Rhabdomyolysis: The Silent Exercise-Induced Killer!

On Friday January 3, 2014, I went to my CrossFit class and did a WOD that consisted of 42-30-18 Ring Rows and 21-15-9 Barbell Back Squats, alternating between RRs and Squats. Prior to this I hadn’t done any upper body strength training for about a month because of some nerve issues, and I actually thought this workout would be okay for me. Little did I know how wrong I was!

After (and now that I think about it, even during) the workout my arms were immediately sore. It even hurt for me to take a shower! I figured, “Hey I just did a tough arm workout, of course my arms are sore!”

By Saturday I could barely straighten my arms and they started to get swollen and puffy.

Sunday my arms looked like this:

On the inner side of my biceps my arms were puffing out! This is when I decided to do a little bit of research on Rhabdomyolysis (Rab-doe-my-o-lie-sis). I heard about it from my CrossFit coach when he posted an article about it a few months back. During my research I came across this article: http://fitfeat.com/blog/2011/06/03/rhabdomyolysis-if-you-exercise-read-this/ written by Shari. Shari if you’re reading this… THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I cannot thank you enough for you writing about your experience and it really helped me take the initiative when it came to my health! You might have just saved my life!

After reading her article my boyfriend and I drove to the ER. After a 4+ hour wait… I told the doctor I did CrossFit and I thought I had Rhabdo. He checked my Creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels and normal is < 200. I was at 8000. I was admitted immediately, hooked to an IV and was in the hospital for 4 days. I didn’t plan for any of this to happen and it came out of nowhere! Even after I was in the hospital I was STILL in denial.

They put a liter of fluids in me every 2 hours and I was peeing round the clock! Within 2 days I gained 20 pounds of water weight. Trust me when I tell you that this was seriously disturbing for me, especially since I’ve lost 20lbs and was still in the process of trying to lose weight!


Welcome my 20lb. water baby!

Here are my CPK levels as the days went on:
1/5/14: 8030
1/6/14: 10,416
1/6/14: 11,858
1/6/14: 15,645
1/6/14: 16,191
1/7/14: 12,100
1/7/14: 13,013
1/7/14: 13,090
1/7/14: 12,463
1/8/14: 10,186
1/8/14: 11,004
1/8/14: 9,639
1/9/14: 7,749
1/10/14: 3045

The first couple days my levels kept going up! Could you imagine if I was still at home or at work? My numbers could have been much worse!

Two weeks later I took another blood test…
1/22/14: 129
Halleluyer I’m normal again!!!

WTF is Rhabdomyolysis??!

Now that you heard my story, I bet you’re wondering, WTF is Rhabdomyolysis??!

According to medical dictionaries and the interwebs:
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.

Some symptoms of Rhabdo include:

  • Dark, red, or cola-colored urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • General weakness
  • Muscle stiffness or aching (myalgia)
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Weakness of the affected muscles

If you are experiencing muscle stiffness, pain, weakness, swelling then go to the ER! DO NOT WAIT! Especially if your urine is dark, coca-cola colored. That means blood is in your urine and your kidneys are failing.

I write this as a way to let those who exercise know that Rhabdomyolysis IS out there and it IS dangerous. Though it is a rare occurance, it can happen to anyone. Someone in the military, CrossFitters, even those working out at home can get Rhabdo. I read about a situation where a person got Rhabdo from doing 20 sit-ups every day for a week. Another case happened when someone took a cycling class ONE time! It can occur in your arms, legs, back, even abs. It can happen to athletic people (like me) or to someone who hasn’t worked out at all and is just getting started!

Post-Rhabdo

As far as my post-Rhabdo experience, I haven’t lifted anything heavy or even attempted to work out. I will post what I’ve done to get back into the swing of things, and if I will return to CrossFit. As of right this moment, doing CrossFit is definitely not an option for me. I dont’ know if I’ll ever be a CrossFitter again. Going through this experience has definitely traumatized me a little bit. I will be questioning my body every time I lift and wondering if the next workout I do will be okay. I don’t know how long mentally this will last, but I just don’t see myself going back to CF anytime soon. Right now I want to work out SO bad but I need to understand that I need to start off SLOW. Like my doctor told me, “No Pain, No Gain” does NOT apply here!

Progress! Slow and steady.

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Hey everyone! I’m back to give some updates on my weight loss progress.

I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 3 months now and I’ve probably lost about 5lbs. Not a significant loss, but I’ve slimmed down A LOT. My clothes are starting to fall off my body, especially around my waist. And I’m LOVING IT! Here is a picture of me at the exact same weight, about 9 weeks in between pictures.

