mirror photo of a leg, person in hospital bed, person speaking


‘Always listen to your body’: TikToker shares how a spin class almost cost them their life in viral video

The TikToker got a bad case of rhabdo after their first class.


Cecilia Lenzen

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 7, 2021   Updated on Nov 10, 2021, 10:52 am CST

In a viral video posted Oct. 24, a TikToker says they got rhabdomyolysis after taking their first spin class, and the experience almost cost them their life.

Kaelyn, known as @kofranco_ on the platform, says they love cycling and working out, and they took the spin class on a recommendation. 

The TikToker originally thought they had gained leg muscle from the workout, but they ended up in the hospital and almost lost their leg the next day. Kaelyn shared their experience in a series of TikToks explaining what happened. The initial video gained 2.9 million views.

Kaelyn apparently got a bad case of rhabdomyolysis after taking the class. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rhabdomyolysis, which is often called rhabdo, is a serious medical condition that can be fatal or result in permanent disability. The condition occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood, which can damage the heart and kidneys. 

Common causes of rhabdo include heat exposure, physical exertion or overuse, and direct physical trauma. In Kaelyn’s case, the cause appeared to be excessive physical exertion. 

Kaelyn explained that people are stationed in an indoor bike during spin classes. 

“You are fueled by high intensity workout music. The lights are dim, and everything is just high intensity,” Kaelyn said. 

Many people bring cycling shoes when they take spin classes, Kaelyn explained, but participants’ feet are essentially locked into the bikes. 

“Spin classes also target a specific group of muscles, so you pretty much workout your legs the entire time,” Kaelyn said. 


To prevent getting rhabdo, Kaelyn recommended taking it slow when starting a new workout class or routine. 

“Always always listen to your body. If anything feels off, make sure you’re not overheated, and definitely stay hydrated during the workout and after the workout,” they said.  

Kaelyn also pointed out that getting rhabdo after taking a spin class is common, especially for beginners. Doctors are also reporting more cases of spin classes leaving people with rhabdomyolysis, according to a 2018 report from Insider.

A group of doctors studied several cases of rhabdo in patients following their first spin class in a study published in the American Journal of Medicine.

The 2017 study noted at least 46 reported cases of rhabdo after a spin class, and in 42 of those cases occurred after a first spin class, Insider reported. Three of the patients went on to develop acute kidney injury. Researchers concluded that “the high-intensity exercise associated with ‘spin class’ comes with significant risks to newcomers to spin.”

Kaelyn said that although they were a first-timer at the spin class, anyone can get the condition. They said spin classes should have more guidelines, especially for first-time goers, about the dangers associated with the exercise. 

Alan Coffino, a co-author of the 2017 study, told the New York Times that he didn’t discourage the workout.

He said, “I would never discourage exercise, ever. Spin class is a great exercise. But it’s not an activity where you start off at full speed. And it’s important for the public to realize this and for trainers to realize this.”

Kaelyn did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. 

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*First Published: Nov 7, 2021, 2:28 pm CST