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How to incorporate biomarkers into your training routine

Follow our handy guide to incorporate biomarker testing into your regular training.

Biomarkers are biological indicators that can reveal valuable information about your health and fitness.

Measuring your biomarkers can help you establish your baseline, monitor your performance, and track your recovery.

To get the most out of biomarker testing, there’s a few things to think about. Follow our handy guide:

1.    Set your personal baseline.

Our biology and metabolism are unique. We vary in our healthy levels of essential biomarkers and how our bodies adapt to training and exercise. 

To start your biomarker testing journey, it is crucial to set your baseline. This will help you uncover your unique requirements and responses to training. 

From here, you can then confidently track your progress. 

Whether it is simply identifying if you are doing too much, doing too little, or uncovering how your new training regime affects your body. Any progress is personal to you. 

2.    Give context.

Context refers to all your behavior, health and lifestyle choices that come into play in your training and performance.

Context could involve whether you have competed at a big event recently or how you are performing. Context could involve your current level and intensity of training, your dietary choices, along with any injuries you have. 

The factor most important to context is: Why are you testing? Is it that you want to monitor recovery? Be confident you are ready for the big game? Or evaluate the impact of your new diet plan on your nutritional markers? 

On your own personal online results portal (found in myMedichecks.com), you will have the opportunity to tell us about your current diet and training levels, along with your health and medical history. You will be able to tell us your reasons for measuring your biomarkers along with your vital stats, such as your body fat and blood pressure. 

All this information will add context to your biomarker levels and our supporting doctors can give the best possible advice to inform your training. 

3.    Combine biomarkers.

Experts agree that relying on a single biomarker is simplistic and is not always a reliable way to inform your training.

For example, perhaps you have discovered that your level of the biomarker testosterone is low. Testosterone could be low for many reasons, including poor sleep quality or poor diet. Low testosterone can be caused by high mental stress levels, such as the pressure you feel in the build-up to a big event. 

Overtraining syndrome can also cause low testosterone. If we only rely on testosterone levels, it could be challenging to know what is going on. 

But other biomarkers affected in overtraining syndrome include high sensitivity C reactive protein (CRP-HS) (a biomarker of muscle inflammation) and creatine kinase (a biomarker for muscle breakdown). 

Suppose you have been training more intensely than usual. And you have also found your testosterone levels are low, and your CRP-HS and creatine kinase levels are remaining high over the long term. Now, the finger points towards overtraining syndrome. So, to avoid illness and injury, you may need to bring your training down a notch. 

Combining your biomarkers through a comprehensive test is the most valuable way to uncover the full picture of what is going on inside your body.

Take advantage of Medichecks' specially created and comprehensive sports tests. These tests combine many important biomarkers which are crucial to your training and performance. For the endurance athlete, you could try Medichecks' Endurance Fitness Blood Test. This test includes multiple biomarkers involved in overtraining and nutritional biomarkers to give you your full complex picture of your body's health. Or, for those who are just starting out, try our Fitness Blood Test to set your baseline for many important biomarkers for sports performance.

4.    Test at multiple time points.

Your body is as dynamic as your training regime. Changes to your body over time depend on the exercise demands you place on it. 

Your exercise and training can have many different phases - perhaps you are training lighter, harder, or competing more than usual. Using biomarker testing at multiple points can track and guide your training and competition. In general, the more you test, the better. This will increase the accuracy and precision of your results.

Seeing improvements in your biomarkers over time can even boost your motivation.

Using the latest scientific evidence provided by experts in the field [1], we have put together a biomarker testing plan to help guide you as to when and how you should be testing your biomarkers.

A biomarker testing plan

•    Off-season: Testing during rested, healthy periods can provide your personal baseline. This can help you to establish your average, which is more representative than a single test. 

•    Pre-season training: Testing at the beginning and end of your training season can tell you how well prepared you are for the competitive season. It can also provide you with confidence that you are not overtraining.

•    Competitive season: Testing should be completed around a bout of intense exercises such as a training test, a challenging week, or a shift in training. This can uncover any defects in your body's ability to respond optimally, such as a nutritional deficiency.

•    Peak competitive season: It is recommended to test before and multiple times after a major competition event or injury. This can allow you to determine whether recovery has occurred on a biochemical level before you can restart [1].

Summary

Are you looking to start testing your biomarkers to enhance your performance? Start by setting your baseline. Combine biomarkers to get a detailed picture of your body’s health and response to training, and always remember to give your results some context. 

Medichecks make this easy with many specially created sports performance tests that combine many important biomarkers for sports performance and fitness. You can also input details on your health, diet, and training in your personal dashboard for the doctors to interpret.

Finally, repeat your testing at multiple time points to monitor changes and uncover how your body responds and adapts to your training.

Get ahead of your game with biomarker testing from Medichecks.


References

Lee, E.C., Fragala, M.S., Kavouras, S.A., Queen, R.M., Pryor, J.L. and Casa, D.J., 2017. Biomarkers in sports and exercise: tracking health, performance, and recovery in athletes. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 31(10), p.2920.