Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
I want to make sure I'm operating at optimum physical performance. Can my doctor help me get there? If so, what kinds of tests should I ask him to perform to make sure my body is perfectly "calibrated?"
Yes, your doctor can definitely help you get there during your annual physical --occasionally through tests but mostly by working to create a regimen that keeps your body finely tuned.
It's rare for men in their twenties to have the kind of medical maladies that are diagnosed with blood work. The two most common reasons they're not reaching optimal physical performance are: 1) They're not sleeping well; 2) They're training improperly.
If you're like the typical guy your age, you might be staying up really late one night, sleeping late one or two mornings each week and never getting into a consistent sleep cycle. And you're probably not coming close to an average of eight hours of sleep a night, which is ideal.
As for improper training, when you become so dedicated to reaching your peak (when training for a competition or race, or working out on your own), it's easy to overtrain and suffer from muscle fatigue. Taking rest days and cross-training may help, but every case is unique, so you're better off working through a proper schedule one-on-one with a trainer or your physician.
If you’re sure your sleep habits and workout regimen aren't holding you back, the next likely (but uncommon) culprit could be asthma. Conditions like an underactive thyroid or low iron levels (anemia) are also possible but very rare.