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There’s no denying that Dana Linn Bailey is in killer shape—and always has been—but that doesn’t mean she’s invincible. The former Women’s Physique Olympia champ, and longtime athlete, took to Instagram on Tuesday to share a cautionary tale of overtraining with her 1.9 million followers.
In the post, Bailey explains that during a grueling CrossFit workout, she gave herself rhabdomyolysis—a breakdown of muscle tissue that can lead to kidney failure, heart damage, and even death. Often called “rhabdo,” it’s a rare but serious syndrome that has a reputation for affecting athletes who do high-intensity or extreme endurance workouts.
Bailey, whose training is typically more bodybuilding-focused, got rhabdo during her first day of CrossFit training during some high-volume GHD situps. She explained everything in the multi-slide post below, saying it took five days before she noticed something was really wrong.
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Who woulda thought, OVERTRAINING is actually a real thing?!!! #mindblown ??? – SWIPE to READ STORY. I’ve sorta waiting till I found out everything is getting better and I am going to make a full recovery. And my last lab results showed significant improvement. Everyone give a read because this can happen to anyone whether you are new to lifting or have been training for 15+ years…if you are competitive like me, this can happen to you!! It’s hard to tell an athlete, don’t go so hard and take it easy… – THANK YOU ALL for all your get well messages!!! I’ll be making a FULL recovery in a couple more days and hopefully back to lifting ????!!
Fortunately, Bailey is making a full recovery, and she hopes that her situation doesn’t deter people from trying CrossFit. She even plans to return to it once she’s back to full speed, but wants people to know that rhabdo can happen to anyone during a serious workout—and that we should all be on the lookout for symptoms of overtraining. Some of the symptoms of Rhabdomyolysism include fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, agitation, infrequent urination, and more.
In the post, Bailey also urged CrossFitters to share some exercises to look out for during volume training. Bailey got a huge response to her post, including veteran CrossFit athlete Brooke Ence, who’s no stranger to knocking out high-volume workouts on the regular.
“Jumping pull ups, any exercise done in a high volume format where you will have excessive muscle break down without you feeling a sense of fatigue or pain that would make you want to stop,” Ence wrote. She added that the risk of overtraining doesn’t mean you should be afraid of high-volume training, but that “you have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.”
Each year, nearly 26,000 cases of Rhabdomyolysism are reported in the United States, according to a report by the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine. If an athlete like Bailey, who has been training for more than 15 years, can be affected by overtraining, then anyone can. So heed her warning, and watch out for symptoms of overtraining to stay safe while you make gains.