Is CrossFit Safe? Uncle Rhabdo Reveals The Dark Side Of CrossFit

on September 25 2013 5:45 PM
CrossFit
CrossFit's mascot Uncle Rhabdo exposes a darker side to the fitness regimen. Twitter

CrossFit has been touted by some as the ultimate fitness regimen, but with its mascot “Uncle Rhabdo” being exposed, some are taking a second look at the intense workout routine. There’s apparently a dark side to the celebrated training and it could make some people think twice before deciding to join CrossFit.

According to News.com.au, Uncle Rhabdo is a fatigued yet buff cartoon.

He is a clown. Yes, literally, he is a clown. He’s also an exhausted clown that’s connected to a dialysis machine where some of his organs appear to be strewn out on the floor among a pool of blood that has gathered underneath him. 

So what’s Uncle Rhabdo’s deal and why would it be touted in the CrossFit community? News.com.au added the clown’s muscles have been overworked so much that he is suffering from Rhabdomyolysis. It’s a kidney disease that normally happens when one excessively works out. The muscle cells are destroyed.

Kidney damage can occur because of Rhabdomyolysis. If muscles are worked too hard the tissue starts to break down. Then, myoglobin, which is the byproduct of muscle fibers, gets released into the bloodstream. Naturally, Uncle Rhabdo is meant to be satirical, but there could be a problem if participants and coaches don’t know when to stop -- but the biggest risk is for those who are new to the CrossFit community. Though Rhabdomyolysis isn't exclusive to CrossFit, the workout is getting attention because of their mascot. 

"There's no way inexperienced people doing this are not going to hurt themselves," sports medicine specialist Wayne Winnick told the New York Times in 2005. The article, titled “Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You,” explained that the grueling workout is attractive to many fitness enthusiasts because it’s one of the most challenging around, but it could be dangerous if people don’t give their bodies the breaks they need to recover.

"It can kill you," Greg Glassman, CrossFit's founder told the NYT. "I've always been completely honest about that."

Not everyone who tries CrossFit will wind up like Uncle Rhabdo, but it is good to be aware of the symptoms so proper precautions could be put in place. WedMD.com provided the following symptoms that could occur if one has Rhabdomyolysis: if there are parts of the body that are painful, swollen or bruised; there is muscle weakness or difficulty to move arms or legs; feeling sick; being nauseous or vomiting; being confused, dehydrated, have a fever or unconsciousness; and if urine is dark-colored, there is reduced or no urine production.  

If a person does have Rhabdomyolysis, he or she will probably have to go to the hospital to get monitored and receive fluids through an IV so the kidney does not fail. Dialysis or surgery could also be needed, WebMD.com states.