Rhabdomyolysis: What you need to know

At CF True we want to teach you everything we know, to share our knowledge on fitness and health so you can share it with others. One of our top priorities is to make sure you are moving safely so you can enjoy a lifetime of fitness. Therefore, it is our job to keep you informed on all aspects of health and wellness. One of those topics that might be outside of your scope is Rhabdomyolysis.


Rhabdomyolysis often referred to as just simply Rhabdo is a breakdown of muscle tissue which causes a release of myoglobin (an iron-oxygen binding protein) into the the bloodstream. Myoglobin is not normally found in the bloodstream, but when it does get into the bloodstream the kidneys will help to remove it. However, too much and the kidney will not be able to keep up and sever kidney damage could be possible.


There are some interesting things to note about Rhabdo:

  • It’s not just from CrossFit, although Crossfit gets a bad name from it I think that this is actually a positive thing in that more people are aware of what Rhabdo is, what the symptoms are, and how to minimize any chance of getting it.
  • There is no one activity that causes it. There have been documented cases of football players, runners, swimmers, cyclist, etc. It can also happen to those in the military, drug abusers, and crush victims. Or a result of heatstroke, genetic factors, and seizures.
  • It can happen to anyone. Untrained athletes, highly trained athletes, young, old, everyone is at risk and need to take proper precautions.


The difficult part about rhabdo is that there are very few warning signs that you have pushed too far and on top of that only about 50% of cases have symptoms and many of them are the same as normal muscle soreness. Unlike other injuries where you might tweak a muscle and then layoff doing certain movements, you might not notice anything wrong during your workout as the symptoms take time to develop.


Due to all the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to who and when rhabdo may develop it may seem a bit scary. But there are actions that we can take. First we need to be informed and that is what we are doing with this blog. We need to be aware of our bodies when performing high intensity work and be truthful to ourselves about our training level and our capabilities.


Second we need to take steps to minimize the chances of developing rhabdo beyond just considering the movements. Being well hydrated is key because it will aid your kidneys in flushing out the toxins that go into the bloodstream. But hydration is not just drinking water. You also need to consider your sodium and potassium levels (electrolytes) which work together to balance your hydration.


It is interesting to note that potassium is lost only through urine, but sodium is lost both between sweat and urine. So, if you are drinking a ton of water and therefore using the restroom constantly you’ll need to replenish these key electrolytes. Also, if your training session occurs on a very hot day you’ll likely need to replenish these even more than if you had done the same work on a cool day.


Some of the best sources of potassium are from plants; Bananas, Broccoli, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Oranges, and Kale. Sodium is a bit easier. If you eat processed foods you are likely getting a good amount, but if you are under extreme conditions you may want to add in a bit more. Any salty snack will do or sports drink like Formula O2.


Even if you have taken all the precautionary steps it is still important to know about the symptoms of rhabdo and when you need to get to a doctor. But remember not everyone will develop these symptoms:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Dark Urine (think coca-cola)
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Low/infrequent urination


If you find yourself with these symptoms it is best to seek medical attention. When caught early the damage will be minimal and you’ll have a full recovery. Typically those who develop rhabdo will be admitted to a hospital for intravenous fluids. Based on the severity,  the stay at the hospital can be anywhere from a few days to a week plus. After being released from the hospital your recovery will mean that you are not able to exercise for a few weeks and sometimes longer and when you do start to exercise again it will be a slow, gradual process.

We’ve taken the first step in educating ourselves on the potential for rhabdo. As your coaches we will help you to modify workouts to ensure your safety. And you now have the knowledge to stay healthy for a lifetime of awesome workouts! Let us know if you have any questions.


