Blood Tests for Nutrition, Fitness and Performance in Athletes | Fitness: body fat (DEXA). Metabolism. VO2 max (2023)


A window to your body

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not rich ofSportperformance bloodBiomarker-Testit is a window into the athlete's body. It enables athletes to better understand their nutrition and performance by providing information on nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, injury risk, fluid status, muscle condition and much more.

Blood tests have been a common diagnostic tool for more than a century. However, these tests are becoming more accessible to consumers and a variety of biomarkers can now be tested and applied specifically to optimize human performance.

Athletes must present themselves in the best possible light. As technology advances, biomarkers are a great way to develop that edge.[UE]. Asimple blood testIt can provide very valuable data on the reactions taking place in the athlete's body. This type of detail can allow coaches to better manage training and nutrition, assess stress levels and muscle condition, identify deficiencies in the body and most importantly, optimize athlete performance and prevent injuries.[ii]. Also, every athlete is different.[iii]. Despite similar training plans and diets, results may vary because genetic and environmental factors can cause athletes' bodies to respond differently. These differences need to be measured and accounted for, especially when it comes to optimizing performance.

(Video) Testing Your Fitness, Cardiovascular Health w/ the VO2 Max Test

Biomarker test: A window into the athlete's body

A biomarker is a substance measured in a biological organism as an indicator of environmental exposure, effect, susceptibility, or clinical disease.[4]. To get a biomarker test, a blood test must be taken and then tested. According to the analysis, it is necessary to change the diet, training and lifestyle accordingly. Another test would be done three to five months later to see if these changes produce a chemical effect in the body. As such, this process must be constantly adjusted to ensure all layers are kept at peak performance.[v].

order oneBiomarker test for athletes

For example, biomarker analysis can be used to take direct measurements, enabling better injury prevention. Injury prediction is done by evaluating indicators of stress and risk of inflammation. Regarding stress indicators, creatine kinase (CK) can help athletes understand the potential risk of injury. When identifying inflammation risk, knowing the athlete's ferritin levels and white blood cell count can be invaluable. A full list of all biomarkers tested and their functions is included in the appendix.

The chart below shows the biological role of various biomarkers in helping coaches and athletes track their players' performance, recovery and overall health.[vi].

Biomarker testing is the way to give yourself an edge over other athletes competing in the same room. Understanding and adjusting what's going on in an athlete's body enables changes that directly address the athlete's needs. This personalized attention can help to identify weak points and thus improve them. Biomarkers can identify deficiencies in nutrition, hydration status, muscle fitness, cardiovascular endurance, risk of injury, and inflammation. All of these aspects are directly related to the athlete's performance, health and recovery, allowing for greater optimization.

Another benefit of biomarker testing is that it educates athletes about their own health. By conducting these tests, coaches can help athletes better understand their bodies and thereby improve their lifestyle habits. It also allows them to take more responsibility for their supplementation, knowing that deficiencies will arise if they don't take their supplements.[xviii].

Overall, the benefits are endless as they help both the average and professional athlete to significantly improve their level of performance and thus achieve better results when choosing their sport.

Benefits of biomarker testing for recreational athletes

Biomarker tests are not only for professional athletes, but can also provide useful information for amateur athletes. When entering a new sport, athletes invest a lot of time and money to improve their performance. The time, effort and money invested in training, nutrition, sports equipment and racing pays off in the long run. A test that costs a few hundred dollars allows people to train smarter.

Based on the results, the athlete can set benchmarks for categories such as cholesterol, white blood cells, vitamin D, cortisol, and other proteins. As a result, they can adjust their nutrition plan and train better.[xxiv].

Future of biomarker testing for athletes

Direct-to-consumer testing is a booming market. Athletes are among the first to benefit today as it creates a whole new level of personalized care and performance optimization. Athletes can tailor their training load, diet, and supplementation strategies specifically for their own bodies, rather than dealing with injury, overeating, or under-dosing of nutrients and vitamins. As biomarker testing becomes more accessible, particularly with the advent of direct-to-consumer test kits, athletes will drive this movement, making it popular with hobbyists and fitness enthusiasts alike.


