How often should an athlete have their blood tested?
Testing schedules vary by athlete, but typically an athlete begins testing in the off season to obtain baseline measurements. The Gold Panel is best used for this purpose, and the results are used as a comparison point for future measurements later in the year.
An athlete’s second test is typically done after her first training block. This is ideal timing so we can see how that training volume has influenced her physiology in comparison to base line panels set forth in the off season.
Testing is also recommended after subsequent big training block and before key races or competitions. Four to six weeks before peak competition can usually give an athlete enough time to take any action if needed or provide reassurance his body is handling the training load well.
Sample testing schedule:
- Gold Panel during off-season to obtain baseline measurements
- Bronze Panel after first big block of training
- Repeat Bronze Panel after each big block
- Gold Panel 4 to 6 weeks prior to peak competition