Athlete Spotlight: Rob

What made you choose CrossFit True?
My wife Julie started working out about a year before I joined and she obviously loved it. My job at the time was a huge source of stress and I wasn’t getting enough (any) exercise. Stress and lack of deadlifts were taking a toll on my mental and physical health. I needed to do something and TA seemed like it was worth a try.
How long have you been training with us?
3 1/2 years
What do you do for the short time of the day that you aren’t with us (i.e. a job)?
Despite what Dan might think, I’m not a spy or an arms dealer. I travel to funky places because I do environmental research for an international think-tank.
How is your nutrition? Do you eat a certain way? If so when did you make the switch?
I go back and forth. I did one Lurong and I really stuck with it, but then I tried another and couldn’t get into it. I occasionally avoid bread, pasta, etc for a week or two, but I can’t give them up completely…
What are your 3 favorite movements/exercises?
Front squats, box jumps, and HPCs
How about a favorite WOD?
Anything without burpees
What is your favorite workout song?
Something angry … “Shipping Up To Boston” or “Killing In The Name”
What is your favorite type of workout? (AMRAP, Chipper, Ladder, Rounds for time?)
Descending ladders – I like things that get easier over time.
Have you changed at all physically or mentally since starting to train with us?
I regularly wake up at 5AM, I’m a lot stronger, and I have less lower back pain.
What are your current goals?
Drop 10 lbs, do more pull-ups, don’t get injured
What is your favorite color?
sweaty gym-short gray
What can you do now that you weren’t able to do before training at CrossFit True?
1 kipping pull-up…maybe 2?
Say something else, anything!
There’s not a lot of things that would get me out of bed at 5AM, but TA is a great part of my life. The coaches do a great job building a fun and inclusive community. I’m looking forward to many more years of WODs.

What is fitness and who is fit? Part 3 – CrossFit’s Second Fitness Standard

A few weeks ago we dove into the CrossFit article “What is Fitness and Who is Fit?”  We started off in part 1 discussing the general idea of fitness and who the public thinks of as fit.  That post can be viewed here.

Then 2 weeks ago we looked at CrossFit’s first fitness standard, the 10 general physical skills.  That post can be viewed here.

Today in part 3 we will look at CrossFit’s second fitness standard – The hopper Model.

Part 3 – CrossFit’s Second Fitness Standard (By Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal, OCT 2002)

The essence of this model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable. Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges, where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform feats randomly drawn from the hopper. This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks in relation to other individuals.

The implication here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar tasks and tasks combined in infinitely varying combinations. In practice this encourages the athlete to disinvest in any set notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, periodization, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied.


Glassman, Greg. (2002, OCT). What is Fitness? The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved from: https://journal.crossfit.com/article/what-is-fitness

The Secret: Intensity

Intensity is one of the keystone attributes that makes CrossFit so successful, without intensity results would be far and few between. When thinking of intensity, picture your last workout….how much effort did you put in?

Here is a real life example for you:

Say you walk your dog 2 miles….is that exercise…absolutely. Getting outside for a walk has many great benefits; fresh air, vitamin D, stimulates the brain, releases stress, and gives you energy.

But if you are looking for greater physical achievements: fat loss, increased endurance, improved strength, etc. Wouldn’t you find more success in doing 400m sprint repeats?

You’ll still get some of the same benefits as walking your dog, but you’ll also gain more physiological improvements. You’ll have larger gains to your cardiovascular system, your muscles will be working harder therefore building up the necessary mechanics to move faster, and you’ll be burning more calories.

At your next workout, when the coach is going over the workout and they tell you to kick up the intensity, they want you to be moving fast, to be going from one movement right to the next, to go through the reps unbroken….think about what that means at your level of fitness and make the necessary adjustments to the workout to achieve that high level of intensity. You’ll be amazed by your results.

And as always, if you are not sure what adjustments to make in order to feel that intensity talk with the coach and come up with a plan together.

Here is a cool video from CrossFit HQ on Intensity

Recipes: Coconut Aminos

Have you ever purchased something for a single recipe and then thought…what the heck and I’m going to do with all the rest of it. Well, enter Coconut Aminos. The other day I overheard a few of our members talking about having to buy coconut aminos and now what are they going to do. So, here is a list of some of my favorite recipes that call for coconut aminos.


Beef & Broccoli


She calls it Thai Beef with Basil, but I like it with broccoli too so I have changed the name. This is a great, quick meal.


Paleo Orange Chicken


Literally, my taste buds were dancing.


Carrot-Ginger Dressing


If you have ever had the pleasure of going to all you can eat sushi with me, you know that I will order at least 5 of the house salad (this is not an over ex) because they are topped with delicious ginger dressing. And when I figured out how to make it myself, it was even better.