[UE]Tirell, Meg. “This simple blood test promises to improve your athletic training. We put it to the test."CNBC, CNBC, 3. Februar 2017,

[ii]Kroll, Tawny. "What it is and my experience - Part I".BlueprintFit, 30. June 2018,

[iii]Project for Athletes By Quest Diagnostics, Director.New York Giants: Case Studies in the Application of Biomarker Data.Youtube, Quest Diagnostics Blueprint for Athletes, 23. Februar 2017,

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[4]Trojian, Thomas H. "To Screen or Not to Test: Comments and Reviews on Laboratory Screening Tests in Elite Athletes."Alunos tun Dartmouth Health Services, American College of Sports Medicine, 2014,

[v]Project for Athletes By Quest Diagnostics, Director.FC Dallas: Using Biomarker Data to Assess Injury Risk and Define Recovery Strategies in MLS Players.Youtube, Blueprint for Athletes von Quest Diagnostics, 2. April 2018,

[vi]Quest Diagnostics Athlete Blueprint. "Webinar: Optimizing for Best-in-Class Performance."Youtube, Blueprint for Athletes by Quest Diagnostics, December 13, 2018,

[vii][PubMed] Fragala MS, Goldman SM, Goldman MM, Bi C, Colletti JD, Arent SM, Walker AJ, Clarke NJ. Measurement of cortisol and testosterone in athletes:Precision of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry assays measuring cortisol and testosterone in whole blood microsamples. J Força Cond Res: 2425-2434, 2018.

[vii]Trojian, Thomas H. "To Screen or Not to Test: Comments and Reviews on Laboratory Screening Tests in Elite Athletes."Alunos tun Dartmouth Health Services, American College of Sports Medicine, 2014,

[ix]Tal, Carlos. "7 Reasons to Get Blood Tested on Athletes - SimpliFaster".Blog Simplifaster, Spikes Only, 11. April 2019,

[X]Volfinger L, Lassourd V, Michaux JM, Braun JP, Toutain PL. Kinetic assessment of muscle damage during exercise by calculating the amount of creatine kinase released. I am J Physiol266: R434-R441, 1994.

[XI]Sorichter S, Puschendorf B, Mair J. Skeletal muscle injury from eccentric muscle action: muscle proteins as markers of muscle fiber injury. Exerc Immunol Rev 5:5-21, 1999.

[xii]Shahim P, Tegner Y, Wilson DH, Randall J, Skillbäck T, Pazooki D, Kallberg B, Blennow K, Zetterberg H. Blood biomarkers for brain injury in professional ice hockey players with concussion. JAMA Neurol 71: 684-692, 2014.

[xiii]Beck TJ, Ruff CB, Shaffer RA, Betsinger K, Trone DW, Brodine SK. Stress fracture in military recruits: gender differences in muscle and bone susceptibility factors. Bone 27: 437-444, 2000.

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[xiv]Svoboda SJ, Harvey TM, Owens BD, Brechue WF, Tarwater PM, Cameron KL. Changes in serum biomarkers of cartilage turnover after anterior cruciate ligament injury. I am J Sports Med41: 2108-2116, 2013.

[xv] Hespanhol Jr., L.C., van Mechelen, W., Postuma, E., Verhagen, E. (2015) Health and economic burden of running-related injuries in runners training for an event: a prospective cohort study. Scandinavian Journal of Sports Medicine and Science, 26(9):1091-9.

[xxx]Haas JD, Brownlie T. Iron deficiency and reduced work capacity: a critical review of research to determine a causal relationship. J Nutr 131: 676S-688S, 2001; Discussion 688S-690S.

[xviii]Lee, Elaine C. et al. "Biomarkers in Sport and Exercise: Monitoring Health, Performance and Recovery in Athletes".Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchvol. 31,10 (2017): 2920-2937. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002122

[xviii]Sawka MN, Cheuvront SN, Kenefick RW. Hypohydration and human performance: influence of environmental and physiological mechanisms. Sports Med 45 (Supplement 1): S51-S60, 2015.

[xx]Dahlquist DT, Dieter BP, Koehle MS. Possible ergogenic effects of vitamin D on athletic performance and recovery. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12:33, 2015

[xx]Henry C. Lukaski. Vitamin and mineral status: effects on physical performance. Nourishment. 2004 July-August; 20:632-644. DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.001.

