Xiao Tang, a 19-year-old sophomore at a college in Chongqing, China, was not used to exercise. This, combined with an apparent competitive streak, led to her being hospitalized when she got into an exercise fight on a video chat with an equally competitive friend.
“This is too embarrassing to say. I was chatting with [my friend] in Guandong over the Internet,” Xiao told China Press from the hospital. At some point, the two girls got into a squat contest to determine who had the most stamina.
“We both did not want to lose and so we kept trying to beat each other,” she explained. Neither of them willing to back down and stop squatting first, they both ended up doing over 1,000 squats.
After they both finally gave in after 2-3 hours of non-stop squats, they hung up, sore but unconcerned. They had just done an absurd amount of squatting, so a little soreness was not at all worrying to either of them. This, however, did not last long.
“Something was wrong in the morning,” Xiao told China Press.
“First of all, my leg was not only sore, but I couldn’t bend it. Then I went to the bathroom and [my] urine was brown.”
She knew, as most people could hazard a guess, that this was not a great sign, and sought medical treatment.
In hospital, she was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a serious condition caused by skeletal muscle injury. Dead muscle fibers – in this case, due to extreme levels of exercise – are released into the bloodstream, which can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure and death. Her body unable to remove waste, Xiao’s urine became tea-colored.