Stay Away From Me Uncle Rhabdo

Is Rhabdo Really Crossfit’s “Dirty Little Secret”?

If you’re familiar with CrossFit, then I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with Rhabdo, or Rhabdomyolysis.  If you’re new to CrossFit, you really should educate yourself on the subject.


Rhabdomyolysis is 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. Basically, your body poisons itself. If you are unaware you have it, or you think you are just sore from last nights workout, the result could be deadly.There is so made hater-ade on CrossFit in general, but Rhabdo seems to be the most popular subject. Yes, more cases have popped up since CrossFit, but there are thousands of athletes that don’t listen to their bodies when it’s throwing red flags all over the place. Take your time and don’t get all crazy trying to keep up with the people who have been doing this for a while.


I’m actually writing this because last Wednesday my best friend was admitted to the hospital with Rhabdo. I never in my life thought I’d see Rhabdo let alone have my best friend hospitalized for 5 days. Thank GOD she is going to be fine, but it was really scary at first.

She came and did CINDY with me on Tuesday, went home, and realized her arms were really sore. Tuesday morning she couldn’t bend her arms, she thought that this was normal and went to a YMCA and attended a crazy boot camp. The class instructor was telling her to continue with her 200 burpees and 200 push-ups. My friend is very competitive and plus it’s hard when someone is pushing you in front of so many people. You’re mind is telling you to keep going, but your body is telling you to stop. During the workout, her arms were really hurting her. After the workout, she went home relaxed and went to sleep. Wednesday morning she went about her normal routine. She came to my gym and people were crowded around her. I was shocked to see that her arms were doubled in size. All she wanted to do was stretch her arms before we did Filthy Fifty. She was in shock when I told her she needed to go to the ED, like yesterday.

My friend went to the ED right away. She was there until 12AM and had to be transported to another hospital that could give her the treatment she needed. When she was admitted, the hospital tested her creatinine kinase levels.  Her CPK levels were 16,000. Normal is 100. The myoglobin had reached her liver, but the awesome doctors caught it in time.

After days without sleep, needles pricking, and blood being taken, she headed home on Sunday. It will probably be a while before she can workout like she was. I’m just so thankful that she is going to be fine.  She had no idea what Rhabdo even was. She had played volleyball and basketball all throughout high school and it never happened to her then, so she didn’t even think twice.


Whenever you start a new workout program, whether it be CrossFit or a YMCA class, you really need to listen and pay attention to your body. Don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Do your research, you can hurt yourself. It’s not a joke.


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