[xx]Lee, Elaine C. et al. "Biomarkers in Sport and Exercise: Monitoring Health, Performance and Recovery in Athletes".Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchvol. 31,10 (2017): 2920-2937. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002122

[xxx]Huss, Ralph. "Biomarkers".Biomarkers: An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, 2015,

[xiii]Tirell, Meg. “This simple blood test promises to improve your athletic training. We put it to the test."CNBC, CNBC, 3. Februar 2017,

(Video) What is a Good Body fat Percentage? | Average vs. Athletic Body Fat Percentage Values

[xiv]Hall, Brandon. "Bleeding for an Edge: Why More and More Professional Athletes Are Using Blood Tests to Maximize Their Performance".BATTERY, March 25, 2016,

[xxiv]Brown, Ashton. "Fact: Every body is different."BlueprintFit, July 16, 2018,

(Video) Body Comp., Metabolic Rate and CV Fitness with Dr. Dan Dodd - Dexafit (Bloominton IL)


What blood tests are done for sport performance? ›

In the realm of sports performance, blood biomarker testing is a window inside the athlete's body. It allows athletes to better understand their nutrition and performance by providing them with information on nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, injury risk, hydration status, muscle status and more.

What is blood test analysis for athletes? ›

Blood analysis provides a unique window into an athlete's health and performance. Certain biomarkers like vitamin D and ferritin can directly impact athletic performance, while others like cortisol and creatine kinase can provide insights into overtraining and injury prevention.

Is Inside Tracker worth it? ›

InsideTracker is an expensive but sound investment for serious athletes and deep-pocketed fitness enthusiasts striving for peak performance through optimized nutrition. Today, getting serious about your nutrition means more than tracking your macros, testing for sensitivities, and hiring a dietician.

What are the 5 blood biomarkers all athletes should know? ›

We determined that a comprehensive performance set of biomarkers should include key markers of (1) nutrition and metabolic health, (2) hydration status, (3) muscle status, (4) endurance performance, (5) injury status and risk, and (6) inflammation.

What is the best blood test for overall health? ›

Here are the 10 most important blood tests for determining your health status.
  1. Complete Metabolic and Lipid Panel. This is the test you might receive at an annual physical. ...
  2. Vitamin D-25 Hydroxy. ...
  3. Hemoglobin A1C. ...
  4. DHEA. ...
  5. Homocysteine. ...
  6. C-reactive protein. ...
  7. Thyroid-stimulating hormone. ...
  8. Testosterone (free testosterone)

What is a vo2max test? ›

Athletic Performance: How Fit Are You? A VO2 max test is a maximal exercise test performed on a treadmill or bike while connected to a machine capable of analyzing your expired air. Your test provides data on how much oxygen you use as you exercise and determines the maximal oxygen you can consume during exercise.

What are the fitness tests used by athletes? ›

muscular endurance – Sit-Up Bleep Test. power/explosive strength (anaerobic power) – Vertical Jump Test. reaction time – Ruler Drop Test. maximal strength – One Rep Max Test.

What is the test used to test the strength of an athlete? ›

Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull (IMTP)

The isometric mid-thigh pull test is an effective and reliable way to test maximal strength in youth and adult athletes.

Who is InsideTracker competitor? ›

InsideTracker's top competitors include Everly Health, Levels, and Lifeforce. Everly Health provides an e-commerce platform that enables customers to buy a variety of test kits online, collect their sample at home, and get informative results wit… Personalization.

What are the 43 biomarkers? ›

We offer a few different tests, but our most comprehensive test—the Ultimate—consists of 43 biomarkers, which can be broken into nine groups: energy and metabolism; strength and endurance; bone and muscle; brain and body; oxygen and performance; inflammation; minerals; liver; and complete blood count.

What does InsideTracker cost? ›

Overview. InsideTracker offers DNA and lab testing focused on health. Lab tests cost between $119 to $589, with the option to add DNA insights. A DNA kit costs $249.

What is a good red blood cell count for athletes? ›

Optimal Hemoglobin Levels for Athletes

The typical female athlete we tested in 2019 had a hemoglobin of 13.6, while the male athlete has an average hemoglobin level of 14.7. Both are well above the levels of anemia and fall into, what we term, the “optimal” athlete range.

