CrossFit's "dirty little secret" could kill youS

Over at Medium, physical therapy professor Eric Robertson has written a fascinating piece about "exertional rhabdomyolysis" (a.k.a. "Rhabdo"), a devastating condition that results when physically fit people push their bodies so hard their muscle cells burst, flooding their kidneys with dangerous, or even deadly, levels of protein. Once thought to crop up mainly in elite athletes (and rarely, at that), Robertson observes that Rhabdo has become a troubling trend among CrossFitters.

The piece is loaded with tons of sound advice and clear-cut information not just for CrossFitters, but anyone engaged in a training regimen that pushes their bodies to the absolute physical limit:

So what is rhabdomyolysis exactly? Under extreme conditions your muscles cells explode. They die. They leach protein out into the blood stream, including one form called myoglobin. Ever stalwart, your kidneys take up the job of clearing these dangerous proteins from the blood. Why? It’s just what they do. Unfortunately, myoglobin proteins aren’t designed to be in the blood in the first place and they can easily overload the kidney. This can produce injury or death to all or part of the kidney in a short amount of time, and is potentially lethal. Locally, the muscles are left damaged and dying. Swelling ensues and weakness occurs as pressure builds around the remaining muscle cells. Your body’s systems that normally can assist with this local muscle damage are now offline trying to help you not die. If you get to this stage, you’re in serious trouble.

Read more at Medium.