The Benefits of Blood Testing for Performance

Many believe blood testing is something reserved for when you have a medial problem. The reality is that this is simply not the case and new services and technological advances have made blood testing easily accessible to practical anyone.  Now, athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts can use blood testing to ensure they have what they need for optimal performance. Blood testing can even be used to address small imbalances or even predict potentially larger problems before it's too late. Among the benefits, the information from a blood test can help to make changes that will improve metabolism and cognition, optimize mood, build muscle, and reduce inflammation. Blood tests are practically non-invasive and very easy. They require just a small amount of blood but can provide a significant amount of detailed information including what lifestyle changes you need to make with sleep, training and nutrition to optimize your performance. Everyone's blood is different. And within your unique blood are what is known as biomarkers. Biomarkers are indications of your body's status and provide insight on functions and biological changes. Examining biomarkers through blood analysis gives you a 'look under the hood' at your health and fitness and can be an important advantage for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Blood samples in test-tubes A good test will provide you with not just numbers on the biomarkers but meaningful insight in to where you stand against normative population data. This should be based on things like age, gender, activity level. The biomarkers or blood panel you choose to examine should also be selected carefully. The most useful blood tests for healthy individuals involve looking at biomarkers for nutrition status hormones and inflammation. Nutritional tests typically look at vitamin and mineral levels and [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:30:21-04:00August 26th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|1 Comment

Barbells and Booze: A Cocktail of Impossibility? by Beau Hains

[This is a guest blog from Beau Hains. Beau is pursuing his Masters of Science in Sports Performance at Louisiana Tech University.  He recently completed his time as a Sport Performance Coach Intern at Athletic Lab with CSCS, USAW-L1, and ACSM CPT certifications] As a personal trainer, I have often experienced individuals who want to reach a certain goal, whether it be performance or physique oriented.  When assessing their basic nutritional habits, I always include asking about their drinking habits.  I do this not for moral purposes, but because excessive consumption can be a hindrance to their training and goals.  Besides the obvious increase in calories, I intend to shed light on how the consumption of alcohol can effect physical activity. Physical Activity and Alcohol Use: Is there a relationship? First, let’s look at the relationship between physical activity (PA) and alcohol use.  After looking at the research, there does seems to be a relationship between how physically active an individual is and how much alcohol they consume, the results may surprise you.  Young adults who participate in moderate-vigorous PA were positively associated with alcohol use (Lisha, Martens, & Leventhal, 2011).  The relationship between PA and alcohol use were the strongest in in adults age 20-25 (college aged), but there was still a moderate relationship in adults from the ages of 26-50.  These results are likely due to social-environmental context which can vary by age.  For example, participating in a recreational sports league may encourage increases in alcohol consumption while exercising. Another factor, that may influence the relationship between PA and alcohol use, is impulsivity.  Impulsivity can be defined as “multifactorial construct that involves a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:30:42-04:00August 15th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|0 Comments

A Practical Look at HMB Supplementation Research and Application by Earl Wilcox

[This is a guest blog by Earl Wilcox. Earl is a graduate from the Kinesiology program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Earl currently possesses his CSCS from the NSCA and is an Applied Sports Science Intern at Athletic Lab.] Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a supplement that is a byproduct of the breakdown of the amino acid Leucine, which plays a vital role in the regulation of protein synthesis. It is because of this relationship that HMB could help improve performance. There is no magic bullet when it comes to supplements and HMB is no different. However, there are a few circumstances in which it could assist athletes in performing better. Why would you need a supplement like HMB if Leucine is readily available in foods rich in protein, specifically animal proteins? The reason is that during the breakdown of Leucine, only 5% is converted into HMB (Wilson et al., 2013). To reach the recommended daily dosage of 3 grams of HMB, one would have to consume 600 grams of protein to reach this dosage, which would be the equivalent of 5.5 pounds (88 ounces) of steak throughout the day. There is a restaurant in Texas that will let you eat for free if you can eat their entire 72 oz. steak dinner in one hour. Pictured below is the size of their steak; now imagine having to add an additional pound to that steak. (Picture of steak) While this certainly might be a delicious option for some, it would not be sustainable from a caloric intake standpoint because that amount of steak would have a caloric price tag just shy of 6,800 calories! This would not align with our goal of increasing athletic [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:30:49-04:00August 12th, 2016|Nutrition Info|0 Comments

