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  1. #1
    Registered snUser freedom_myth's Avatar
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    Red Blood Cell Count ? Effects of Donating Blood on Performance

    Any blood experts out there??? Time to donate is here again. Good or bad for MMA and for how long before a fight? If your blood is too thick, it's bad, and yet if your RBC count is too low, it's bad...

    The Red Cross guidelines are pretty simple when it comes to the standards and time frames for donations. They also ask that you not do any lifting or work out for 24 to 48 hours? But they do not really have any detailed info on exactly how long until you are back to 100%. By that I mean ready to lift hard and have full strength and O2 blood capacity and endurance for sports and things like grappling and MMA. The folks at the donation centers can not seem to tell you how many days, weeks or months it takes from a regular donation or from giving double reds it takes to be back to ?full? speed and power. The assumption from their time limits makes it appear that it takes 8 weeks to fully recover from a regular donation and 16 weeks for double reds. If that is true, that would seriously impair an athlete. My numbers tend to run on the high side (as far as some doctors are concerned). Hemoglobin at 16-18 and Hematocrit at 49-55. Research on numbers for men shows that this is not actually so high as to cause concern, but my current (soon to be former) doctor thinks these numbers are too high. Athletes use high altitude training, meds and blood doping with their own blood in an effort to get their RBC far over the 50% level to increase performance, and we all know what happens if it is pushed too high. Some men actually donate blood to keep their % low and avoid the health risks of having thick blood?

    So the real question is, by donating blood or especially giving double reds, how badly do you hurt your training, endurance and performance, and for how long??? I have found that each study seems to come up with a different answer, and most only seem to use running and cycling as their test. I donate because they need my blood type, and because I was told a long time ago that if your numbers run high, it is a good idea to donate anyway. And I have noticed a drop in performance afterwards. But reading thru all the reports and info I have not found a real graph or chart with typical results and expected times to full sports recovery. They all seem to agree that your endurance will suffer by about 10% but disagree as to whether it will take an athlete 10 days, 4 weeks or even 8 weeks to fully recover or compete. Could donating or donating double reds make the difference between winning & losing, or gassing in the middle of a round? Maybe even be an extra risk considering the further blood loss that can occur from elbow cuts during the fight? I found a few reports in which athletes were told NOT to donate even in their off season, and others that said that you would not only be squared away, but possibly better off a few weeks after?

    Any personal experiences or definitive medical findings???


    Red Cross Donation Guidelines:

    Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Blood Count:
    Acceptable if you have a hemoglobin at or above 12.5 g/dL.
    Acceptable if you have a hematocrit at or above 38%.

    Donation Intervals:
    Wait at least 8 weeks between whole blood (standard) donations.
    Wait at least 16 weeks between double red cell (automated) donations.

    Normal values vary with age and sex. Men have 14.0-18.0 g/dL.

    The normal ranges for hematocrit are dependent on age and, after adolescence, the sex of the individual. The normal ranges are: Adult males: 42-54%
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  2. #2
    Registered User IR45N's Avatar
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    Keeping it simple, you can donate every 8 weeks; that doesn't mean you're not 'recovered' til then.

    If you don't have a clotting problem, you should be able to resume normal training 24-48 hours. Most likely you'll be fine before that, but since you're donating so infrequently, won't hurt to take a day or two off. Certainly wouldn't do heavy arm training soon.

    Can't remember how long it takes to get that pint of blood back; couple of weeks? But, imho, you won't notice any difference if you're healthy enough for MMA training.

    IF you have a tattoo, you might be barred from donating; regardless of how old the tat is

    my 1c.
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  3. #3
    Potentate DaddyR's Avatar
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    I'm sure there's a lot of personal variability to the recovery process so that even the averages won't tell you exactly the effect on you personally. Unless you make your living at your sport of choice, I would just go by the Red Cross guidelines and maybe add a few weeks to be extra sure you're recovered between donations.

    IMHO the good you are doing for your community by donating (since you said you were a rare type) surely outweighs any adverse effect on your training unless you're a full time pro.
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  4. #4
    Registered snUser freedom_myth's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IR45N View Post
    Keeping it simple, you can donate every 8 weeks; that doesn't mean you're not 'recovered' til then.

    If you don't have a clotting problem, you should be able to resume normal training 24-48 hours. Most likely you'll be fine before that, but since you're donating so infrequently, won't hurt to take a day or two off. Certainly wouldn't do heavy arm training soon.

    Can't remember how long it takes to get that pint of blood back; couple of weeks? But, imho, you won't notice any difference if you're healthy enough for MMA training.