Speaking of sushi. If you like to dip your sushi in soy sauce, next time try coconut aminos. I don’t go out for sushi often but when I do I am the crazy lady with a bottle of my own “soy sauce” (coconut aminos)


Beef Jerky


Homemade beef jerky is great and mine is always marinated in coconut aminos.

Those are just a few of my favorite recipes, ones that are in constant rotation, but there are plenty more. Check out The Coconut Mama, she has a list of 50 things for coconut aminos.

The Committed Club – April 2017

What do I have to do to get into the Committed Club?

It’s easy! Just attend classes 12 times during the month or an average of 3 days/week and you’re in. 3 days/week is that sweet spot where you can really make some serious progress and not get burnt out.  As you continue to develop as an athlete you will be able to handle more days and really accelerate your progress.

April 2017 Committed Club

Marc P. 25 Classes
Kristin R. 18 Classes
Jess T. 16 Classes
Joe A. 14 Classes
Raysa F. 14 Classes
Jess S. 12 Classes
Landis D. 12 Classes
Meg F. 12 Classes

We have a new leader this month!  Marc overtook Kristin for the lead with 25 classes in April!  Nice work Marc!

New to the committed club this Month are Jess T., Jess S., and Meg F. Great work you three.

Big shout out to our consistent members Marc, Kristin, Raysa, Joe and Landis for making the club 2 months in a row. Keep it up!

Runners Up with 11 classes.
Keep pushing and you all will be there next month!
Shannon H.
Wil T.

Don’t see your name on the list?  Make sure you sign in to each and every class.

Don’t Believe the Hype

I  have this love-hate thing going on with social media. I love, it makes procrastinating so much easier. I get to see amazing things that I didn’t know existed, witness things I didn’t think could be done, and of course all the cutest animals. The hate comes in because of its shallow nature, it’s glimpse into what is actually happening in the world, and because it’s so easy to procrastinate.


We could go on and on about the way social media is either enlightening our lives or burning down our reality, but today we are just going to focus on just one aspect, food.


The reality of it is….those crazy 22 pound burritos, 57 scoop ice cream sundaes, and philly-steak & cheese-stuffed-pizza-calzone-encrusted with doughnuts are not a thing you should consume. I don’t care if your favorite athlete or celebrity who has a rocking bod and whose fitness is top notch posted it.


Here is the problem. We see a post of someone who we aspire to be more like eating junk and we think…well, if they can do it so can I. But this is the problem because not only will we see X person eating junk and then give ourselves permission to do the same but then the following day we see Y person eating junk and again we eat what they do and before you know it you have eaten more sweet treats, nachos, candy, etc. in a week than we should have for the entire year.


That is problem number 1


The other problem is that even if these super athletes did eat what they were posting they also spent a large portion of their day working on their fitness. Take this example:


Now if you just skimmed over that….take a closer look…..the middle “Part 5:conditioning” that is 5 of the CF “Girl” wods back to back (Diane, Fran, Elizabeth, Karen, & Isabel). That part alone is way more fitness than us mortals can handle. Not to mention the other 6 parts to the workout.


So, next time you are checking out your social media, stop and think about all those food posts, its excessive. And if you are looking to make positive changes in your body composition, sport of choice, & live healthier lifestyle, don’t fall into the trap…this is not how fitness is achieved.



What is fitness and who is fit? Part 2 – CrossFit’s first fitness standard

Last week in part 1 (you can read that article here) we discussed who the general public thought of  as fit and we looked at CrossFit’s definition of fitness.  This week we will look at CrossFits first fitness standard.  This is what we as community use to both design our own fitness programs and to evaluate any other program we see.

Part 2 – CrossFit’s First Fitness Standard (By Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal, OCT 2002)

“There are 10 recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these 10 skills. A regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these 10 skills.

Importantly, improvements in endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility come about through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body. By contrast, improvements in coordination, agility, balance and accuracy come about through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.”


For another perspective on the 10 general physical skills check out Coach Moe’s article here


Glassman, Greg. (2002, OCT). What is Fitness? The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved from: https://journal.crossfit.com/article/what-is-fitness






  1. prosper; flourish.


Are you thriving?


