When you hear about someone going to get a blood test one of the first things we might assume is “Is this person sick?” or “What’s wrong with this person?”.
It’s never “Look, this person getting a blood test to get on top of their health”.
Personally I think it’s sad that we don’t do the latter more often, most people wait until they get sick before they start eating better or wait until they’re uncomfortably overweight before they start exercising more. We know how much harder it is to get on top of your health when you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you end up having to sacrifice more of your current lifestyle to get back into shape.
What if it was the other way around? You were on top of your health, knew how to look after your body, nutrition and training and instead of having to sacrifice later on you could focus on doing more?
The tide is changing..
What’s becoming more common is people becoming more proactive about their health, nutrition and training. You can see this in new health services popping up, cryotherapy chambers, float tanks, IV drips, T.M / Vedic meditation courses, performance coaches, food intolerance/sensitivity tests and even DNA ancestry testing.
Optimal performance is no longer only accessible to professional athletes and Lamborghini-copter riding bajillionaires; it’s readily available to anyone who wants it. In our own training service reasons outside of getting shredded and beast mode now range from getting into awesome shape ready for pregnancy, strengthening their body and reducing injuries for later life, improving metabolic rate to get the best of both worlds and mentally and physically performing at their best.
One of the best ways to hack your health and performance is a blood chemistry analysis.
We don’t just say this because we’re learning it and going to be implementing it. As best selling Dr and author James Lavelle says, “Your Blood Never Lies”. It’s pretty hard to say you’re all good when your blood work tells you otherwise.
Here are 5 things we learned at Day 1:
1. Medical Ranges Will Differ from Optimal Ranges.
Normal medical ranges are designed to identify and diagnose disease states only which is normal because when you go to a Dr you want them to identify trends in possible diseases which can be looked into for further investigation if you’re sick.
The flip side of this coin is that they’re not looking to increase your productivity if you’re already healthy (it’s not really their job). Medical ranges are the norms of the testing pool; general population, sick and elderly while optimal ranges are athletic performance ranges designed for productivity.
Which standard do you want?
2. Parasympathetic (PNS) and Sympathetic (SNS) Nervous System.
I loved listening to this because we see it all the time when people complain about not being able to lose weight or change their body composition when all they do is either Yoga/Pilates with no resistance training (PNS) or train hard 6-7 days/week with weights and HIIT with no rest (SNS).
Operating too much in either your PNS (rest and digest) or SNS (fight or flight) system is bad for you. You’re designed to use both and if you don’t condition both ends of your nervous system you’re going to be either slow and low stress tolerance or highly wired, tired and at some point will crash.
Train hard, go outside your comfort zone and rest so you can rinse and repeat.
This is why you also don’t see our trainers working weekends or ripping out 40 to 50 PT sessions/week; we know exactly what those sessions are like and they’re more about quantity than quality.
Schedule periods of work and rest and you’ll have the energy to force yourself to be more productive during those periods of work.
Plus your rest will be well deserved.
3. Optimising Your Bloods Will Come from Nutrients and Lifestyle.
One of the first things to go from someone who doesn’t eat meat is not their energy levels but their brain. Our main neurotransmitters are biogenic meaning they’re made from living organisms plants and animals. If you don’t eat adequate amounts of animal protein you’re missing out on the building blocks of your most important neurotransmitters.
Say you’re having problems with sleep one of the hormones you want to make sure you’re producing is melatonin. It helps promote sleep, regulates circadian rhythms and is even a powerful antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells during sleep.
During the day and in sunlight your pineal gland is working to produce melatonin; during darkness and sleep your pineal gland then releases melatonin to help you sleep and you get the benefits of sleep. Today hardly anyone gets direct sunlight and at night they’re on their iPhone screens which messes up the natural production of melatonin.
Some will say you can take a melatonin supplement which will help you get to sleep but over time your pineal gland (which is where melatonin is produced) will simply become less effective at naturally producing it on it’s own and your body will be less sensitive to the supplement.
You want to become effective at producing these neurotransmitters on their own.
E.g. Turkey > L Tryptophan > 5 HTP > Serotonin > Melatonin.
Neurotransmitters that require amino acids from animal proteins include histamine which help your immune system fight allergies, the three catecholamines (dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline) which help with performance and of course serotonin which helps sleep and recovery.
4. The Magnesium Miracle
Magnesium is involved in 700-800 enzymatic processes; the most out of all vitamins and minerals and next being Zinc which is in less 200 enzymatic processes. So you can see how much bang for your buck you can get when you’re on top of your magnesium levels.
A few of the 700-800 processes magnesium is involved in:
- Activates enzymes that assist the body in breaking down protein, fats and carbs into smaller particles making them ready to be utilised for energy
- Magnesium activates ATP which produces and stores energy; without magnesium there is no energy and movement
- Combats stress by promoting GABA production by binding to and stimulating GABA receptors in the brain (GABA is the inhibitory neurotransmitter, “off switch” in the brain); if you’re always “on” you’re going to find it hard to relax
- Magnesium also supports our adrenals so if you’re always stressed you’re also depleting magnesium; it’s a vicious cycle of depleting magnesium reserves through stress, not getting enough of it in through nutrition and supplementation and then depleting magnesium even more because you’re not getting enough in to combat the stress
Our main takeaway here is that optimal levels of magnesium is important and dosage will vary depending on periods of stress; more stress equals more magnesium.
Note: Don’t take Magnesium Oxide; you want a Magnesium that is bound to an amino acid as it’s better absorbed by your body, one that will also help repair your gut is Magnesium Glycinate.
5. Vitamin D, Omega 3’s & T3 for Health & Better Results
For optimal performance go specific according to your situation, general health advice from media sources is not always the best. Take into consideration Vitamin D, Omega 3’s and T3. All three are important to our health, longevity and even transformation results. All three our body can’t naturally produce, we have to physically take them in and produce them.
Optimal levels of Vitamin D we absorb through the sun yet the government and media will tell you to slip, slop, slap and stay away from the sun; a better way would be to get tested first.
Healthy fats and omega 3’s which are anti-inflammatory and the building blocks of our steroidal hormones we get from eating healthy fats yet there was this whole period where fat and cholesterol was demonized. From the 1970’s an American Physiologist Ancel Keys conducted a cherry picked “7 Countries Study” where he picked out the countries that would support his ideal that eating high fats correlated to developing heart disease. Today we know that this isn’t the case and that there are many factors that can contribute to heart disease such as high sugar intake, trans fats and high stress.
T3 is the accelerator pedal for your metabolism; our thyroid gland produces T4 which then gets converted into T3 which utilises carbs and fats for energy. The thing is when calories are too low our body goes into stress mode and instead of turning T4 into T3, it turns T4 into reverse T3 (rT3) which stores body fat instead of burning it.
Our bodies are smart and it’s going to slow down metabolism when we we’re not getting enough calories in; it’s what our hunter gatherer friends did in times of famine.
Yet this is also what media will tell you to do or your regular bootcamp instructor “Eat less, exercise more”.
A better way is to calorie cycle or go through phases of what I call eating for performance (eating at maintenance or surplus and training hard) and then shredding when you need to because at least then you’re healthy and you know it’s going to work.
Ready to achieve your next training goal with personalised testing, performance tracking, nutrition, training? We’d love to hear more about your goals. Book in a training consultation today.