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In both pictures I am 170lbs. This is exactly why the scale doesn’t necessarily matter. While I am gaining muscle and losing fat, I am slimming up so my weight stayed the same. But even though I haven’t lost weight in this picture, I FEEL better and healthier!

Since this picture 2-3 weeks ago, I’ve lost another 3 lbs.

My routine lately as been to go to CrossFit 4 days a week, and after each class take a mile jog. It’s definitely tough, but I need the rest of this fat to fall off me! That can only happen with hard work and dedication.

I have a long way to go still, but I know I will get there!

Frustration!

So I have been working out HARD for the past 2 months. I lost about 4 more pounds by last week and what do I see on the scale this morning? A 3 pound weight gain!

WTF??!

Could be water weight. Could be the Taco bell I had last night (I reaaaalllllly shouldn’t have eaten that, but I literally haven’t had fast food in weeks!!) But it’s just frustrating to see the scale go UP when I’m used to it going DOWN.

But on a brighter note my clothes are feeling looser and I am slimming up. I need to take measurements when I get home and compare them to the ones I took 6 weeks ago.

Gotta keep pushing and working towards my goal weight/body!

Progress Pic! + Some Advice

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Here I am 15 pounds down y’all!!!

And weight is definitely NOT falling off me either. This took 4 months. FOUR. MONTHS. Of extreme hard work in the gym and changing my eating habits. Here are some tips I learned (and STILL learning) during this whole weight loss process:

1. Sometimes you won’t lose weight right away. I don’t know if my body had to adjust to the workouts or if it was trying to hold onto fat for dear life, but I didn’t lose weight for 3 months! The week I lost weight it was 4 pounds! Just keep working hard and you will eventually drop the pounds.

2. Weight lifting helps! I started taking CrossFit classes and I started to see results in 2 weeks. It really started slimming me out! It’s an intense workout, and it’s not for everybody, but I love it! It’s not just CrossFit that works, because not everyone has the time or money for that, but weights at the gym or at home works too. Ladies, LIFT HEAVY. No you will not look like a dude and you will not get bulky. You will tone up and look all kinds of awesome! Lift a weight that starts to get difficult at 6 or 7 reps. One thing my boyfriend taught me was to do 3 sets of 5 reps at 90% of my max weight and increase your weight every 2 weeks. I did this for bench press and leg press and I increased my weights dramatically in 3 months. I believe I have a previous post on my results from that. I’m too lazy right now to link it. Sorry!

3. Eating healthy is easy if you have a plan. Making dinner for the week and packing lunches everyday makes staying on track SO much easier! And eat breakfast!!! It is extremely important! Lean meats, fruit, and veggies! Stay away from fast food! And if you are going to eat out, eat in moderation. The boyfriend and I share one dish and drink only water. That reduces the calories AND the bill in HALF!

4. I hate cardio. But cardio is 100% something you must do to help with weight loss. What I learned is figure out what you like to do. Some people can run for 3-5 miles everyday. I am okay with doing sprints and watching Scandal on Netflix while on the elliptical for an hour. Do what works for you! Maybe split the hour between 3 different workouts like stairs for 20 min, elliptical for 20 min, and bike for 20 min. Maybe take a spin class or do Zumba! Experiment with different equipment/classes and see what you like.

5. Start off slowly. I know you want to be all gung-ho and cut out all fatty foods and workout 7 days a week. It works for some, but for me, slowly reducing the bad foods and working my way up to an hour of cardio worked. That’s what kept me on track. I tried to cut out everything but that didn’t last long. This is a lifetime change, and I will continue to try and stay healthy every day of my life.

Also weigh yourself once a week, first thing in the morning after you use the bathroom, and measure yourself! It’s amazing what little differences you will see in your body after working out consistently! 🙂

I hope this helps some of you who feel as stuck as I did and think that weight loss is only a dream. Make that dream a freaking reality! Just know that it’s not all about the number on the scale. It’s about how being healthy and in shape makes you feel! You got this!

CrossFit

I’m not gonna lie. I want to join CrossFit not now… but RIGHT NOW. I LOVE lifting weights and pushing myself to my maximum potential. I want to do hand stand push ups, dead lifts, overhead squats, all of it! But unfortunately joining CrossFit costs $150/month and that’s too expensive for me right now.

I wish I didn’t have a car payment, student loans and a ton of miscellaneous bills, but I do. And I have to focus on paying those off before I can do what I want.

Hopefully one day I will be able to join CrossFit and get in the best shape of my life! One day…

But for now, I just have to push myself with whatever work out I do and strive to get as fit and healthy as I can!

My Progress!

Hey all! Sorry I’ve been away for a while. I have a few updates to make, especially about my fitness/weight progress!

