Watch Out: Your Workout Could be Killing You

Injuries at the gym happen all the time. Sometimes they are very obvious and other times you never realize your buddy is hurting until they say something. Sometimes these injuries can be extremely harmful or even deadly, like a barbell to the throat. Other times, these deadly side effects of exercise are not as obvious. There are some serious problems that athletes can face, so here is a list of some of the things you should be looking out for.


This is a result of you working your body past exhaustion. It happens with weight lifters, long distance runners, and marathoners, since they are the most likely to have to keep pushing in their workout. They exhaust their muscles and are dehydrated more often. This can also be caused by drinking in excessive amounts or taking too many creatine supplements. It can also result from anabolic steroids.

Rhabdomyolysis, or rhabdo, is when muscle cells start to break down. They will release myoglobin into your bloodstream. This can damage your kidneys. If you are experiencing this condition, you may have severe muscle pain and dark colored urine. If you have this condition, and you do not get treated immediately, it can cause your kidneys permanent damage.

This condition is very easy to prevent. If you are constantly pushing yourself to the limit, stop that. You do not need your body breaking down from it. Of course, continue to push yourself in the gym, but do not go as far as your body literally breaking down. Make sure to stay hydrated, and when your body is telling you to stop, listen.

Electrolyte Imbalance

If you are doing hard core workouts, along with a weight loss program, you can suffer from electrolyte imbalance. With these two things, your body chemistry can be seriously thrown off track and cause either too many electrolytes or too little. Electrolytes are substances in your body like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Once your electrolyte balance is thrown off, it can cause some serious heart problems. In the most extreme cases, it can cause a heart attack. Extreme weight loss can also add to this problem.

Serious weight loss diets, ones where you basically starve yourself, are a serious cause of electrolyte imbalance. This shocks your system when you go from barely eating to eating regularly again. This will up your electrolyte levels, which would have been severely low from this diet, and cause a shock to your cardiovascular system, causing potential heart attack. The longer that you are on a severe weight loss diet, the more likely that you will experience electrolyte imbalance when you begin eating normally again, or even add new things to your diet once again.


Better known as exertional heat stroke, this is when your body overheats when you are working out very hard. Some studies suggest that training in heat can improve your cardio abilities, too much heat is not a good thing. Symptoms of this can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, lightheadedness, confusion, and low blood pressure. Make sure that if you are feeling these symptoms or you see someone else who is, you need to get into a cool space. You can die from heat stroke, so please be aware of the symptoms in yourself and others.


Different, but still very similar to hyperthermia, hypothermia is when your body temperature drops dangerously low. One of the most common places that hypothermia happens to athletes is in alpine sports. It can also happen in other situations though, particularly swimming. If you are a long distance swimmer, you need to be aware of hypothermia. I’m sure that you already know about it, but be aware of when your body needs a warm up so that you do not kill yourself.

Hypothermia can happen in a variety of ways, like working out in cold weather. When your body temperatures get very high from exercise and the outside temperature is cold, this can result in hypothermia when your body temp drops again. Your sweaty clothes will cling to your body and prevent your body from dropping to a normal temperature and instead match the outside temperature. To prevent this, keep a dry sweatshirt handy for after your workout to help you warm back up.


We all know about dehydration, but it is one of the most common ways that people get very ill, or even drop dead, while working out. If you are sweating a lot, or your gym is very hot, you need to make sure that you are getting enough water. Your body needs you to match your water intake with your water out take, so keep this in mind.

Many people are dehydrated on a daily basis, which will probably not cause any problems, but when you are working out, your body needs the water for many reasons. Severe dehydration causes electrolyte imbalances, which was already talked about in this article. When there is less water in your body, your electrolyte levels are increased and this can be dangerous for your body. The best way to fix this is to prevent dehydration in the gym especially. You need to make sure that you are getting the recommended amount of water daily. Some signs that you may be dehydrated include, you’re very thirsty, you’re dizzy, fatigued, your heart rate is off, muscle cramping, and your urine color.

If you are trying to lose weight, you need to be extra careful about dehydration, because the water that you usually get from foods is going to be much less. You are also probably sweating more because you are working out more. Make sure that you are taking the right steps towards staying hydrated daily, especially at the gym.


If you are concerned about any of these things, make sure that you discuss this with a healthcare professional. Although your trainer in the gym is qualified, also run it by your regular doctor because they will be able to perform a physical.