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New Blueprint for Athletes service reveals fitness truths at the cellular level: Stretching Out

February 6, 2018 GMT

New Blueprint for Athletes service reveals fitness truths at the cellular level: Stretching Out

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – Now I know exactly why I feel the way I do after workouts. My blood during that window is teeming with creatine and potassium.

How do I know this? I took a test. Or rather, a battery of tests.

A medical professional with a new company called Blueprint for Athletes (blueprintforathletes.com) came to my home, drew a surprising amount of blood, and sent it off to a lab in California for analysis. A week or so later, the results appeared in my inbox.

The process could not have been simpler or more convenient. All I could have wished for, in fact, is a doctor to follow up and interpret the data. (For that, I could have paid an extra $40.)

Luckily, I didn’t have to go without. My best friend, who is a doctor, was happy to look at the numbers and tell me what’s really going on, to assure me that I’m not diabetic or anemic, my diet is fine, and my heart isn’t likely about to stop. If there’s anything concrete I could do, it’s eat more, drink more water, and maybe halve my multivitamin.

The idea behind Blueprint is simple: to give serious athletes – not that I claim to be one – deeper insight on their bodies and a medically supported game-plan for improvement. If VO2 Max, BMI, and body-fat percentage outline the big picture, Blueprint’s numbers reveal what’s going on at the cellular level.

The process began where most things nowadays do, online. On Blueprint’s website, I placed an order for two “Stacks,” their word for a type or category of test. I zeroed in one those having to do with athletic performance, but I also could have explored my nutrition, hormones, and allergies. It wasn’t an inexpensive order. The menu of tests ranged from $60 to $200 each.

Not long after that, I received two packages in the mail, both of which I was instructed not to open. These, I later discovered, were the testing and mailing implements, the vials, needles, tubing, and envelopes that would be used to collect and ship my blood.

A few days later, I heard from and made an appointment with a phlebotomist, who conveniently came to my home and got what she needed right at my kitchen table. (If you have trouble giving or seeing blood, this service is not for you.) She also sealed everything up in my presence, and took the packages straight to a FedEx location.

Most of the factors I’m familiar with – iron, sodium, calcium, red and white blood cells, protein, platelets – plus a whole lot more I’d never heard of fell well within the reference range. A few, however, were either high (potassium, creatine, and folate) or low (glucose).

Happily, and to my great relief, my doctor friend said two of the figures stem from intense exercise the morning of the blood draw. Potassium and creatine are evidence of recovery.

Fault for the folate, meanwhile, lies with my zealous multivitamin, and the glucose test was almost certainly in error. Had my blood sugar actually been as low as reported, I would have been in agony. In fact, I felt fine, even great. To double check, he told me to wait a while and re-test myself at home.

To be honest, this is not a service I would have requested on my own. I’m detail oriented and competitive, but not really a numbers kind of guy.

If I truly were a serious athlete, however, and looking either for an edge or to resolve a nagging health issue, I’d be signing up for every test. My fingerprints would be all over Blueprint.