Upon searching Google for “Rhabdomyolysis”, you’ll quickly see the latest onslaught of over reaction and explanation of 1% of a complex story.
We humans are more motivated by scare tactics and what negative scenarios could happen than by the countless stories of people regaining control of their will power, self-confidence and life by adopting hard work and a sense of community.
NOTE: I do not participate in a CrossFit gym, or workout. I have competed in CrossFit-like competitions that incorporate strength, explosiveness, and endurance. I have no vested interest, just an interest in human development and a joy of being fit.
Rhabdomyolysis is defined by PubMed Health as the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage.
- People are not dropping dead like flies at CrossFit workouts. All the information I have found says overall annual incidence of rhabdomyolysis to be 0.06%(within CrossFit circles).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reported higher numbers once more[in 2013], counting 35.7% of American adults as obese, and 17% of American children.
- Motor vehicle accidents kill about 42,000 people a year.
The logical conclusion is that there are many aspects to our lives that pose a far greater danger than pushing your physical limits. I do not doubt however that CrossFit programs are far more likely to encourage over exertion to the point one’s body is nowhere ready to undergo the amount of stress that the human mind can initialize; especially at first. When a workout is designed with no immediate goal, just a generalized “as hard and fast as you can go” mentality, extreme stressors become present. I would theorize 95% of the population could not imagine this amount of stress and strain, though. It is not a point that you feel fatigued or that “burning” feeling in your muscles. It is repeatedly ignoring signals from the body that is in dire need of rest, or reprieve.
The much greater danger is someone living a life using every media outlet story about dangers in the world to aid their inaction or idleness.
An approach that is as safe is one that incorporates a medical examination before starting a physical training program. From there step 2 is listening to your body and not getting caught up in what “Becky” or “Harry” is doing. If you’ve been working out consistently for just 2 months, I don’t think you should be straining so hard that you may not be able to move for a week. It takes time to learn one’s limits. It takes time to develop a mind and body relationship where results are not traded for health and well-being.
My take-aways from the recent story lines are as follows:
1. The media is always looking for the new big thing. What better way to captivate an audience than by scaring people, and referencing the newest, biggest, trendiest workout style. I believe this condition does iindeed exist, just believe this should be one of the last things on your mind when considering a workout routine or fitness lifestyle.
2. Over-exertion is real. The scientific explanation of this condition is misleading in a way. It could as easily be described as over-exertion, in my opinion. The best way to combat this it is to eat well and sleep plenty. Our bodies are made to adapt. Give it proper fuel and rest and it will operate optimally.
3. Listen to your body. Do not listen to the guy or gal next to you’s body. Fitness, as many things are, is about balance. Push yourself, but be cognizant enough to know when enough is enough.
Think, Sweat, Grow -Joe
P.S. I am not a Medical Doctor. I am a fitness professional with an insatiable curiosity and will to simply help others.