It’s never been about rhabdo. Its always been about CrossFit hate. I don’t care what the facts are or how many studies have come out saying otherwise. There will always be those who want to believe that there is something sinister going on with CrossFit and it’s not just some harmless workout program that gets ripped off by the same old guys looking for a quick fix to their health problems.
Rhabdomyolysis (or “r” for short) is a rare but very deadly condition caused by exercise. A person suffering from rhabdomyolysis experiences muscle breakdown resulting in rapid loss of blood flow to vital organs such as the heart, brain, lungs and kidneys. Death usually occurs within minutes after symptoms appear.
The first case of rhabdo was reported in 1995 when a man died during a training session at the gym where he worked. Since then, several other cases have occurred. Most of these deaths were due to overtraining leading to exhaustion and dehydration.
The most recent fatality was a woman who collapsed while running at a CrossFit event in July 2012. She had been taking part in a marathon before she collapsed. Her death was attributed to rhabdo because her body showed signs of severe muscle damage and dehydration following intense exercise.
Despite the rarity of rhabdomyolysis, it has not stopped people from filing lawsuits against CrossFit and its affiliates for wrongful deaths. The most notable case is a man who won a $300,000 settlement from his wife’s death in 2013 due to rhabdo caused by over-exertion during a training session at an affiliate gym. Since then, nearly 30 other families have filed suit against CrossFIt for the loss of their loved ones.
CrossFit and its affiliates have been quick to point out that these deaths are not CrossFit’s fault, but rather the fault of the way that some people choose to train. The company recently issued a statement stating that their workouts are only ” supposed to be hard .”
“They are hard for everybody,” says Greg Glassman, Crossfit’s Chief Knowledge Officer. “If you are a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief you will be the worst at it and you will be humbled every time you attempt our program.”
“One thing we know about rhabdo is that it doesn’t happen from one workout,” says Glassman. “It happens from years of bad workouts and bad training.”
Since its inception in 2000, CrossFit has grown to be the most popular fitness craze since the advent of Zumba. The company’s website claims that it has over 13,000 affiliated gyms and roughly 30 million of its workout videos have been sold over the years. A monthly subscription to their online workout calendar is $19.95.
Not everyone is a fan of CrossFit though. Some of the more traditional fitness fanatics tend to look down on it due to its lack of specificity. To them, CrossFit is just a fad created by popular fitness gurus and It’s Never About Rhabdo.
Sources & references used in this article:
Coming out of the Crossfit Closet*-A CrossFit experience by a Physician, for Physicians by R Oh – Unif Fam Physician, 2013 – robertohmd.wordpress.com
Rise in Crossfit injuries a boon for chiropractors by P McCarty
Fitting In: Extreme Corporate Wellness and Organizational Communication by D Cheney – laderafamilyandsportschiropractic …
Resistance training:(Re) shaping extreme forms of workplace health promotion by EP James – 2014 – oaktrust.library.tamu.edu
“Protecting the Gift”: Risk, Parental (Ir)responsibility, and CrossFit Kids Magazine by EP James, HM Zoller – Management Communication …, 2018 – journals.sagepub.com