Can Donating Blood or Plasma Affect my Weight Training Goals?

Donating Blood and Weight Training

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A very common issue many of us in the fitness or exercise lifestyle are faced with is whether donating whole blood or blood plasma can affect weight-training workouts. For example, you have the opportunity to donate blood plasma, up to twice a week, and get paid for it. However, if plasma donation will negatively affect your bodybuilding progress, then the odds are that you won't give. Let's take a closer look at this all too common scenario.

Giving whole blood and donating blood plasma are valuable services to your local community. Your donation goes to help accident victims, people undergoing surgery, and others in poor health. However, you are giving away some of your body s liquid life source when you donate. You were wise to ask me about any adverse effects on your training.

When you donate a unit of whole blood, a pint, you lose 450 to 500 mL, which represents approximately one tenth of your total blood volume. So after donating one unit of blood the amount of blood circulating through your veins falls by about 10 percent. The red-blood-cell concentration, or hemoglobin level, which is normally around 15 g/dL in healthy males, decreases by a gram or two. Under normal circumstances all levels return to normal after three to four weeks. How will donating affect you, then?

Blood donation can influence your body s hydration and the oxygen-carrying ability of red blood cells. Maximal performance will be reduced for about two weeks, especially if you participate in endurance events. Recreational, noncompetitive exercisers are unlikely to notice any significant effect on their daily workout routine since donating a pint of blood has virtually no effect on strength or on short-burst activities.

Donating blood plasma does not deplete your red blood cells. Simply put, you are donating the fluid component of your blood that contains proteins, nutrients and other cells. The effect of losing a small amount of your plasma is negligible. However, if you donate plasma on a regular basis such as once a week, your body will be functioning on suboptimal fuel. The plasma serves numerous essential functions, including the transport of nutrients and hormones throughout your body. If your body is constantly depleted, your performance during weight training and your anabolic recovery afterward will be slower and less effective.

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