How To Prevent Muscle Tissue Breakdown After Exercise

Be wary of pushing yourself too hard when you work out.

By Steve Thio        21 April 2021

Recently, there has been a host of stories on gym goers suffering from a scary medical condition called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdo – as it is commonly called – is a condition where one suffers from the breakdown of muscle tissue after an intense workout and exercise regimen.

This can happen if you push yourself too hard in a high-intensity fitness programme, especially if youre working a different muscle group that youve never focused on previously. The bad news is that it can happen to men and women of different ages.

Signs of rhabdo include soreness in the legs days after the class, swollen thighs and being unable to bend both knees. Some individuals will also pass dark brown urine – a sign that your kidneys are overwhelmed by the myoglobin protein the body produces in response to the breakdown of muscle tissue. This can lead to kidney failure, abnormal heart rhythms and even death.

Even people who exercise regularly can get rhabdo, although most victims experience the condition after their first Spin or Crossfit class. Marathon runners are also at particular risk. Here are some ways to prevent rhabdo:

Be Aware

– Activities that require a lot of exertion and heat exposure will increase the chances of rhabdo. So be aware and avoid over-exertion where possible. Take more breaks and cool down frequently.

– Avoid intense exercise if you have been fasting or on a low calorie diet for some time. A low-carb diet is not advisable as well if you plan to have a hard and long workout. Balanced diets are the best.


– Drink more water and take caffeine-free and low sugar drinks.

– Note: dont drink too much as this may also cause adverse effects during your workout.

Start slow

– Warm up slowly and get into an easy rhythm when starting out your exercise, be it a cardio circuit or weight workout program. Let your body and muscles get used to the movements and activities.

Dont Over Exert

– It’s always tempting to push yourself harder in an intense workout environment  where everyone else is pushing on. If it’s your first class, do it in moderation and know your limits.

– If you feel your muscles straining beyond what youve experienced before, then it’s time to slow down and take it easy regardless of what others are doing in class.


Note: This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult your physician before starting on an intensive workout regimen.