I’m not dead, but the Crossfit experiment is officially over. While I respect the amazing support network that CrossFit builds in the gym, it is not for me.
The first problem is I never really rest. Even on Friday, my second off-day, I was still heading out for an evening pole-dancing lesson. It turns out I can apply eyeliner with no functional triceps). In fact, I set a new record getting ready in 50 minutes. The class was my first time returning to a spinning pole in two years. While I tried to take it easy, the inverts still left me bruised and the spins left me dizzy. Back at home, my body hit rock bottom: sores, aches, pain, and straight up exhaustion mixed with an unhealthy dose of paranoia (do I have rhabdomyolysis or just hypochondriasis?). I don’t drink enough water usually, did I finally overdo it?
I started collecting pee in cups (hey, it worked for Howard Hughes) analyzing color and turbidity. Does this look like the color of tea? No, it just looks gross!
On top of this, my lower back hurts. Isn’t that where your kidneys are? By the time my wife gets home (from her more sensible Swedish massage), I was on the verge of heading to the ER. Instead I nurse myself by drinking water and icing muscles. As the cups start to clear, I decide to wait until morning. I manage to get through the rest of the weekend without any further exercise and the pain starts to fade.
Today, my wife and I decided to make the trip to the doctor (just to be safe). She was also paranoid about her swelling arms. After filling up another cup and pricking a finger, it turns out my protein levels are elevated meaning there probably was some kidney inflammation but little remaining danger. And I finally find out where my kidneys really are (closer to your side than your spine). The simple prescription was rest, water, healthy food, and ibuprofen.
While the media love playing up health scares, the trainers downplay the risks of going too far. In her years in the ER, the doctor had seen rhabdo in marathon runners, accident victims, and the homeless – but never had seen any from regular exercise (no CrossFitters yet). On the other hand, she did point out that strained and stressed muscles can take weeks to heal properly. CrossFit does not give you time to heal properly. For me, the potential benefits do not outweigh the risk of feeling like crap for the rest of the week or more.
For those of you who only just found this blog based no the #Crossfit hash tags, don’t worry, I’m not giving up on being healthy and all my other physical activities. I still have a ton of protein bars to eat, dance moves to learn, and dresses to fit into. In the end, the doctor was just happy we were getting exercise.