To catch you up on anything you might have missed: Inside Tracker breaks your blood results into 3 categories based on essential vitamin and nutrient levels in your body:
- Need Work
- At Risk
These categories are personalized based on the 15-20 minute survey I mentioned in my first post, asking questions ranging from the basics (age…weight, etc.), to lifestyle, to nutrition. And you’re never “locked in” with your levels…so, if you decide you want to adjust a variable–such as the amount that you strength train, or maybe the addition of a new diet supplement–you can easily go into your Inside Tracker profile and make the update.
And, again, the nutrients/vitamins that Inside Tracker tests are a lot more in depth from what your doctor might recommend, and the advice Inside Tracker gives is tailored to help fuel our bodies as athletes…because let’s face it…the needs of an athlete are NOT the same as the needs of a sedentary individual.
SO. Here’s where I stood with my test results:
Not bad, right?! I was pretty pumped to see that 0 biomarkers were at risk, especially since I had a few red flags from my doctor in the spring.
So let’s dive a little deeper. Here were my 6 biomarkers that needed work:
Uhhhhhhhhh ok. So I know what ferritin is. And hemoglobin. I’ve definitely heard of hemoglobin. But the others? No clue.
Brb, I’m about to get nerdy, because this is why I think Inside Tracker is so cool.
The system gives you OODLES of information about what each of those nutrients are, and why they’re important.
Let’s take LDL for example. I had NO clue what LDL was before this test. But Inside Tracker gives me tons of reading material to learn about LDL, why its important, and what foods I can eat in order to optimize my levels. For those wondering, LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol (yes…there are two types of cholesterol, something I also didn’t know. Don’t judge, I was a business major in college) and my level is considered normal but not optimized. So…can I improve it? Absolutely. Will I need to completely overhaul my diet/lifestyle in order to make the change? Not at all, because my level is so close so what would be considered optimized.
The ferritin/iron result was also particularly fascinating to me, especially because my blood test in the spring showed that my iron was on the low range of average (but certainly not optimized from an athletic performance perspective). Unfortunately, despite my efforts to take an iron supplement, things did not improve on the iron front over the past few months. Below, you’re looking at a ferritin level of 28 ng/mL tested in May (the left dot) and then a 27 ng/mL tested in August (the right dot).
Meh. Clearly the supplement I was taking wasn’t working. SO, as of recently, I’ve started taking a different (higher & more concentrated) iron supplement. Hopefully I’ll see my numbers improve next time I have a blood test.
All this was really cool and interesting BUT I did find it a bit overwhelming in terms of information. Which levels did I need to work on first? Of my “need work” biomarkers, what did I need to do to improve my results?
Fear not…Inside Tracker also has a program that helps pinpoint what you should work on first based on symptoms. I decided to focus on boosting energy and improving my bone health, especially since last year proved that I’m one big stress fracture waiting to happen.
After telling Inside Tracker my preference of interventions that would help improve my nutrient levels, I was given an action plan:
Having an action plan made this whole process a little easier. And, finally, in case things couldn’t be broken down any more elementarily, Inside Tracker gave me 5 goal foods to focus on: dark chocolate, squab, soybeans, peanut butter, and steak.
In order to meet my goals through lifestyle changes, I was told to:
- Avoid sudden increases in running
- Limit saturated fat intake from meat (i.e. – eat more lean meat)
- Balance carb/fat intake (avoid a high-carb/low-fat diet)
- Eat more polyunsaturated fat
- Reduce anxiety with mood intervention practices (yikes)
Pretty interesting stuff, and having Inside Tracker spell it all out for me has been really helpful.
Since the test, I’ve been doing my best to take the advice given to me. Making changes are always harder than they seem, aren’t they? I plan on sharing more results with you as I continue with the never-ending battle of improving my iron levels, lowering stress, and eating better! Let’s just say that the recent half marathon and 5k PRs (soon to be recapped) have been real motivating factors into getting my body as healthy as possible.
Finally: I’ve mentioned before and I’ll mention again: I’m not being paid by Inside Tracker to write this post. I am a paying customer and because the experience was so interesting to me, my objective was to lay it all out on my blog for others to read about and ask questions.
That being said, I am, however, working with them currently in spreading the news about their current Black Friday deal, offering the deepest discount available. If you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity, type in the code BFRMARY when you purchase a package on the Inside Tracker site. OR if you have any questions that I might have glazed over in my post, please email me! I’d be happy to help. The code is valid now until Tuesday, December 1st, so give it some thought!
I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was wonderful!