Do All Athletes Need Regular Blood Testing?

Blood tests can help tell whether an athlete is overtrained or performing at their best, but is it a good idea for athletes to do regular testing? We discuss with Dr. Lauren Rudolph.

It’s not uncommon to see professional athletes get regular blood tests to help optimize their performance. The results, read by the right doctor, can tell a lot about the athlete’s state of recovery, whether they’re pushing overtraining, and where they may be deficient in their nutrition.  

So, it seems like a no-brainer that athletes of all levels who are concerned about their health and performance should get regular blood tests. But that’s not actually what the research or many sports doctors recommend. Athletes are different—even those of us who train eight to ten hours per week—and those differences will show up in the results. A general practitioner who doesn’t know the athlete may see issues in the results that a sports doctor would say are normal. This can lead athletes to get anxious over their results and worse, make bad decisions.  

Our guest today, Dr. Lauren Rudolph, works with many top endurance athletes and, even at the highest levels, questions the value of regular blood testing. We talk with her about why that is, why all of us should work with a sports doctor, and what—if anything—we should test. Both she and the research see a value in two particular markers: vitamin D and ferritin. But even with these markers, things get complicated.  

Sharing their thoughts, we’ll also hear from friend of the show, Dr. Andy Pruitt; owner of the Build Sports Performance Lab & PT Center, Larry Meyer, DPT; physiologist Dr. Stephen Cheung; owner of, Dr. Paul Laursen; and ex-WorldTour athlete Taylor Phinney. 

So, find out when your next physical is scheduled, and let’s make you fast! 

Resources to find a sports doctor: 


As an athlete, have you had the experience of being tested and a doctor not knowing how to interpret your results because of your sports background?