Why should we get bloods done?
When we first onboard clients, we advise on getting a full comprehensive set of bloodwork done. (kidney + liver function, blood panel, lipid panel, hormones and fasting glucose)
First and foremost, as a duty of care to our clients and to ensure we’re identifying any potential abnormalities, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances or risks of developing certain conditions or diseases in the future.
By having an overview of current health markers, we can apply appropriate nutrition and lifestyle interventions to improve overall health metrics and optimise the individual’s health overall.
Blood-work doesn’t lie. Though we may feel fine and look physically healthy on the outside, our insides can often tell a different story. There's no point putting all of your efforts into getting big and strong if your insides are on the verge of combusting.
What do we look for when getting bloods? https://www.nexusperformance.com.au/products/nexus-education-hub/categories/4255600/posts/2149433811
What is the recommended frequency of getting these done?
We recommend blood tests are undertaken periodically to assess overall health status in the long-term. I get it - it can be a pain in the ass fasting and scheduling this in, but you’ve probably heard the popular analogy “you get your car serviced, the least you can do is check up on your own health.”
For some, this can be nerve racking and cause some feelings of anxiety, but it’s worth checking in on our health and as our parents used to say: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Obviously the frequency of getting bloodwork done is going to vary from person to person. This will depend on:
- Their current health status / health history
- Their competition calendar / potential use of PEDs
For those in good health and who aren’t using PEDs, we recommend bloodwork be undertaken every 6-12 months.
If you are getting follow-up bloodwork done, keep in mind that it may take a few months for a nutrition/lifestyle intervention to come into effect. Eg - if you are low in Iron and are told to consume more animal meats / take iron supps, it may take a few months of supplementation and dietary alterations before the changes will show up on a follow-up set of bloods.
When should I consider getting bloodwork?
Generally speaking, here are some times where blood work is required:
- Pre dietary intervention / post dietary intervention
- Prior to commencing a supp cycle + post competition
- If irregularities in menstrual cycles present (missed, delayed cycles or debilitating PMS symptoms)
- If you are experiencing any irregular changes eg: chronic low mood / energy levels
Pre/post dietary intervention:
To establish baselines and follow up on interventions taken.
Pre competition (if introducing supps)
Prior to introducing any new compounds, it’s advised to get an assessment of current markers to assess and identify changes and/or any potential side effects at the introduction of supplementation
The stress of a comp prep takes a big physical toll on the body. If you track your BP and RHR, you’re probably familiar with seeing this slowly rise over the course of prep.
Post competition is a favourable time to correct some health markers, contributing to significant longevity (in general health and in the sport). For example: the following tells a picture about overall functioning of the body and allows us to proactively manage our health and wellbeing moving forward into the off-season:
- Cholesterol: Cardiovascular health (RHR + blood pressure gives as real-time indicators)
- C-reactive protein: indicate inflammatory processes and stress response.
- Liver function: Ability to metabolise and filter medications and toxic chemicals.
- EgFR & creatinine: The rate at which the kidneys can filter waste products from the body (including supps, muscle breakdown and waste products)
- Full blood count: Red blood cell level, haemoglobin, haematocrit – important for determining risk of heart disease or stroke
- Hormone profile: androgens & free testosterone, FSH, LH and estrogen.
Cycle related irregularities:
For females, a regular and consistent cycle is an indicator of overall health status.
There could be a few reasons why irregularities are present, however, checking in on hormone levels and metabolic health in general can provide an insight to the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes required.
If you are experiencing any irregular changes eg: chronic low mood / energy levels:
Chronic stress or nutrient deficiencies can present itself in many ways, with an array of symptoms. If you’re at a loss as to why you may be feeling a certain way, despite your best efforts at ticking the nutrition and lifestyle boxes, there could be more at play.
Where and how?
Though most GPs are happy to facilitate requests for comprehensive blood tests, unfortunately some may be hesitant to request certain markers if symptoms are not present at the time (typically for hormones).
If you are experiencing a little resistance, or prefer to go through a private provider and build out your own requests, this is one we recommend: https://imedical.com.au/order/blood-tests/sports-bodybuilding-test