The Crossfit Craze: Is the Workout Dangerous?

Crossfit has thousands of affiliates around the world dedicated to the hard core workout that poses risks, but only when taken to extremes

Trainer Greg Glassman created Crossfit in 2000 and now has over 7,000 affiliates world wide but why is the exercise regimen so popular? 

Steven Willis, a Crossfit Coach at Capstone Crossfit, said it's because it pushes you harder than you would push yourself.

"I think one of the benefits of Crossfit is just that variance piece where people, it keeps them interested, it keeps them engaged and there's always a challenge. You're never too good at Crossfit."

Parker Hutchens has been doing Crossfit for 2 years and said while he has heard of Crossfit injuries that isn't the norm in most gyms.

"I know there are some people that take it to the far, far extreme, past what's healthy and that's where I feel like a lot of people have injuries and trouble. I feel like if you just go within your means and do what you're capable of then you're not going to have any negative side effects."

Willis admits some of the workouts at Crossfit can be risky but that's why he suggests joining a gym or doing the workouts under the supervision of a professional trainer.

"I think most people, the majority of people, need a coach. Doing this on your own and just kind of following workouts can certainly be dangerous but I can't say that crossfit is dangerous by nature."

Kristy Rampy, a Covenant Lifestyle Center Fitness Specialist, would agree.

"I think Crossfit is fine. You just have to be careful not to over train, and over training can occur when your body does not have enough time to recover from the workouts that you have. Your body needs a rest time to repair muscles, other body systems, and replace nutrients and fluids."

One condition popping up in Crossfit from over training is Rhabdomyolysis, nicknamed "Uncle Rhabdo", but Dr. Larry Warmoth, a Nephorologist, said it's a serious condition usually caused by major trauma.

"Rhabdomyolysis, it's an injury to muscle tissue, skeletal muscle tissue, and it can be caused by a multitude of different things medicines, chemicals, crushing injuries, trauma, burn victims, but what we've been seeing lately are exercise induced."

Signs of rhabdomyolysis are severe muscle tenderness to the point that touching your skin can be uncomfortable, severe fatigue, and very dark urine the color of coffee or dark tea. If caught early, rhabdomyolysis can be treated but damage to the kidneys might be irreversible.

"Treatment is usually we just hydrate them very well, mostly to protect the kidneys, wash out the CK and the body will take care of it but if the levels get that high it can be very damaging to the kidneys."

Dr. Warmoth said his sons use the Crossfit workout and they have only seen positive results but he advises patients to take it slow and understand that Crossfit may not be right for everyone.

"A young person, Crossfit is a very novel, clever way of getting in shape, I don't have any problem with that. The intensity is a little concerning at times and certainly in older people it's probably not the exercise for them."

So there are some risks with Crossfit but most if you take it to the extreme!

If you decide to start a Crossfit workout try joining a gym so you have the proper supervision...

Take it slow! Easy yourself into the workouts and give your body time to recover in between workouts

Also be on the lookout for symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis because the faster it is caught the easier it is to treat.

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