The Risk of Working Out Too Much | What Is Rhabdomyolysis?


“Go hard or go home!” How many times you have heard this motivational sentence from the month of your workout buddy or trainer.

Getting the maximum out of our workouts is important, but you should know your limits and listen to your body. There is a level when training does more harm than good. Sometimes it is better to give up the workout and go home.

It would have been better for Christopher Michael Everett if he had gone home. The 33-years old LA actor went to his first cycle class, and he gave his best from the first second. After 10 minutes he felt pain in his legs, and he felt bad, but he continued his tough workout.

Going home from the class he felt OK, but the night was a nightmare. He had severe pain in his thighs. The pain was so bad that he went to the ER where he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, and he must have stayed in the hospital for a week. Source:

To tell the truth, I have been working out for almost 20 years, but I have never cared about rhabdomyolysis. But to my surprise, it is a very dangerous syndrome that can come from overtraining.

What is rhabdomyolysis?


Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications such as renal (kidney) failure. This means the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death.


I would have never thought that the “breakdown of muscles” can cause such serious problems. The worst scenario is death when the kidneys shut down. The potassium level in the body goes so high that it leads to abnormal heart rhythms.

What can cause rhabdomyolysis?

  • Extreme muscle strain particularly in someone who is a beginner and not used to hard workouts. However, pro athletes can also suffer from it.
  • High body temperature. (for example running in hot weather)
  • Long-lasting muscle compression when someone cannot move for a prolonged period.
  • Metabolic disorders,
  • Crush injuries
  • Electrical shock injury
  • Viral and bacterial infections

Rhabdomyolysis symptoms

Typically muscle pain and weakness, brown or dark red urine, and other problems with urination. But, about 50% of the people do not have muscle related problems. More about this condition here.


Rhabdomyolysis can happen to anyone from beginners to pros if they push themselves too hard or they try a new type of exercise. A new, tough workout even if you are fit is a big shock for your body, so take things slowly and watch what your body is telling you.

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Written by James

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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