Blood testing in bodybuilding - why it's important

Fitness

Blood testing offers an innovative way to establish your baseline health, hormones and nutrition to be able to track your progress at key stages throughout your training programme.

18/10/2018


Emily Condon
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

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For bodybuilders, getting bigger, body composition and improving performance are the ultimate goals. To reach their goals, many spend hours in the gym and hard-earned money to be the best they can be. But if hormones are out of balance, or blood chemistry is showing inflammation or injury, no matter how hard you train you won’t be able to perform at your best. When training your inner health is just as important, if not more so, than how you look on the outside.

Why is blood testing beneficial?

Monitoring important blood markers can provide answers to common training questions and give you the knowledge you need to improve performance and stay healthy at the same time.

  1. Are you performing at your best? Hormones in the body play a critical role in strength training. Testosterone is a hormonal driver of muscle growth, responsible for the development of male physical characteristics, muscle mass, strength and fat distribution. Whereas the catabolic hormone cortisol often called the ‘stress hormone’, breaks down muscle, suppresses the immune system and enhances fat storage at the expense of protein and muscle. Testing your testosterone/cortisol (T:C) ratio is a more sensitive indicator of training stresses than measuring either hormonal level alone.
  2. Are you recovering properly after training? Training hard places the body under a lot of stress and it’s very important to give your body enough time to recover and rebuild. Creatine kinase (CK) is a muscle enzyme which signifies muscle cell damage and can indicate if muscle damage is not being repaired. Those who train often are also at risk of chronic low-level inflammation, which can impact your performance negatively. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an inflammation marker used to assess whether there is inflammation in the body and can indicate inadequate recovery or overtraining.
  3. Is your diet providing the necessary nutrients for energy and optimal performance? Nutrition is a key component of fat loss and muscle building and many people who train monitor their diet very closely and restrict their calorie intake in order to help improve their physique. It is very important to fuel the body with important vitamins and minerals, as becoming deficient in any essential vitamins or minerals causes breakdown of the metabolic pathway that produces optimum efficiency and performance. Because of this, it is important to monitor levels of key nutritional markers like iron, vitamin D, active B12 and folate. Proteins are the building blocks for repairing muscle tissue and a high protein diet is important in preserving muscle when training. Too much protein, however, can cause kidney damage and because of this, monitoring kidney function is very important.

Blood testing for IPED users

One group of people who should pay extra attention to their inner health are those who use image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) to boost their performance gains. Many men and women use anabolic steroids to make gains quickly but without knowing or understanding the risks; it’s easy to be blind to the damage you could be doing to your heart, liver, hormone balance and future fertility if you are unaware of the impact of IPED use on your body. The only way to truly know if you are succumbing to any harm before it is too late is by measuring your blood markers.

Our range of Sports Hormone blood tests are specifically designed to give IPED users these insights and provide a special focus on the areas of your health that can be most affected by steroid use. Our doctors are experienced in understanding the risks and can help highlight any areas you need to be concerned about.

Get Medichecked

Getting tested couldn’t be easier with Medichecks. With a range of sports performance blood tests aimed at every level, we have tests to check your baseline health right up to advanced profiles for bodybuilders. So, if you are looking to optimise your health and performance, get Medichecked today.


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