InsideTracker Blood Results
Running, Training Sub 1:25

Getting Blood Tested with InsideTracker

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might know that I’ve gotten my blood tested with InsideTracker on several occasions. Before starting a new training cycle in 2020, I thought it would be a good idea to test my blood again. I would rather know if I’m deficient in something now, instead of finding out the hard way by feeling fatigued in March and April.

I’ve already discussed how my goal for 2020 is to get back into shape. 2019 was not my year for running, but I want 2020 to be the year I get back into fitness. It wasn’t that I didn’t run in 2019, because I did; but my priorities ended up in different places.

One of the many things I wanted to do to prepare myself for my 2020 season is to get my blood retested with InsideTracker. The last time I got my blood tested was over a year ago. I had all of the plans to train and run hard in 2019, but that never happened. I still ran to stay healthy, but I didn’t run to be my best. It’s funny, because I did run many halves and a full marathon, but I was minutes off of any PR. You can’t go hard every year, and that’s something I’ve tried to remind myself.

InsideTracker Blood Results

Anyway, as I prepare for training in 2020, I don’t want to leave stones unturned. My body isn’t the same was it was in 2018 or 2019, and so I decided to get tested again.  I wanted to have a baseline to see what I can work to improve.

Sharing your blood results can feel really personal. Like “OMG, I have low iron, am I a failure?” And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging about food choices, it’s that diet is one of the most polarizing topics out there (second maybe to politics). I’m committed to sharing my entire process this year. I’ll talk about how I plan to build back fitness and hopefully feel better running.

What is my running goal?

My running goal for 2020 is to rerun a 1:25 half marathon (that’s 6:29 per mile). That isn’t a PR, but it is a realistic goal. Last weekend I ran a 10-mile race and averaged 6:58 per mile, it’ll take some work, but I know I can get there because I’ve been there before.

How do I plan to get there?

  1. Get a Current Running Baseline (Hair of the Dog 10k 41:49, 6:40 per mile; and Distance Series 10 Miler, 1:10.07)
  2. Get a Blood Levels Baseline (that’s in this post!)
  3. Train and Fuel Accordingly

It seems simple, and it is, but as we all know, simple doesn’t always equal easy. I’m not putting a time limit on it. Maybe it will happen in the spring, or perhaps in the fall.

What is InsideTracker?

In case you’ve never heard of InsideTracker, here’s a quick overview. They test your blood for 40 biomarkers. From the test results, their science team makes personalized nutrition and lifestyle recommendations.

InsideTracker is not a substitute for going to your doctor and getting regular health checkups, and they clearly state that they are not giving medical advice. InsideTracker makes recommendations based on your blood that will help you recover faster and healthier. Maybe you feel tired and running feels like a chore. You could be overtrained, or maybe you have low iron. Getting your blood drawn takes the guesswork out of “why do I feel like garbage.”

InsideTracker categorizes those 30 biomarkers into “optimized, needs help, and at-risk.” The optimal zone is exactly what it sounds like: normal and healthy. The needs help category is for areas that are a bit lower than they should be. Finally, the at-risk category means that there is something wrong and if you correct it, you’ll probably feel better. When a biomarker falls in the at-risk category and you need to be seen by a doctor, InsideTracker makes it very clear, and they can even send blood test results directly to your doctor.

InsideTracker Has All of the Following and More:

  • A customized dashboard for you
  • Customized Suggestions on your Blood Results
  • Physician-ordered tests only give you numbers

Why InsideTracker? 

If you’re a runner, and you want to get your blood checked, but it’s not a life or death problem, I find it is easier than going through a doctor. With Tricare and military insurance, I am very fortunate that my insurance covers a lot of things.

If I had a medical emergency, my insurance would cover getting my blood tested and checked. I do not have any ongoing medical conditions and my everyday life is fine. I want to know my blood levels so I can tailor my routine to be the best I can with running. I want to make sure my blood is optimized for training and that I’m not missing key vitamins that my body needs. That’s why I chose InsideTracker. InsideTracker is designed for many people, including athletes, to check their levels.

Usually, I choose to get my blood drawn at my house with the mobile service. It costs a little extra, but getting blood drawn is not my favorite thing. In fact, I have passed out giving blood or from needles more often than not.

However, this time around the mobile service wasn’t an option, so on a good day for our schedules, my husband drove me into Philadelphia. (I didn’t want to drive myself, only to pass out at the office). Thankfully, it was fine. It feels silly typing out my fear of needles as an almost 30-year-old woman. I’ve given myself panic attacks getting blood drawn, so it’s not an easy deal for me.

The woman at Quest Diagnostics was great and I was in and out.

My InsideTracker test results:

I have several biomarkers that fall in the need help category:

My cortisol has lowered but still not Ideal:

My cortisol being lower came as a surprise for me. Running-wise, my body hasn’t been stressed, but the rest of life has been stressful. I was shocked that I’m finally trending in the right direction.

Inside Tracker Results
InsideTracker Results Cortisol

My creatine kinase is high:

Creatine kinase is essentially the amount of damage your muscles have. The more fatigued the muscles are, the higher it is. While mine isn’t dangerously high, it is higher than we would like.

