P90X, a trendy exercise program, nearly killed a man who wanted to lose 20 pounds quickly. PHOTO: Public domain
P90X, a popular workout program almost killed a man after one day. Matt Lombardi put on 20 pounds while getting his startup College Spun off the ground, and he wanted a quick trend workout to lose those pounds. 112 hour weeks brought Lombardi from 175 to 195. P90X throws you right into a tough workout. Lombardi explains:
"If you’ve done P90X, then you know that the first day (chest & back) is really, really difficult. You’re asked to do push-ups, then pull-ups, then push-ups, then pull-ups. I lost count of my how many of each I did – but it was a lot. Eventually, my muscles just shut down. All in all, I probably completed half of what I was supposed to do – so around 30 minutes of continuous, hard exercise."
It’s frightening that he was supposed to do two times what he described, and one wonders if he’s the first to have a reaction like Lombardi’s. And what was his reaction? Matt tried to workout again the next day, but couldn’t make it past the first round. Then the third day…
“Wednesday morning, my muscles were in such pain that I could barely use them at all. Getting out of bed was extremely difficult. Lifting my arms more than a few inches was nearly impossible. Clearly, I couldn’t do another day of the workout routine. Annoyed but concerned, I decided that I probably needed a few days off. Lame. I couldn’t even do two days of P90X without having to call it quits.
Thursday morning, things got real. When I got up to go to the bathroom, I noticed that my urine looked like Coca-Cola. In an attempt to self-diagnose (usually a bad idea), I Googled my symptoms. Ten seconds later, I knew I had “rhabdo” and that I was in serious trouble.”
“Rhabdo” is rhabdomyolysis , a condition that results from the body releasing too many toxins into the bloodstream, namely myoglobin. The most common cause is strenuous exercise. It can result in kidney failure, and this can result in death. Lombardi spent a week in the hospital, but his kidneys managed to stay intact.
Lombardi’s story (told in detail on his website), illustrates why new trends can be dangerous and extreme workouts more so. Americans have a dangerous combination of not getting enough exercise combined with a desire to fix their problems very quickly. Irregular, super-fast results oriented exercise programs are expensive, dangerous and mostly pointless. Take a walk, play some soccer, throw the Frisbee, go for a hike. As for P90X, I hadn’t heard of it until today, and I don’t need to hear about it again.