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November 19, 2018

6ABC reporter shares details of harrowing condition caused by over-exercising

Jeannette Reyes spent five days in the hospital after developing rhabdomyolisis

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Carroll - 6abc Jeannette Reyes Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

6abc Action News reporter, Jeannette Reyes.

Jeannette Reyes, a reporter for 6ABC Action News in Philadelphia, learned a life-threatening lesson about pushing her body to the max this past summer.

In a segment reported by the station's health reporter, Ali Gorman, Reyes recounted the harrowing story of how an intense workout with a new personal trainer caused her arms to swell beyond anything she'd experienced before.

One morning this past summer, Reyes was filling in as an anchor and noticed that her arms were ballooning over the course of the broadcast.

"That morning before I anchored the morning show, about 3:30 in the morning, the swelling stopped at my elbow," Reyes said. "By the end of the show, about two and half hours later, it worked its way down, almost halfway down my forearm. So, the swelling was working its way down."

Reyes was suffering from a dangerous condition known as rhabdomyolisis, an exercise-induced breakdown of muscle fibers that leak into the bloodstream. If left untreated, "rhabdo" can cause kidney failure or trigger serious liver and heart problems.

The risk of developing rhabdo is difficult to gauge because so many in the fitness and personal training world lean on motivational techniques that drive clients to exert themselves beyond pain. In Reyes' case, she knew something didn't feel right.

"My body told me 20 minutes in, something was terribly wrong. Each day it got progressively worse," Reyes said.

Gorman said she took a look at Reyes' arms and suspected she might be suffering from rhabdo. Lab tests confirmed Reyes had a severe case of the condition. She was hospitalized for five days, unable to bend her arm because of the swelling.

"I think sometimes the idea is to push your client to their breaking point," Reyes said. "But their breaking point could also mean putting their health in danger. I think there needs to be a lot more training with personal trainers."

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