Avoid Fad Diets and Build Habits by Zach Rosstich

[This is a guest blog by Zach Rossitch. Zach is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National Personal Training Institute. He is also a part of the Coaching Mentorship Program at Athletic Lab.] Fad diets are very popular throughout the United States. There is constantly new  “research” that comes out claiming that eating this is better than eating that, or eliminating this from your diet will make you lose weight fast. The more commonly heard of diets are macronutrient-focused diets such as low-carb or low-fat, food elimination-focused diets such as the Paleo diet, time-focused diets such as intermittent fasting, and food group-focused diets such as the Mediterranean diet (1). Even with just this short list of examples, it can be overwhelming for people when trying to decide which one to choose. So, which diet is the best for weight loss? The short answer is: there is no universally optimal diet to follow (1). The human body is so complex, and everyone is made differently and leads different lifestyles. Due to this, each individual is going to have slightly different needs when it comes to their diet. As humans, we naturally desire immediate results. Therefore, these diet gurus take advantage of this characteristic and invent a unique dietary plan that supposedly helps you lose a lot weight in a short period of time. It sounds great and a lot of times people do see significant weight loss within the first couple of weeks, but unfortunately, the majority of these fad diets are not sustainable. They are usually nutritionally unbalanced and work quickly by significantly cutting back on one of the three macronutrients in attempt to create a caloric deficit [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:31:13-04:00August 1st, 2016|Nutrition Info|0 Comments

The Skinny on Fat by Laurel Zimmermann

[This is a guest blog by Laurel Zimmermann. Laurel is an Exercise Science major with minors in both Business and Biology at The College at Brockport. She is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab. ] Have you ever met someone who can eat anything they want and never gain any weight? Growing up, I was one of those people. I didn’t eat McDonald’s for every meal, but I definitely wasn’t very health conscious. In college, I was required to take different nutrition classes in which I learned that I need to be much more careful about what I eat, not only to look good, but also to feel good. People often assume they are healthy as long as they weigh a certain number or look a certain way. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In the past, we have measured health based on a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI). If you have a high BMI, you are likely overweight and at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease than someone who has a lower BMI. According to the CDC, “More than two-thirds (68.8%) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese” (Ogden, Cynthia L., et al. 2014). Some common health risks of being overweight or obese include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. What about the people who are normal weight? Are they safe from these risk factors? Unfortunately, research is beginning to show that they are actually in more danger than someone who has a high BMI. A recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine has shown that “Normal weight central obesity defined by Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) is associated with higher mortality than BMI-defined obesity” (Sahakyan, Karine R., et al. 2015).  BMI [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:31:35-04:00July 27th, 2016|Nutrition Info|0 Comments

Guidelines for Post Workout Nutrition & Supplementation by Richard Bowie

[This is a guest blog by Richard (Lee) Bowie. Lee is an coach participating in our Coaches Mentorship program at Athletic Lab.] We’ve all had a day on which it takes every ounce of effort we can muster to stop the whirlwind of life going on around us and get to the gym. Even if it is just for a short period of time, it is one of those days where something is better than nothing. When we have a day like this, that chaos going on around us usually doesn’t stop until we walk into the gym and it picks back up as soon as we take our first step out the door. This usually means that we fail to properly fuel our body for the workout or fail to properly fuel our body for recovery. Nutrition and supplementation are integral to fueling your body for each and every workout and allowing your body to recover each and every day. With this comes many different questions. Should I eat a real meal or have a protein shake? When should I have it? How much should I have? How soon before or after my workout should I eat? The questions can go on and on, but what is the right answer? The right answer is not as straightforward as one might think. The research in this area is not definitive one way or another. So where should you start in order to understand how to properly fuel your body for training and recovery? To do this, you must start with the principle that you want to minimize the amount of time your body spends in a catabolic state. Catabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that breaks down [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:32:09-04:00July 7th, 2016|Nutrition Info|0 Comments

Exercise and Epigenetics: Setting Your and (Maybe?) Your Children’s State of Health by Jenna Burnett