    IF you have a tattoo, you might be barred from donating; regardless of how old the tat is

    my 1c.
    Thanks, I was hoping that the full recovery time for someone eating red meat and enough protein would be in the 2 week range as opposed to the longer times I found in some reports. I donate all the time and I ever really worried about it until the last time when I had just gotten over a cold/flu and ended up VERY sick for a long time afterwards and lost a ton of weight. Then I broke my hand and injured my wrist. But that could have been from the lack of proper training and diet being so sick for so long just prior...
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  5. #5
    Registered snUser freedom_myth's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DaddyR View Post
    I'm sure there's a lot of personal variability to the recovery process so that even the averages won't tell you exactly the effect on you personally. Unless you make your living at your sport of choice, I would just go by the Red Cross guidelines and maybe add a few weeks to be extra sure you're recovered between donations.

    IMHO the good you are doing for your community by donating (since you said you were a rare type) surely outweighs any adverse effect on your training unless you're a full time pro.
    You are right. I was thinking that if my diet and hydration levels are right on, that might speed the recovery time. Right now everything is off, I am way under my proper weight, dehydrated and injured. If I can re-hydrate, I might as well donate this week anyway. I would hate to stop donating, they never fail to call and mail and email to remind me. Since I am older, I can't afford any disadvantages, I already have low T levels, my last 2 tests were 27 and 89. They say that 300-900 is acceptable for average folks, but my old numbers were in the 1200 range ?without? any supplements, so that is something else I have been trying to get fixed, but my doc has no clue what he is doing and had admitted that fact, and is getting nowhere and has wasted time trying androgel and testim. The only legit men?s HRT clinic I had spoken with (that knows what they are doing) is not on my new health insurance plan. They could have probably gotten my numbers back into the high normal range. Hell, coming up from 27 to just 1000 would make me pretty damn happy at this point. My girl is 125-135lbs and can kick my ass now. I will get killed if I am down in weight (have dropped below 220, need to be heavy 249.9-265lbs) and will just be a punching bag and lose by these damn new rules and point system if I gas out, so maybe it would be worth actually going back in and having my RBC numbers checked at 2 weeks and 4 weeks this time to see if they have bounced back, or at least 2 weeks before any important event. The reports telling a competitive athlete not to donate even in their off season seemed to all be geared toward cyclists and long distance runners. However, my thoughts are that even though I am not fighting for a living as a full time pro (depending on how bad the economy gets), losing or doing poorly in an MMA fight is much worse than not coming in 1st in a run or bike race. I have already accumulated quite a bit of damage over the years and that was all from wins. I have never yet been the one on the ground getting pounded unconscious into a puddle of blood, but still ended up with broken bones, cuts and joint injuries from wins... At my age that part doesn't seem quite as fun as it did 10-15 years ago. lol... But now that MMA has finally become legal here, there will be promoters from the surrounding states coming in running amateur and pro fights, and the underground fights are going to grow exponentially?
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  6. #6
    Working on it... demike's Avatar
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    I have never donated blood, when I was in highschool I was not allowed because I just got my tattoo. My wife is a member of a blood bank though I do believe.
    Have you done something today to take yourself to the next level?

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  7. #7
    Registered User joed's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by freedom_myth View Post
    ...they never fail to call and mail and email to remind me. Since I am older, I can't afford any disadvantages, I already have low T levels, my last 2 tests were 27 and 89...
    That's their job, to get your blood, and they're very, very good at it. But that's beside the point FM. The question is, what are the donations doing for and to you?

    For me they did nothing, except provide an imaginary sense of gratitude from 'someone, somewhere'. But no one ever thanked me in person or told me a heart-rending story of how my blood was useful to them. For all I know it's still frozen somewhere, or it's been tossed because it's old. What did it do TO me? Inhibited my training efforts for weeks because I couldn't get enough O2 delivered to my tissues. When I consulted with my doc he told me to quit donating because I needed the red blood cells more than some stranger that I didn't know. I'm sure the altruists among us will attack me, but ya know what? I don't care because it's my blood, no one else's. I will decide what's best for me. IMO, you shouldn't feel obligated to give your precious blood to anyone.
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  8. #8
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    O negative ........ Blood Group

    Yes. Man... I read your Thoughts over donating Blood.. I too just donated blood yesterday evening before my work outs ...

    I did not work out yesterday and today I'll work out light and tomorrow I'll hit it with full force .... I'm feeling all well. I don't feel anything or dizzy at all.. I have donated many times though........


    I have this experience that in my work outs after donating blood I can't performe the same intenscity in work outs for like a week for sure and after that Every things just falls normal for me ..........


    THnaks
    " Talent is nothing without an opportunity"
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