1. I’M IN THE FREAKING 160s!!!! My highest weight was 184pointsomething last year. As of yesterday morning I am now 167.8! Holy freaking weight loss batman! That’s almost 20lbs! I can’t believe it! This is a huge deal for me. The past couple years I’ve been wanting to lose weight and I would work out hard and just wouldn’t see any progress. I am now consistently losing weight every week ranging from 0.2 – 2 lbs! *fist pump*

What has worked for me:

  • Lifting weights like a BOSS. I upped my weight and decreased my reps. I have muscles again! Ladies you CAN lift heavy weights. It helps with weight loss. It really does.
  • Cardio. Every time I go to the gym I do some form of cardio. It usually switches between the elliptical or treadmill (aka DREADmill, I hate that f*cking machine). I also learned to run outside! I still hate running with a fiery passion, but I still do it. I’m signing up for another 5k in November.
  • Abs & arms. I do ab workouts maybe 1-2 times a week and some arms. A lot of my ab workouts include planking. Gotta love planking! *insert sarcasm here*

2. Medical issues. I’ve been going through medical issues lately that has/will hinder my work outs. I’m trying to get a few workouts here and there, but I may have to have surgery within the next 2 months. I am doing much better now, but I will post details about that later!

3. My clothes are fitting better and I don’t hate looking at myself as much in the mirror as I used to. I’m now able to wear clothes in my closet that used to be too tight! How awesome is that?!

4. I can bench press 120lbs and leg press 400lbs (NOT including the machine. Four 45lb plates and two 10lb plates on each side baby!). My goal is to bench 135lbs. Only 15 lbs to go!

5. I learned that weight loss takes TIME and EFFORT. I literally didn’t see any weight drop for 3 months. THREE MONTHS. And this was 3 months of working out and lifting hardcore. And when I say hardcore, I’m talking 1-1.5 hours of cardio + abs + weights 4x a week! I stopped thinking about weight loss and started thinking about the 5k I ran and the weight I was lifting. My weight loss eventually came as a surprise! A great freaking surprise!

6. I also learned that weight loss doesn’t happen without a good DIET. I’m not even going to call it a diet. It’s more of a lifestyle change. I’m definitely more conscious about what I eat, but I don’t deprive myself of food either. Taco bell? Sure. Candy? Okay. Ice cream? Why not! But I do it all in moderation. I”ll eat fast food maybe 1-2 times  a month, candy every few weeks, ice cream maybe 1-2 times a month. It’s all about portion and knowing how to eat. My daily diet usually consists of:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal or cereal w/ toast, water
  • Lunch: Salad w/ a side of fruit, water
  • Dinner: Chicken/fish, pasta/rice, veggies, water (sometimes juice)
  • Snacks: Cranberries & almonds, peaches, fruit snacks
  • Dessert: ice pops, chocolate milk

So for all those non-believers that you can’t lose weight all I have to say is that YOU CAN DO IT. I honestly thought I was going to stay 184 forever. That no matter how hard I worked out that scale wasn’t going to budge. You have to figure out what works for you and stay motivated! One of my main motivators is my boyfriend. He comes with me to the gym and pushes me hard and I am blessed to have him in my life.

I am so happy right now and I cannot wait to reach my 2nd goal of hitting the 150s! My goal is to reach that by October 31st. Wish me luck!

Changes & New Running Shoes!

So when I went to the gym on Tuesday, I was at the free weights area with the mirrors. I looked at myself and I actually LIKED WHAT I SAW! I saw someone that was toned and a little bit slimmer. I even noticed that day that my workout top was looser on me, when it was tight 6 weeks ago. Progress!

As of last week I have lost 1/2″ on my hips, arms, legs, and 1″ from my waist. It is such a slow process to lose weight! But I did gain this weight over a span of 8 years. I’m gonna be honest, I hate stepping on the scale. But this time it shows I’ve lost 2lbs in a week. I guess I’m doing something right!

Here is a pic of me leg pressing 360+ lbs (I don’t know if you count the bar or not?). Four 45lb plates on each side! Woooo!

Last Saturday my boyfriend took me on jog at our college and he showed me the path he used in his jogging class. I ran 2 miles! TWO. MILES. I’ve never run for that long in my life! It took me 25 minutes, 20 seconds. I am so proud of myself that I did it! I could have probably run longer but don’t get me wrong, I was DEAD tired. Afterwards I went to a running store and got some running shoes fitted.

The guy who helped me was VERY knowledgeable. He watched how I walked, ran, he took measurements of my feet while sitting and while standing. He had me try on 3 different shoes: one had a lot of arch support and padding, one had less arch support and less padding, but I picked the one that was a happy medium of the two.

These are my new Asics running shoes 🙂 My shin splints aren’t as painful now and I love how supportive and cushion-y they are! Not my first choice in color, but it’s fine.