Duncan didn't go to the hospital. But according to Dr. Anthony Luke, a sports medicine specialist at UCSF, it's likely she was suffering from "compartment syndrome," an extreme muscle strain that can arise from overexertion; she may also have had a mild case of rhabdo.

Jane, meanwhile, attended a CrosSFit class just last month with similar results: agonizing pain, swollen arms. When she went to urgent care, she was told she had rhabdo.

Both women say their instructors should have been paying closer attention. But Starrett, who is a licensed physical therapist, said in a recent interview that "the responsibility lies absolutely with the athletes." Starrett's gym is now in its fourth year of operation. He says he's seen four cases of rhabdo during that time, but, he added, "I guarantee that we will have more cases of rhabdo in the future." That's why he says he gives clients a lengthy warning before their workouts. Neither Jane nor Duncan recall hearing such a warning.

Starrett said that in January he added a two-week "intro series" class before clients are thrown into "all levels."

Luke says that in the last three or four years he has seen a lot more patients with injuries from bootcamp fitness classes. The ones who get injured, he said, either started at a high level and weren't ready for the kind of workout they got, or were veterans who should have known their limits. He suggests that preventing injury is ultimately up to the individual, but that good trainers should ease their clients into the workout program for at least a couple of weeks.

Despite their horror stories, both women say they would take more bootcamp classes, proving that it may take more than one trip to the hospital to deter fitness devotees from the lure of getting ripped.

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