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!

Awesome “Arms & Abs” October!

I’ve created a workout calendar for October! If you’re up for the challenge, try out the “Awesome Arms & Abs October” challenge! This is NO DAYS OFF! You get out what you put in!

*Please note: If you cannot do a full push-up, modified pushups are acceptable with knees on the ground. Also if doing planks on your forearms is too challenging, you can plank in push-up position. Remember to keep your butt down to work those abs! Also, pay attention to how many SETS of each workout you will be doing. They gradually go up through the month!

This is my first workout calendar! Please let me know how you liked this workout and how challenging it was!

Don’t forget to share this workout with your friends and family!

Awesome Arms and Abs October

Weight Loss Challenge!

Hi everybody! I have been slacking in my blog posts lately, but I’m back and so is my exercise routine! Just a few updates on where I’ve been the past few months.

Late last year I was diagnosed with having a Cerebral Spinal Fluid Leak coming from my skull and leaking through my nose. If not treated it could have lead to Meningitis. I had to go through numerous doctors appointments, CT scans, dye injection into my spine, and finally surgery on my skull through my nose. I’m glad to say that surgery went well and I am leak free! I feel good and I’m back to my normal self. *yay*

Luckily without working out for almost 5 months I only gained 3-4 pounds. W00t! Now I’m ready to lose the rest of this weight!

I recently signed up for a Groupon deal for 20 classes of CrossFit. I am also involved in my friends’ weight loss challenge as well as their Fit Camps held every Sunday! So my schedule looks like so:

Sun: Fit Camp
Mon: Rest or Cardio day
Tues: CrossFit
Wed: Rest or Cardio day
Thurs: CrossFit
Fri: CrossFit
Sat: CrossFit or Rest Day

I am currently fluctuating between 168 and 171 and my goal is still to reach 145 lbs.

I am motivated more than ever to lose this weight! Let’s do this!

Oh! Also if you have any tips or advice on meal plans I would LOVE IT! I need to figure out what foods to eat and what meals to make.

Thanks for listening!

My first 5k! The Color Run!

To get myself motivated to workout and run, I’ve signed up for THE COLOR RUN 5K! OMG What did I just do??! lol! This is my first EVER 5K in my whole life. It’s about time don’t you think?! It’s on August 4th, so that gives me 11 weeks to train to run for at LEAST 2 miles! I am going to use this as a motivation to run 3-4 days a week and lift in between.

Here are a few mini goals for myself:

  1. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes
  2. Run at least four 5ks a year!
  3. Run a 10k once in my life!

I’m not a long distance runner. But I really would like to be! I at least want to have the stamina for it. The Color Run should be tons of fun! Pray for me guys! lol

AM Workouts

Okay. So I’m trying to evaluate my life and my weight loss goals and here is the deal. I go to work from 9-5 and I don’t get home until 5:30pm or a little after that. I would like to do cardio workouts at least an hour every day. But by the time I drive to the gym 10 miles away, drive home, take a shower, and cook dinner it is looking to be around 9:30-10pm by the time I get to eat! No bueno. So I’m thinking I should try working out every morning.

If I wake up at 6:30 and workout for an hour, I’ll be done by 7:30am. Shower until 7:45ish. Eat breakfast around 8am. That gives me enough time to leave to go to work at 8:30am. Now here lies the problem. WAKING UP AT 6:30AM. I’m not gonna lie. I sleep late and wake up late. I have SUCH a hard time waking up at 8am to get ready for work. How in the bloody hell am I going to get up at 6:30am! I just don’t see this happening.

Anyone out there have experience with doing early AM workouts? How do you like it? Was it hard for you to do at first?

Couch to 5k!

Okay so I’ve done Couch to 5k before and I only did it for 3 weeks. BUT in that 3 week period I found that I was able to go from running 1/2 a mile without stopping to 1 mile without stopping. I know I’ve said this over and over again in this blog, but I HATE RUNNING. I mean, I can’t breathe when I do it! My heart rate goes up to almost 200 bpm and I’m dying! My goal is to run a 5k by Thanksgiving. So gives me… *counts fingers*… 8 1/2 months to learn how to run 3.1 miles! That’s totally do-able right? *cries*

Does anyone have any tips on learning how to run 3.1 miles? How often should I run a week? If I am on the treadmill what speed should I run at? I read that you should take a day off in between runs. So maybe I should run Mon, Wed, Fri and do strength training Tues, Thurs, Sat? If I do that for 8 months straight I should be ready right? Sometimes I feel like a complete disappointment because I can’t run long distances. All of my friends can… even my overweight friends can run 10ks! Maybe that is my motivation to get running. I just don’t want to be a disappointment to myself anymore. It is so frustrating!