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Doctors Warn Extreme Workouts Have Dangerous Side Effects

Doctors Warn Extreme Workouts Have Dangerous Side Effects
Next time you're pushing for one more rep in the gym, it might be better to just stop. Doctors across the country are arguing the popular CrossFit workout could do more harm than good.

The cross-training program urges exercisers to go harder and faster, all while pushing through their limits. But going too far with these strenuous drills could cause a condition called rhabdomyolysis. (Via ABC)

"Rhabdo," for short, causes muscle cells to literally explode, flooding blood vessels with their contents and in extreme cases, causing kidney failure. One woman said it was more painful than childbirth. (Via WebMD)

"I've had two babies...and I'd have 5 more before I ever had to go through this again."

And Dr. Ron Goldin says only experienced trainers should try CrossFit.

"If you haven't worked out for a while, don't jump into it, trying to keep up with the rest of the class and don't try to do the hardest workout you've ever done." (Via WPTV)

The condition is on the rise as CrossFit grows increasingly popular, with over 6,000 affiliated gyms in the United States. That's up from only 50 in 2005. (Via The New York Times)

But the regimen has its fair share of critics. A columnist for The Huffington Post scolds the CrossFit culture as "one of pushing your body to the point of near exhaustion. It is a system of punishing exercises built on a platform of peer pressure."

Even converts admit the gym climate can be a bit much.

"Some people refer to folks doing CrossFit as crazy and some people even call it a cult." (Via WTTG)

Critics have even tried advancing their cause by creating "Uncle Rhabdo," a clown mascot suffering from the muscle disease. (Via Breaking Muscle)

But other Crossfit trainers say rhabdo is just the result of irresponsible workouts. According to one participant, the disease is "an extreme condition thwarted upon oneself... It's not the sport, the organization or even the coaches. It's your own fault."

Overall, doctors agree that the intensive workouts are healthy... in moderation. It's key to listen to your body and avoid pushing too hard.

Join the discussion

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jimmyxx67 February 28 2014 at 8:43 AM

"an extreme condition thwarted upon oneself"... I don't think that this participant has a grasp of the meaning of the words they he/she is using. It's always amusing when an partially literate individual attempts to speak above their vocabulary level.

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Keith February 28 2014 at 11:15 AM

Oh….. FTLOG……….

'Rhabdo' is NOT unique to Crossfit. IF anyone - regardless of the activity - pushes their body beyond it's limits it is unhealthy and risking the same 'Rhabdo' scenario. I participate in Crossfit at home and have visited Crossfit gyms around the country and 99% of them are monitored by knowledgable trainers that are there to make sure that you do the movements correctly and safely AND do not over do it putting yourself at risk for any adverse health scenario. An individual can over do any workout routine BUT let's face it 90% of the people in gyms don't come close to over doing anything. Seriously, look around your gym. You will see the same fat asses there every day doing the same thing and guess what…. in 6 months they are still fat asses BUT they go to the gym…. they work out!

Now, for the 1% that over do it or the trainers that over do it... They are idiots.

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ceecee February 28 2014 at 12:29 PM

I think extreme anything is bad for you.

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*SAMI* February 28 2014 at 10:38 AM

I wonderierif any of these people have actually tried crossfit?! I rarely worked out before joinging my local crossfit box. Before joining, I decided I wanted something that was going to push me and hold me accountable, so I tried a week free. I was instantly hooked from the first day! If you are not in the physical shape to do a paticular work out, the trainers scale it down to meet your needs.. Never once did I see peer pressure, what I saw is a team cheering you on!. On my first day, I had to jump over a wall.. it took me a few tries, but with the entire group surrounding me cheering me on, it gave me the motivation to keep trying.
Crossfit has been the best thing that I have done with me life!

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1 reply
pmustangs01 *SAMI* February 28 2014 at 11:28 AM

I did crossfit for a month. I did get hooked and I love it but it was too much peer pressure. The trainers that I had push too hard and I felt at time too much on the weight without consideration of where you were at in your fitness level. The last time I worked out with them they had me do too many dead lifts and too heavy of a weight. I could not work out for over two weeks. I was in extreme pain and they wanted me to come back and work through it, are you kidding me. I am really good about telling my trainers where I am at in my fitness level, what kind of injuries I've had so that I can work out around that without injuring myself. But that all seem to go by the wayside. So I quite crossfit cause I could not take the chance of injury. I think crossfit could be a good thing if done properly and more attentive to what your fitness level was and work up from there.

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1 reply
Keith pmustangs01 February 28 2014 at 11:39 AM

You are absolutely right. Some trainers or even workout partners can push you a little too far. For me, I know I have to go to work tomorrow. I have kids to take care of. I know my limits. I'm not trying to set olympic records. I push myself but pace myself too but I enjoy Crossfit. At our gym… Everyone there has a goal to get better, get healthier and fit. For the most part, classmates are supportive and understanding of each individual's goals.

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chckpope February 28 2014 at 9:44 AM

It sure feels bad for you when your doing it, but you feel great afterward. Anything in moderation is not bad, it's when you go overboard that you should worry.

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libra4216202 February 28 2014 at 9:48 PM

I will stick to what is working for me... running and regular weight training.

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wlh1923 February 28 2014 at 12:51 PM

OMG AOL. Anybody moderating anything here? The first three or four comments on every article are spam about somebody's aunt making $75.00 or $85.00 an hour (presumably as a craigslist prostitute). It has gotten to the point where the comments to every article are overwhelmed by spam. Can't you folks do something? Anything?

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Circusteam February 28 2014 at 11:21 AM

Similarly, hot yoga has become very popular and many practitioners are zealous about it but the academic and medical research (yes, it's out there... sorry you'll have to take your own time to get the citations but you'll find them) runs contrary to the benefits often touted. There are enough findings to indicate it can be dangerous in many instances. Still... moderation is everything tends to smooth out the bad in to good.

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brodie February 28 2014 at 10:19 AM

A proper Crossfit trainer would never let an out of shape person push too hard. They scale all of the exercises for beginners and wait until they know they can handle more to push them to do more.

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RosaJoe9 February 28 2014 at 11:20 AM

Common sense folks---common sense!

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