Blood Screening Test Applications




It is important to remember that hard training athletes, especially high intensity bodybuilders, will have differences in their blood tests when compared to a couch potato. Changes in SGPT and SGOT would normally suggest liver stress in a couch potato. However, transient changes of this type in a bodybuilder usually mean there are metabolic events taking place such as muscle tissue being broken down from intense work-outs. If the SGOT was high accompanied by a high alkaline phosphatase and/or a high LDH reading during a AAS cycle it meant the steroid was negatively affecting the liver. I felt that a complete blood count (CBC) was also important to request as well as tests for T-3 and T-4 thyroid hormone uptake. Part of the CBC is white blood cell count. This is important to athletes due to indications of infections. An elevated red blood cell count beyond the normal range was noted as common for athletes, which was cool since it increases oxygen transport capabilities. Anadrol-50 usually elevated red blood cell counts significantly. This added to vascularity, but if it was allowed to elevate too much, circulatory problems resulted. Since T-3 and T-4 are indicators of metabolism and anabolism, a high T-3 reading (30-35) was preferred for athletes.

It was not uncommon for liver enzyme readings (SGPT, SGOT) to be elevated significantly during the first weeks of an AAS cycle. Often blood screens taken a few weeks later showed normal ranges. This change in values was usually considered merely an adaptive process. If these values remained high for prolonged periods, was taken seriously since this indicates excessive liver stress. For the most part, avoiding oral c17-alfa-alkylated AAS prevented this, or at least improved when most reduced their use to no more than 4-6 weeks with reasonable dosages.

When reviewing blood screens, the athlete will note a column of test values placed somewhere to the right of the tests requested/performed. This is the athletes results. There will also be a normal reference range for comparison in this area, and the measurement used such as units, NG/DL (nanograms per decaliter) and so on. An athlete can use this information to evaluate improvements and declines in over all health by maintaining a log containing each blood screen, training, and diet information, and AAS schedules utilized. If an athlete's HDL and triglyceride values failed to drop back to pre-steroid values within a 3-4 month off period, AAS schedules were commonly reported to be halted until they did, and measures to correct the problem were taken. I have found some AAS users thought they were super heroes during cycles. They over extended and over dosed oral c17-alfa alkylated steroids drank too much alcohol, ate too many high saturated fat meals as a base diet, slept too little, did not drink at least a gallon of water daily, and smoked. When reviewing blood screens, I have noted dramatic changes due to this abuse. I have even had clients lie about cycles and the previously mentioned bad practices.

Another test athletes benefited from was a serum testosterone / estrogen panel. Obviously, this was useful only after AAS had been discontinued for at least 2 months. The panel shows total and free testosterone/estrogen levels as well as a normal reference range. The use of HCG/Clomid, and Proviron usually corrected low testosterone levels and Proviron or Teslac usually normalized estrogen levels. These use of these measures have been known to throw test results off as well, if they were not discontinued for about a months before re-testing. By the way, Nolvadex did show up as estrogen if taken during testing periods. Like I had to explain that?

When a new client comes to me, I ask them to create a log containing work-outs, weights, reps, sets, exercises, cycles of supplements and anything else they have or are putting into their body's (including any prescription medications especially birth control and antibiotics), and dietary intake in a nutrition/training journal. Of course, past and present medical history with any blood tests are included. I then explain nutrition is more important for health and athletic progress than any of the prior information. Many of you will say "DUH!!" at this point, but I am willing to bet you did not always know that. Read on, though simple, you may learn a thing or two to help dial it all in.

The human body is this amazing pharmacology lab that manifests itself in an ever changing living work of art. What else can stir primal instincts the way an attractive athletic body can? Strength, power, muscle mass, symmetry, and a hard physique simply are incredibly sexy. Okay, any of you day-time whine talk show types, (fat is not normally attractive to most healthy people) when was the last time you thought. "look at the rolls of fat on that sex god or goddess"(?) or "Gee I wonder if I could get Rosie and Roseanne to pose nude?" The truth is sexuality is based first on looks and second on personality traits. What does this have to do with nutrition? Everything! Eat Big Macs and super-size those fries too often and your body will revolt by becoming anything but what you train for. The body fat percentages reported by some so-called hard-core athletes simply dumbfounded me!

The body needs protein (complete) carbohydrates, and fats (yes fats) to repair, supply energy, and maintain good health. As a bodybuilder these basic macro-nutrients and micro-nutrient containing foods are the raw materials utilized to build and shape your living work of art. Buy and learn to use a nutritional almanac.

In order for any training or supplemental protocol to reap the greatest results, an adequate supply of calories are necessary. and in the right ratios. Not everybody is the same, but some basic guide-lines can be utilized concerning nutrition. Please read on as there is applicable information that follows useful to natural athletes as well.

First let's discuss calories. Both protein and carbohydrates supply 4 calories per gram while fats provide 9 calories per gram. The body has a basic metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories necessary to maintain homeostasis (neither gaining or losing weight) at rest. Though some may not agree, most hard-core bodybuilder's BMR is 15-17 calories per pound of bodyweight daily. So for a 200 LB bodybuilder, 3000-3400 calories must be ingested daily to maintain homeostasis. Normally, to gain weight, a calorie count of 16-21 calories per pound of bodyweight must be ingested daily. To lose weight, a calorie count of 10-14 calories per pound of bodyweight must be ingested daily.

Ratios of Macro-nutrients are also paramount to create an environment for the best athletic and /or aesthetic results. For most non-obese clients I advise a general Macro-nutrient calorie distribution/ratio of 30-40% protein, 40-50% carbohydrates, and 20% fats. Those who tend to more readily store fat are advised to utilize higher protein protocols. Using our 200 LB bodybuilder as an example (while in a mass weight gain phase) utilizing 20 calories per pound of bodyweight daily: 20 x 200 =4000 calories. 40% protein = 400 G, 40% carbohydrates =400 G, 20% fat= 88.8 G. So 1600 calories from protein (400G x 4C=1600 C), 1600 calories from carbohydrates (400 G x 4C =1600 C), and 800 calories from fats (88.8 G x 9C =799C). Another way to look at this example would be 2G of protein, 2G of carbohydrates, 0.45 of fats per pound of bodyweight daily. It is interesting to watch physical transitions for those who have not utilized higher protein intakes before. If they consume the same total calories per day as they had prior to switching to high protein intake, they will lose fat while increasing lean muscle mass. This is simple to explain. For every 100 calories of protein consumed, up to 25 calories will be burned through digestion and an increase in metabolism. But for every 100 calories of carbohydrates or fats consumed, only about 5 calories will be burned through digestion. This is also why most experience an increase in body temperature after eating a predominantly high protein meal, but get lazy after a mostly fat and/or complex carbohydrate meal. Protein not only increases metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are utilized for heat, building, and repair) it is also anabolic. And the body has more difficulty converting it to fat stores than it does carbohydrates and fats. Protein can also be quickly utilized as an energy source. Pretty cool, huh? However, carbohydrates and fats play very important roles in health and athletic success.

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