Until now, users complaining and closing their Facebook accounts have mainly been private individuals, but could the platform’s recent public rejection by CrossFit spell the beginning of the end for the social media giant?
For the past two decades, the California-based firm CrossFit has hawked an intensive fitness regimen and built a chain of training centers around it, earning the loyalty of millions of customers. CrossFit understood the value of platforms like Facebook and Instagram in targeting its audience, building up a devoted following and keeping them engaged.
Yet, instead of appealing to the blandest possible consensus opinions – the safe, default choice of most image-conscious companies – CrossFit actively infused its social media messages with an actual ideology. Its publications and pronouncements on weightlifting and workouts regularly reference libertarian politics, dovetailing with those of the company’s irreverent president, Greg Glassman.
Researchers are warning that a potentially fatal kidney condition, that has been linked to Crossfit, is on the rise.
Called rhabdomyolysis, the condition causes muscles to break down or leak, releasing a protein, myoglobin, into the bloodstream. This, in extreme cases can lead to kidney failure and even death.
Rhabdomyolysis has traditionally been caused by physical trauma. However, since 2005, the number of people being diagnosed with it has risen steadily and in the past five years there has been a 20-fold increase in cases, The Conversation reports.
Researchers say that’s connected to the rising popularity of high-intensity interval training like Crossfit, which can cause exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis.
So explain the Crossfit connection
Rhabdomyolysis can be caused is by extreme exercise. It happens because of depleted energy levels in the cells. If the cells lack the energy to undertake necessary functions such as maintaining the electrolyte balance, the cell walls are injured and leak. While elderly people who fall and are not found often present with this sort of muscle breakdown, it’s also seen in people following major surgery and in people who push themselves to the limit with intense exercise – this is “exertional” rhabdomyolysis.
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Researchers have pointed to a “strong association” between rhabdomyolysis and Crossfit. It’s a link that even the founder of the exercise craze has accepted, running the above cartoon on his blog. Those in the Crossfit community sometimes ever jokingly refer to it as “rhabdo.”
It would be assumed that the potential seriousness of the condition would mean it’s taken rather seriously, but some Crossfit junkies wear it with a badge of honor. There are online communities where people boast about getting it and take selfies from hospital — it’s seen as dedication to the exercise.
While most people who get exertional rhabdo will just need fluids and rest, there are extreme cases of kidney failure, irregular heart rhythm and in some cases death.