[This is a guest blog by Jenna Burnett. Jenna has a Bachelors degree in physics and mathematics from Purdue University and is working on her Masters in kinesiology at Iowa State University. She is currently working as a Sports Science Research Intern at Athletic Lab.] Epigenetics is an area of genetic research that is becoming increasingly popular in science circles. But what exactly is it? If we break the word down to its roots, ‘epi’ means ‘above’ or ‘in addition to,’ while ‘genetic’ is ‘of or referring to origin.’ Putting these together, we get the basic definition of epigenetics, something that is above or in addition to the origin. The origin in this case refers to the DNA sequence that is the basis of all the things we are. As every biology teacher can tell you, your genetics determine your basic abilities and define what you look like and what you can do. So your epigenetics, at a general understanding, are structural changes to your DNA sequences that cause increased or decreased gene expression. This means that certain genes will be more expressed, leading to increased protein and cell components or it also means they could be decreased, leading to decreased proteins and cell components. Whether the expression is increased or decreased is determined by the different environments your body is put into and the structural changes that result. This means anything that changes your body’s homeostasis may also change your epigenetics and gene expression, including stress, nutrition, chemical exposure and a host of other factors. While a lot of environments will cause detrimental changes, there are also choices you can make that will cause “healthy” changes to your gene expression. One such example of [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:32:26-04:00July 4th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|0 Comments

Creatine for Performance and Wellness by Earl Wilcox

[This is a guest blog by Earl Wilcox. Earl is a graduate from the Kinesiology program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Earl currently possesses his CSCS from the NSCA and is an Applied Sports Science Intern at Athletic Lab.] Creatine is one of the top supplements of choice for increasing athletic performance. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Americans spend around 14 million dollars a year on creatine supplementation. The main draw to supplementing with creatine is that it can help promote greater changes in muscle mass, body composition and strength gains when combined with the proper training regimen. However, supplementation may not just be for elite level athletes and those who are trying to look good come beach season. There are now studies that show creatine supplementation may in fact help in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease as well as help prevent sarcopenia and traumatic brain injuries. Before we get into how creatine can help prevent these particular issues, I believe it is important to explain what creatine is and how it works. First of all, creatine is a naturally occurring substrate in the body and can be found in most animal-based proteins. It is used during the resynthesis of ATP. Think of ATP as the currency the body uses to perform any task; if you spend too much of it, you become unable to perform said task. The body has three different ways to produce ATP, one of which uses creatine. The phosphocreatine system.  The phosphocreatine system can produce a vast amount of ATP, however it is limited to producing energy for up to 6-10 seconds. The phosphocreatine system would be like driving a Ferrari in a cross [...]

By |2017-04-12T19:32:28-04:00July 2nd, 2016|Nutrition Info|1 Comment

Danny Gallagher makes American Ninja Warrior Appearance

Athletic Lab client Danny Gallagher recently made an appearance on Season 8 of American Ninja Warrior. Danny came to Athletic Lab with the unfulfilled goal of competing on the popular TV show. Danny had submitted application videos the previous 2 years but wasn't among the few to make it past the initial highly rigorous selection process. This year, Danny chose to do private training and nutritional monitoring with Athletic Lab and his hard work paid off. He was selected to compete on the show and took on the Mount Midoriyama obstacle course qualifier in Atlanta, GA. His episode aired last week and is still available to view on

By |2017-04-12T19:33:12-04:00June 17th, 2016|News, Nutrition Info|0 Comments

Last Day to Register: 2016 Summer Healthy Living Challenge

Today is the last day to register for our 2016 Summer Healthy Living Challenge. Don't miss out on this incredible life changing opportunity to learn healthy and sustainable lifestyle and nutritional habits that will help you reach your fitness and wellness goals. The average participant in our Healthy Living Challenge loses 4% body fat and learns sustainable healthy lifestyle changes that allow them to maintain or continue their losses! In this version of the Healthy Living Challenge we're switching things up a bit and incorporating the psychology of Loss Aversion. Loss aversion refers to people's tendency to strong preference of avoiding losses over acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that the fear of loss is twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains. Here are the details: Duration: 6 weeks Date: April 25th-June 5th Cost: $59.95-199.95 (see link below for details) Members will receive: 2 Body Composition Tests Circumference Measurements Pre and Post Performance Testing Nutritional and Goal Setting Consultation 140 Points Lifestyle Change! Signup Now! For more details click HERE.

By |2017-04-12T19:34:30-04:00April 20th, 2016|News, Nutrition Info|0 Comments