To thrive is an amazing feeling. It’s continuing to get better everyday. It’s adding a layer onto your fitness. It’s learning new skills and improving upon the ones you already have. It’s hard work and dedication and the rewards are blissful!


But sometimes we hit a plateau and although the efforts we put in at the gym are still undeniable,  there is something missing that is not allowing us to thrive. It could be due to a variety of circumstances; not being consistent in our workouts, not recovering properly after workouts (hydration, sleep, mobility), or outside stressors (work, family, etc).


But the thing that makes the biggest difference, that sets us up to thrive or keeps us stagnant is nutrition. If you want that “before & after” photo, you want a “transformation Tuesday”, you want to feel great during workouts…pushing your limits and continue to thrive, you need to fuel your body properly.

Check out this video from CrossFit HQ and then sign up for the Lurong 5-week nutrition challenge and see for yourself what it feel like to thrive.






What is Fitness and Who is fit? Part 1

We could sit here all day and debate which star athlete is more fit.  You see the problem with defining true fitness is that there is no single test to find it.  You can easily tell who has a stronger deadlift by setting up a bar and seeig who can lift the most weight.  In the same way you can see who has the fastest mile time by going to a track and running a mile race.  In order to try and answer this question of what is fitness and who is fit CrossFit founder Greg Glassman wrote an article titled “What is Fitness” way back in 2002.  Even though it is 15 years old at this point it is still a great article.  Since it is very long I am going to break it down in sections and post it here for you over the next several weeks so that you can digest it and think about it.

In this first part of the article Glassman talks about who the public thinks of as fit and why there may be a case both for and against that argument.  He goes on to describe his theory of World-Class Fitness and how to achieve it.  Enjoy!

Part 1 – What is fitness and who is fit? (By Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal, OCT 2002)

“In 1997, Outside Magazine crowned triathlete Mark Allen “the fittest man on Earth.” Let us just assume for a moment that this famous six-time winner of the IronMan Triathlon is the fittest of the fit. Then what title do we bestow on the decathlete Simon Poelman, who also possesses incredible endurance and stamina yet crushes Mr. Allen in any comparison that includes strength, power, speed and coordination?

Perhaps the definition of fitness does not include strength, speed, power and coordination, though that seems rather odd. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “fitness” and being “fit” as the ability to transmit genes and being healthy. No help there. Searching the Internet for a workable, reasonable definition of fitness yields disappointingly little. Worse yet, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the most respected publisher in exercise physiology, in its highly authoritative “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning,” does not even attempt a definition.

CrossFit’s Fitness


For CrossFit, the specter of championing a fitness program without clearly defining what it is that the program delivers combines elements of fraud and farce. The vacuum of guiding authority has therefore necessitated that CrossFit provide its own definition of fitness. That is what this article is about: our “fitness.”

Our pondering, studying, debating about and finally defining fitness have played a formative role in CrossFit’s successes. The keys to understanding the methods and achievements of CrossFit are perfectly embedded in our view of fitness and basic exercise science.

It will come as no surprise to most of you that our view of fitness is a contrarian view. The general public both in opinion and in media holds endurance athletes as exemplars of fitness. We do not. Our incredulity on learning of Outside’s awarding a triathlete the title of “fittest man on Earth” becomes apparent in light of CrossFit’s models for assessing and defining fitness.

CrossFit makes use of three different standards or models for evaluating and guiding fitness. Collectively, these three standards define the CrossFit view of fitness. The first is based on the 10 general physical skills widely recognized by exercise physiologists. The second standard, or model, is based on the performance of athletic tasks, while the third is based on the energy systems that drive all human action.

Each model is critical to CrossFit, and each has distinct utility in evaluating an athlete’s overall fitness or a strength-and-conditioning regimen’s efficacy. Before explaining in detail how each of these three perspectives works, it warrants mention that we are not attempting to demonstrate our program’s legitimacy through scientific principles. We are but sharing the methods of a program whose legitimacy has been established through the testimony of athletes, soldiers, cops and others whose lives or livelihoods depend on fitness.”

Glassman, Greg. (2002, OCT). What is Fitness? The CrossFit Journal. Retrieved from: https://journal.crossfit.com/article/what-is-fitness

Load More Posts