This article is Medically Approved ✓ by Dr. Edward Salko
Getting into bodybuilding and other physical sports require more than just intense training.
Since the level of work required in these disciplines will push your body to limits, proper health monitoring should always be considered.
That is why bodybuilding bloodwork is recommended before and during specific periods of training.
Likewise, the need for blood tests is required especially, if you are taking dietary supplements.
Nonetheless, since these kinds of work and supplementation are standard bodybuilding and sports training practices, doctors often recommend specific blood tests.
If you are a bodybuilder or someone who plans to become one, this is the right place for you to learn about the bodybuilding blood work you need.
Bodybuilders should take blood tests such as CBC, CMP-14, and tests for cortisol, reproductive hormones, insulin, and thyroid hormones.
Your doctor may also order other types of blood tests depending on your health status or if you have an existing condition or infection.
Why Are Blood Tests Necessary for Bodybuilders?
For professional bodybuilders and athletes, annual health consultation and checkups along with the said blood tests are non-negotiable.
The frequency of your doctor’s visits may increase if there are health problems that need to be addressed.
Indeed, the health screening necessary for bodybuilding can be more demanding than other less physically challenging sports.
But it comes with the general understanding that once you start intense training like resistance exercises and strength enhancing activities, your body will have critical changes.
In the process of achieving leaner muscles and low body fats, your muscular tissues will experience damages that may trigger inflammation and imbalance in enzyme and hormone production.
It is even more aggravated with the intake of steroids and administration of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Over the years, research continues to link conditions like myocardial infarct and cancer to anabolic steroid use.
Hence, anyone who takes steroids to enhance their physique even without going into competitive bodybuilding is advised to get some bloodwork done.
If changes in the body due to these practices are not monitored, you may be jeopardizing your health entirely.
Furthermore, adverse results may manifest if you go overboard with the training and supplements.
3 Types of Blood Tests Bodybuilders Need to Take
A complete blood count (CBC) is a standard inclusion in a routine checkup. It is performed to evaluate your blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets).
Your CBC results will reveal plenty of information about your health. It is used for screening, diagnosing and monitoring a variation of conditions that affect your blood cells
Each composition of your blood has reference ranges for normal counts.
For example, elevated white blood cells (WBCs) may suggest infection.
Low red blood cells (RBCs) can be linked to anemia.
Nonetheless, CBC provides baseline information about your general health. In addition, it reveals probable health conditions that could interfere with your bodybuilding training and food requirements.
A comprehensive metabolic panel is performed to check your metabolism and get an overview of your body’s chemistry. It includes 14 tests designed to evaluate vital organs and bodily fluids.
Some of the information your doctor can get from CMP include protein levels, serum glucose levels, electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, calcium, bilirubin, sodium, chloride, and potassium.
These substances should have levels that fall under the normal reference range. Otherwise, it may suggest red flags on your health.
CMP is even more necessary when you’re taking medications and supplements like anabolic steroids as it determines if these substances are damaging your liver and kidneys.
Hormones play a significant part in bodybuilding. For example, anabolic hormones are known to promote muscle growth. On the other hand, catabolic hormones are most likely to inhibit the process.
Hence, it only makes sense to have higher anabolic hormones in your blood than catabolic hormones. So, here’s the list of hormones that promote either anabolism or catabolism.
· Growth hormone
· Insulin-like growth factors
For Male bodybuilders
The level of testosterone among male bodybuilders is always a concern.
Male bodybuilders would opt for elevated testosterone; therefore, it has been common to take steroids in the process.
Steroids are a synthetic form of testosterone. This hormone is primarily produced by the testes and promotes masculine features such as muscle growth.
Those who are supplementing their resistance and strength training with steroids or TRT should observe obvious bulking.
However, if that is not the case, your testosterone levels should be checked via blood test to analyze potential issues such as liver or thyroid disorders.
For Female Bodybuilders
Sex steroids among women like estrogen and progesterone may not have the same effect as that of testosterone. But a good balance is still needed for female bodybuilders to achieve their desired physique.
Estrogen, for example, can promote muscle mass and increase collagen in connective tissues.
However, according to a study by the University of California, Davis, an elevated estrogen level can lower strength and performance among women and increase the risk of injuries.
Progesterone, on the other hand, can stimulate the production of muscle proteins compared to estrogen. Thus, the process is almost the same way as testosterone.
If there is a critical imbalance in estrogen and progesterone, chemicals like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are also assessed.
These two hormones are produced by the brain. FSH stimulates the release of estrogen, and LH is responsible for progesterone.
General Hormone Testing
Aside from sex steroids, other chemicals in the body are also evaluated through blood tests.
Insulin, for example, is regularly checked as some bodybuilders use this hormone to enhance their performance and prevent breakdown while growing the muscle fibers.
The opposite effects take place with glucagon.
Unregulated insulin use can cause serious problems.
Another set of hormones tested for bodybuilders are those produced by the thyroid glands like triiodothyronine (T3). It also encompasses substances that stimulate these hormones, such as the thyroid-stimulating hormone.
In bodybuilding, your thyroid gland should have optimum health since it plays a critical role in metabolism and muscle growth.
Assessing hormones related to their functions can provide relevant information about their condition.
In a Nutshell
Bodybuilders should not ignore the need for blood testing at least once a year.
The bodybuilding process has several health benefits, and they can only amplify these advantages with proper monitoring.
Before you begin your intensive training, make sure to secure a Bodybuilder Profile Blood Test. This group of tests already contains the necessary lab works designed for bodybuilders.
You can expect CBC, CMP 14, and tests for hormones like cortisol, insulin, T3, TPO antibodies, TSH, LH, FSH, and sex steroids testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol.All the needed tests from bodybuilders are rolled into one. All you have to do is order the blood test without the hassle.