I do work out pretty hard in my bootcamp but I am yet to do 1 pull-up let alone 100. I think I'm good.

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