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December 14 2018

How My Thanksgiving Break & Some Good Intentioned Exercise, SoulCycle Left Me With A Life-Threatening Condition

I was recently discharged from the hospital after being admitted for 7 days, with a life threatening condition called Rhabdomyolysis or “Rhabdo” for short. It is a serious condition in which muscles break down and release proteins and enzymes into the bloodstream. Your Kidneys are put into overdrive to try and clean the proteins and enzymes from your body but can’t handle it and eventually shut down. In rare cases, it can even lead to Kidney failure and even death. When muscle cells are damaged, the enzyme Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK) is released into the bloodstream. While normal levels of CPK are around 100-200, when I was admitted and my CPK was 79,000. One of my nurses said she never saw levels that high before.

So, what happened. I was invited to do a 90 minute SoulCycle Turkey Burn class Thanksgiving morning. This was my first SoulCycle class but thought nothing of it as I’ve worked out before & had considered myself pretty fit. I knew there would be some after workout soreness as this was my first-time doing a SoulCycle, but I locked my feet in like everyone around me and got right to it. The lights were dimmed, music was blasting, and the instructor was encouraging everyone to give it their all for that upcoming afternoon turkey. I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary I peddled through the 90 minute “turkey burn” class that turned the rest of my trip home to NY into hell.

I didn’t feel myself struggling but I didn’t exactly follow what everyone else was doing around me. As a first timer I went at my own pace, didn’t change the resistance, stand up or dance as much as everyone else around me. 90 minutes had quickly come to an end I unclipped my feet walked out the door to have my legs give out on me. I sat down, changed my shoes and walked to the car. I felt sore but still nothing out of the ordinary. I went home showered got ready for Thanksgiving dinner and realized that the pain started to hurt more and more still pushing it aside like it was just post workout soreness. I drank my way through Thanksgiving & woke up the next morning feeling extremely sore in the thighs not able to get up and down in the car, on the toilet, in bed or sleep through the night but I powered through trying to make the best out of the rest of my trip home. Little did I know that my body was starting to shut down.

On Saturday morning I got on a plane home and sat through the pain but getting on the plane was probably the worst thing for me. By the time I arrived home my legs had blown up and I couldn’t bend my knee. I had trouble making it up stairs and getting up and down off the couch. I couldn’t make it through the night without crying and tossing & turning in excruciating pain. I called my dad who had searched “SoulCycle and muscle soreness” and different symptoms I was having when he came across a few articles on “Rahabo” with titles like; “Why intense workouts are leading to a life-threatening condition” & “As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common” and an article from The American Journal of Medicine “A Public Health Concern. Spin Class-Induced Rhabdomyolysis.” He sent them to me saying he thought I had a mild case of it. I didn’t believe it but when I couldn’t take the pain anymore, I ended up taking myself to the ER where I ended up in a hospital bed for way longer than expected, hooked up to an IV scared for my life diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis.

My mom flew down to FL and I spent 7 days in the hospital connected to an IV drip until my levels dropped low enough to not be dangerous. I ran into some complications because I was getting so much IV my veins couldn’t take it. My arms blew up and nurses were poking me in different places to keep IV flowing. Day 5 came, and I didn’t know how many more needles I could take my body was so sore I was dying to get out of there, but I knew it wasn’t safe. So, I sat there connected to my machine waiting for my levels to go down.

Stay Fit and Healthy

When I landed myself in the hospital after this workout, I was surprised, it is something you couldn’t imagine happening. Thankfully my numbers moved in the right direction however it’s going to take more doctors’ visits and some time for me to fully recover. Over one week later and it is still a struggle.

I wanted to share my story because this apparently is more common than you think. With something like this happening more and more it is a wonder why SoulCycle doesn’t disclose these potential serious effects to beginners.

About Zara Puskuldjian

Hi, I’m Zara Puskuldjian! I am from Long Island, New York but I currently reside in Boca Raton, FL. Recent graduate from Lynn University with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Photography. I love traveling, my friends, family, photography, warm weather and my 3 lbs. min pin, Nova. Oh and how could I forget my undying love for… chipotle. I am a firm believer in the wise words of Coco Chanel “Beauty begins the moment you decided to be yourself.” (:

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