What is the best blood test for runners? ›

Start with the basics: basic metabolic panel (BMP), complete blood count (CBC), serum iron, ferritin, folate, B12, magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.

How often do athletes have blood tests? ›

Blood testing is routinely used for diagnostics, screening and monitoring in athletes. 'Elite athletes would normally have blood tests two to four times per year,' says Dr John Rogers, endurance medical officer to British Athletics.

What blood test is for everything? ›

The complete blood count (CBC) is one of the most common blood tests. It is often done as part of a routine checkup. This test measures many different parts of your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Complete blood count (CBC)
Red blood cell
Normal Range Results*0 to 95 femtoliter†
10 more rows
Mar 24, 2022

What is the best blood test for longevity? ›

While FBS tests can still play an important role in your health, the hemoglobin A1C test provides a more comprehensive picture of what your blood sugar, health risks, and longevity look like. With this information, you can take better control of your well-being and live a healthier, happier, longer life.

Is there a blood test to check for vitamin deficiency? ›

There are vitamin blood tests to test for vitamin deficiency. You can either do a test yourself at home, or ask your doctor to perform a test at the clinic.

Is VO2 max testing worth it? ›

VO2 max is an important measure of aerobic fitness and general health. Whether you're seeking improved performance or better cardiovascular health, testing your VO2 max will give you a baseline to measure future fitness improvements and assess your current aerobic health.

Is VO2 max a good indicator of health? ›

Aerobic fitness, measured as maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), is a good indicator of cardiovascular health, and a strong predictor of cardiovascular mortality. Biomarkers associated with low VO2max may therefore represent potential early markers of future cardiovascular disease (CVD).

How do I increase my VO2 max? ›

You can increase your Vo2 max in two ways: by increasing the amount of blood your heart can pump and by increasing how much oxygen your muscles can take up.
Tips to improve
  1. Exercise at a high intensity. ...
  2. Train in intervals. ...
  3. Combine interval and continuous training. ...
  4. Keep challenging yourself. ...
  5. Find Your 5K and 10K times.
Jun 29, 2020

What are the 4 common fitness tests? ›

Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas: aerobic fitness; muscular strength and endurance; flexibility; and body composition. To do your assessment, you'll need: A stopwatch or a watch that can measure seconds.

What are 3 of the fitness tests? ›

Testing health-related components of fitness
  • Strength - Hand grip dynamometer.
  • Strength – One rep max test.
  • Cardiovascular endurance - Multi-stage fitness test.
  • Cardiovascular endurance – Twelve minute Cooper run or swim.
  • Flexibility - Sit and reach test.
  • Speed - 30 metre sprint test.

What are the 5 fitness tests? ›

Fitness assessments are a series of tests that measures and monitors students' physical fitness level. The series of tests assess the five components of physical fitness that make up total fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.

What tests determine muscular strength? ›

Assessing Muscular Strength

A common assessment of muscular strength is called the one-repetition maximum (1RM), in which the goal is to lift as much weight as possible on a strength exercise with proper technique for one repetition only.

What are the 6 fitness tests? ›

These six tests are often used to help determine fitness level.
  • A flexibility test, such as the sit and reach.
  • An endurance test, such as the Cooper test.
  • An upper body strength test, such as the push-up test.
  • A core strength test, such as the plank test.
  • A target heart rate test.
  • A body size calculation, such as weight.
Sep 30, 2022

What is the gold standard for measuring strength? ›

The one-repetition maximum (1RM) test is considered the gold standard for assessing muscle strength in non-laboratory situations.

Where is InsideTracker located? ›

About InsideTracker

It was founded in 2009 and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Does InsideTracker work with Fitbit? ›

InsideTracker is fully integrated with all Garmin (that use Garmin Connect) and Fitbit devices. For those with an iOS iPhone, InsideTracker is also integrated with Apple Watch.

Is InsideTracker available in the UK? ›

Is InsideTracker still available in the UK thru someone else? Hey there! Our best option for UK customers is the Blood Results Upload plan. If you can get blood tested locally through your physician, you could upload that data into our platform via the Blood Results Upload and get an analysis from there!

