First things first: when it's necessary, I'll get my blood drawn or if I'm sick, I'll opt for a shot to get over the misery quicker, but I REALLY dread it. When the nurse says "might feel a little prick now," I can feel every ounce of my being tense up. And yet...because we are adults, we deal.
Right now, I am knee deep in my training for the St. George Marathon on my awesome Piece of Cake Running training plan and working hard to keep my classes at GRIT Fitness as fun and challenging as possible. Add to that the full-time day job and dealing with the intensity of Texas summer...it's no joke, y'all.
Considering all that's on my plate I thought it made sense to take a deeper dive into my wellness and nutrition goals and see what was happening on the inside. Knowledge is power, ya know. Enter Inside Tracker....
Inside Tracker uses results from a simple blood test along with input on a fairly detailed survey to derive your very own personalized "zones" on a number of important biomarkers. While these biomarkers are geared to athletes who are interested in wellness and performance, I learned that it's not just a product for professionals and elites. Weekend warriors like me make up a big portion of Inside Tracker's client base.
I learned about Inside Tracker from a couple of sources in the Oiselle family. First, I saw that Andie Cozarelli, one of our badass speedy Haute Volée, used it to address issues pertinent to her celiac disease and the demands of professional running. She talks about her experience with I.T. here. I was definitely intrigued, but wasn't really convinced that it was for me...I'm not an elite and certainly didn't think I needed the kind of data that Andie did. Then at the incredible Oiselle Northeast Birdcamp in June, my friend and fellow Volée member Mary Johnson shared with us what she learned from Inside Tracker along with a discount (spoiler alert - you are getting one too!) The I.T. team also provided camp attendees with a great blender bottle for protein shakes (thanks guys, those get some pretty heavy use in our household).
Once back from camp, I looked into the different plans offered by Inside Tracker, and while not cheap, I did the math and considered my options. I concluded that I wanted these data points, and it would be easier to get them all in one fell swoop through I.T. than to go to the doctor's office. There, I would need to justify exactly why I needed all the biomarkers studied (assuming I even figured out the correct ones to ask for) and if the doc agreed, I wouldn't really have the data in a way that was easy for me to digest. I also wasn't sure about the costs and whether insurance would cover the tests if I didn't specifically "need them" based on a doctor's order. So, I placed my order online with Inside Tracker and immediately was walked through the (very simple) process of scheduling my blood test and filling out the required survey of health/personal information.
The number and the nature of the biomarkers you receive results for will depend on the type of Inside Tracker test you order. Using data showing exactly where you fall within (or outside of) these zones, the team at Inside Tracker makes specific recommendations tailored to your current training, background, lifestyle and food preferences.
It's crazy easy to do. You can have your blood drawn at a Quest Diagnostics clinic (they help you find the closest one to them right on the I.T. site), or you can pay extra for "white glove" service and have a technician come to your home/work at a time you specify. (Oh, you fancy?) If there isn't a clinic/technician convenient to you, you can even order a Home Kit that can be used anywhere/anytime and sent back to Inside Tracker.
I was able to set my appointment at a local Quest lab for the very next Tuesday, and was asked to come in fasted (no food or drink other than water) for at least 12 hours and not to work out before coming in. So I shifted around my usual Tuesday early A.M. run date and sat at my desk all morning sipping water; utterly miserable without my normal breakfast and coffee. I kid, but yeah....I'm a breakfast eater/coffee drinker LIKE WHOA and can't understand people like my hubs who can skip it and be just fine.
I was in and out of the Quest testing center in about fifteen minutes. The next Friday (yep, three days later), I got an email from Inside Tracker telling me that my results were ready! Nice and speedy. Shortly after I received that email, I received a separate one telling me that two of my biomarkers were at a critical level, or in what Inside Tracker calls the "red zone." Cody and I were actually on the road in Eugene, OR spectating Olympic Track and Field Trials when these emails arrived, so I took a moment during our trip to log on and check out these two results. Inside Tracker found that my ferritin was very high and my Vitamin D was very low. Sharing my results on these two with you right here...
I was pretty surprised by these results, and really glad that I had invested in Inside Tracker because I otherwise have never had any reason to have either of these biomarkers tested. While ferritin didn't even come into my realm of thinking, I never would have thought I had any problems with Vitamin D because I thought my multivitamin covered all my needs. Apparently not.
Still, not all the news was bad. I was pleased to see that while I had a number of biomarkers in the "watch" zone (this is indicated with a "yellow" dot), I had several in the "green" (i.e., good) zone. Inside Tracker gave me some very specific recommendations for supplements, nutrition and lifestyle modification, not only in regards to the two biomarkers I have shown you here, but for a number of them that were in the "watch" zone. All of it shown on very easy to understand graphs and in plain language.
I immediately wanted to share my results with my friend, fellow GRIT instructor and badass certified holistic health coach Megan Lyons. Megan and I met earlier in the summer for a session just before my Inside Tracker testing, wherein we discussed my current workout/training plan and general diet. She was so insightful, and made a number of great suggestions in our initial visit that were easy to implement, and shared some Megan-approved recipes. When we met again, I provided her with my food log for three days (a normal day, a "heavy leg" day for strength training and a long run day) along with my just-obtained Inside Tracker results. Megan reviewed my results and together, we formulated a plan for my nutrition and supplements.
Considering my critical levels of ferritin and Vitamin D, I took my results to my regular doctor yesterday just to be safe. I was really happy that she completely agreed with Megan's recommendations. We have a plan going forward for me to make these modifications and be re-tested on these two markers in three months. If we haven't seen improvements, we'll try a more drastic remedy. So, I'll update this post with information about how I am feeling and how my re-test goes.
I am so, so grateful for the insight that I gained through Inside Tracker. I honestly can say that I didn't know what I didn't know, and probably wouldn't even have had a reason to know until it was too late. My doctor confirmed that the issues we found absolutely could have manifested themselves into something more, and it's a GREAT thing that we caught them when we did.
SO...I'll wrap up with two recommendations: first, before the end of this month, hop on the Inside Tracker site and check it out. Find the plan that's right for you and use the promo code "ASHLEYJULY" for a discount! I'm happy to answer any questions about my excellent experience or get you in touch with the right people at Inside Tracker. Side note: the I.T. team has been incredibly easy to work with; they are all prompt, capable and friendly. Really great people and they clearly know and love what they are doing.
Second, check out Megan's website and blog. Full of practical information that you can use even if you aren't looking for specific health and wellness coaching or guidance. If you are, she's your woman. She meets onsite with clients in Dallas and over Skype/email with clients all over the country. An amazing resource and gives you all the tools you need to make sense of the science.
I'll be updating later this year with new metrics; til then, I will be working to take better care of what's on the inside! #BloodDon'tLie