If You're an Athlete, It's Time to Get Your Blood Tested

There's a lot of things athletes will do to get an edge. And getting a few vials of blood drawn isn't close to one of the craziest tactics that can help shave a few seconds off of a PR, reach new gains in the weight room or dominate the leaderboard in a spin class. A blood test is like a reality check. Is what you're doing actually working for you or against you?

How Can Blood Testing Help Athletes?
Blood testing can measure biomarkers related to performance and recovery. Biomarkers are objective measures of substances in the blood (think cholesterol, blood sugar and even hormones). But certain markers can indicate...
  1. Whether or not you're primed and ready to perform at your best
  2. If you're overtraining and need more rest and recovery
  3. If you're at risk for fatigue, injury and muscle pain
For example, vitamin D is a biomarker that can be measured in a blood test, and it plays essential roles in the body. Vitamin D is tied to muscle mass, strength and bone health (with the help of calcium). Around half of the global population has insufficient vitamin D levels. Athletes aren't immune to low vitamin D levels. In fact, a 2016 study found that 32% of professional basket players were deficient in the nutrient and 47% had low levels. Low vitamin D levels may indicate a stress fracture is on the horizon. So training hard with scary low levels of vitamin D is a recipe for disaster, whereas training with optimized vitamin D levels sets you up for success.
Not quite. Blood tests included in yearly physicals don't include all the biomarkers needed to give you a full picture of your athletic wellbeing. And the blood work you usually get back from those tests just tells you if you fall in the vast pit of normal. So you're either normal or clinically high or low. But athletes and people with lofty fitness goals don't operate at normal. They demand more from their bodies. Their bodies are finely tuned machines. And to bring their bodies to the highest level of performance, they need more granular data than what normal can offer.
Source: active.com
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