What are the 5 biomarkers for longevity? ›

These include IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), insulin, glucose, C-reactive protein (a measure of systemic inflammation), triglycerides, and blood pressure.

What are the best biomarkers for inflammation? ›

Besides C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and procalcitonin (PCT), some other markers of inflammation include serum amyloid A, cytokines, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, plasma viscosity, ceruloplasmin, hepcidin, and haptoglobin.

What is the most commonly used biomarker for inflammation? ›

A C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test

CRP a protein in the blood, is one of the best indicators of inflammation that we have. Levels of CRP rise as inflammation increases, so knowing your levels can tell you a lot about what's going on inside your body.

How long do InsideTracker results take? ›

Their DNA kit is really cool and can be added to your blood analysis. It that tests for 261 genetic markers related to 29 wellness traits (DNA results can take 4 to 6 weeks to be ready).

Is SelfDecode worth it? ›

Considering all the valuable information about genetics and lab tests, coupled with personalized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations designed to improve your health, SelfDecode is more than worth the cost of about $8/month.

What is InsideTracker mobile blood draw? ›

What is mobile blood draw? With mobile blood draw, we bring the lab to you! For an additional $99, a licensed mobile phlebotomist will arrive at your preferred time and location to draw your blood. They'll deliver your blood sample to the specified laboratory, so that we can process your results in a timely manner.

What are blood test required for bodybuilding? ›

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.

What blood tests should runners get? ›

Here's a quick run-down of a few running-influenced workups and what to watch out for:
  • Hemoglobin.
  • Ferritin. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in your cells. ...
  • Urinalysis.
  • Creatine Kinase (CK)
  • Creatinine with EGFR. ...
  • Electrolyte panel. ...
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Vitamin B12.

What blood tests do bodybuilders get? ›

The most important blood tests for bodybuilders are:
  • Testosterone free and total.
  • Estradiol.
  • IGF-1.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen.
  • Thyroid profile.
  • Lipid profile.

What does a metabolic blood test include? ›

The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a blood test that gives doctors information about the body's fluid balance, levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and how well the kidneys and liver are working.

What type of blood tests indicate muscle problems? ›

Doctors use a blood test to look for elevated levels of a substance called creatine kinase, which is released into the bloodstream when muscle fibers deteriorate. Elevated levels may mean you have an inflammatory myopathy.

What blood test determines muscle damage? ›

A creatine kinase (CK) test measures the amount of creatine kinase in your blood. Elevated CK levels may indicate skeletal muscle, heart or brain damage or degeneration — either chronic (long-term) or acute (short-term). Other names for a creatine kinase test include: CK total.

What blood tests should I get for fatigue? ›

Fourteen panels and tests that help manage chronic fatigue
  • Chemistry profile (complete metabolic panel with lipids)
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies (IgG and IgM)
  • Cytomegalovirus Antibodies (IgG and IgM)
  • Ferritin.
  • Total and Free Testosterone.
  • DHEA-S.
  • Free T3.

What is the name of the fitness test for stamina? ›

Metabolic equivalents (METs) are used to measure your intensity of exercise and uptake of oxygen. They measure energy expenditure at rest. Cardiorespiratory endurance is measured by maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and how it's used during intense exercise.

What are the three tests for muscular strength? ›

' The most widely used exercises for upper and lower body muscular strength testing are the bench press and leg press, respectively. Other dynamic strength tests include the arm curl, latissimus dorsi pull down, knee extension and knee curl.

Is there a blood test for muscle weakness? ›

A blood test will let your doctor know if you have elevated levels of muscle enzymes, which can indicate muscle damage. A blood test can also detect specific autoantibodies associated with different symptoms of polymyositis, which can help in determining the best medication and treatment.

What blood tests do steroid users have? ›

The tests offered are to check hormone levels which can be negatively affected by steroid use such as testosterone, luteinising hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and oestrogen, as well as blood tests for cholesterol levels, kidney, liver and prostate functions, and full blood counts.

What kind of blood test should I get for steroids? ›

An Anabolic Steroid Panel is an important pre-screening test to evaluate possible imbalances in testosterone and other sex hormones.


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