OK… so let’s set the record straight. CrossFit Granbury has received quite a few people calling in or messaging, worried that Rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis) is going to come into the gym and kill everyone there. Just a big pile of dead bodies, caused by doing too many pullups… This is false.
I’ve been involved in some sort of significantly difficult athletic something-or-other my entire life. Farming, football, soccer, body building, marathon running, and CrossFit. Since my involvement in these activities, I’ve suffered from Rhabdo exactly nonce. Never. Not even a little.
To put this in perspective, since I have been physically active, I’ve had to have someone give me the Heimlich twice.
Once more: Athletics for 20 years: 0 Rhabdo.
Eating every day for 20 years and almost died: Twice.
Everything you do in life has some sort of inherent risk… and I’m not saying that CrossFit has no risk. As any fitness program, (even Zumba and P90X) injuries can and will occur. Typically this is caused by overexertion or poor form. Sometimes freak accidents happen. Someone might drop a bar on you, or equipment may fail. Typically these incidents cause a rip or tear of the skin, bruising, sometimes a hurt joint or muscle… but since CrossFitting in 2008, I have yet to see anyone have to STOP working out due to a CrossFit specific injury. It happens, but it hasn’t happened to one of my athletes on my watch.
Rhabdo is serious, so lets take a second to understand what it is, and how we prevent it.
Rhabdo is caused by a rapid breakdown of muscle tissue into the blood stream. In it’s worst form, this will basically poison the kidneys since they can’t keep up with the protein break down, and could cause complete renal failure. This doesn’t happen by mistake.
The opportunity for this increases with the use of alcohol, being an untrained athlete pushing yourself too hard, using narcotics, uppers, overheating, viral infections (flu), bacterial infections like sepsis, or having HIV.
Do you come to the gym when you have the Flu? Stop.
Do you come to the gym drunk? Stop.
The most important of these factors that we need to pay attention to is the untrained athlete. This is a two part solution.
1: The trainers ensure that you work out to your capacity, not beyond it. When we say “watch yourself for the first couple of weeks, take it easier than you might think you need to, and let us know if you start to feel weird or exhausted” these are not liability catch-all questions. These are our legitimate concerns that new athletes train safely to mitigate risk. Pushing yourself in the hopes that you’re going to lose 10 pounds in a day, or beat the lead athlete are silly, and you need to leave that pride and ego on the highway. We’re not here to hurt you, so help us help you.
2. If you’re tired, maxed out, or feel like your at the limit, don’t go past it. Doing 300 pushups is crazy. If you’ve gotten to the point that your arms don’t work anymore, it might be time to call it. No one is going to make fun of you for it.
Always work within your capabilities, and listen to your doctor, and your trainer. Do you have both? Then put us in contact with your doctor! I work with a few in town, and they are all very glad to give me sound medical advice in regards to your specific issues. This means that you get a good, safe workout.
Rhabdo is a concern to a CrossFitter like it is a concern to a marathon runner, pole vaulter, or welder, or duck wrangler. Anyone can get it if the conditions are bad enough. If your gym doesn’t provide some type of personal trainer or a professional that can give you sound advice, it may be time to find a new place. (yes, you can come to ours).
Here’s the last bit before I get off the soap box: warning signs. If you worked out really super hard… so hard that you know you went too far; be on the lookout for dark colored urine, bruised muscle, severe soreness, weakness, or vomiting. Any one of these may not mean you have Rhabdo, but it might mean a quick blood test at a hospital is a good choice. Even with Rhabdo, treatment is effective, and while painful, the likelihood of you dying is probably more rare than the likelihood of you dying in a car wreck on your way to church. By being hit by a jet. Being flown by a monkey. It’s not impossible, just highly unlikely.
Train hard, train safe. Don’t train on coke while drunk and dehydrated when you have the flu. We love you, be safe.
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