Inside Tracker Results
InsideTracker Results Creatine Kinase

My vitamin B12 is too high:

I do eat a lot of red meat, so that makes sense. I don’t drink energy drinks or sodas anymore (the only soda I like these days is Dr. Pepper on road trips). The recommendation here is that I eat less red meat. Luckily for me, many diners now serve Beyond Burgers… we’ll see.

My “inflammation group is too high”:

This could be several things, including getting tested two days after a hard 10k. One major component of my fitness plan for 2020 is to get more sleep. I already strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep, but truthfully I’m someone who needs more sleep.

Inside Tracker Results
InsideTracker Results Inflammation Group (the grey indicates wasn’t tested last time)

My iron is low:

Until my mid to late 20s, my iron was always borderline high. The first time I was tested, I was skeptical that maybe it was a fluke, but being tested twice in a row with lower iron means that I do need to work towards getting more iron. I will start taking an iron supplement once a day.

Inside Tracker Results
Iron InsideTracker Results

Both my calcium and vitamin D levels are normal:

YAY! As someone who had too many broken bones in my early 20s (mostly from overtraining), I am happy to hear my vitamin D and calcium are at normal levels. I’ve worked hard to get more calcium and Vitamin D, and I’m glad to see that it worked.

Inside Tracker Results
Calcium InsideTracker Results

The Plan:

Now that I have this valuable data about my blood, I can adjust my diet as necessary. I don’t plan to follow a strict diet or completely avoid certain foods. Running is lifelong and restricting anything isn’t going to do anyone any favors. There are a few foods I can add to help to increase my recovery, decrease creatine kinase, and lower cortisol.

  • Beans: I don’t eat a lot of beans. I don’t know why, but when I’m hungry, I don’t think about eating beans. So I’m planning to add a cup of beans on most days.
  • Wheat germ: Wheat germ keeps coming up as something that helps lower inflammation groups and improve overall health. I didn’t know anything about it until InsideTracker, so I’m looking forward to seeing how my body responds to it.
  • Iron supplement: I do believe most things can be gotten from food, but it can be difficult to boost low iron effectively, so I prefer to also supplement with iron.
  • Less red meat: I don’t plan to go vegetarian or vegan, but I also don’t plan to have steak every meal.
  • Sleep: Sorry, don’t talk to me after 8 pm.

In all, I’m happy I got my blood tested with InsideTracker. I’m looking forward to 2020 and putting effort into running again.  I’m looking forward to seeing how my body responds in the next 3 months.

If you are interested in InsideTracker, you can learn more here.

Questions for you:

Have you gotten your blood tested? Have you used InsideTracker?

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InsideTracker Blood Results
Running, Running Reads

InsideTracker Blood Test Results Part 2

InsideTracker Results:

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I feel as if there is so much to catch up on.

In late December, I decided to get Insidetracker done again.  While it is cheaper than getting several tests done through insurance, it’s not inexpensive by any means.

Since I’m a healthy adult and nothing is “life or death”, blood tests are not covered by Insurance. I chose to get InsideTracker again because I knew it would help.  I did receive a discount from Insidetracker which was helpful.  I got results done from Insidetracker in July and ultimately found my iron was too high as well as a few other things.  (Detailed post here).

So What is InsideTracker?

Incase you’ve never heard of InsideTracker they test your blood for 30 biomarkers. From the test results, their science team makes personalized nutrition and lifestyle recommendations. Insidetracker is not a substitute for going to your doctor and getting regular health checkups. I don’t use it like that, InsideTracker makes recommendations that will help you recover faster and healthier. Maybe you feel tired and running feels like a chore. You could be overtrained or maybe you have low iron. Getting your blood drawn takes the guesswork out of “why do I feel like garbage”.

InsideTracker categorizes your 30 biomarkers into “optimized, needs help, and at-risk”. The optimal zone is just like it sounds and it’s what’s normal and healthy. The “At-Risk Zone” is lower than it should be. The “At Risk” means that there is something wrong and if you correct it, you’ll probably feel better. For Biomarkers that are “At Risk” and need to be seen by a doctor, InsideTracker makes it very clear and they can even send blood results to your doctor.

So What Happened in the Last Few Months?

After receiving my results in July, I did start taking a probiotic as recommended.  I gave the probiotic for 3 months, but I didn’t notice a change in anything.  At an extra $90 ($30 per bottle at the recommended 3X per day), I couldn’t justify the cost and not noticing a difference.

Iron:

Since July, I’ve also worked to lower my iron, but it seems I worked too hard and it plummeted almost to the “too low” category of InsideTracker.  This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had low iron. The fact that it dropped that quickly is alarming.

InsideTracker Iron

But it would explain why I’ve been more tired.

How did I lower it?

Since July, I went off my multivitamin which had 100% iron in it.  While I prefer dark chocolate, I ate a lot more milk chocolate with less iron.

I already consumed (and still do) red meat 2-3X per week as well as leafy greens.  That’s probably why it didn’t lower anymore.

Now that my iron is too low, I think I’ll go back on my multivitamin with iron in it and dark chocolate.  

Liver Enzymes:

Since getting my previous results, my liver enzymes have stayed “at risk.”  They need work and to be honest, I’m not surprised.  They took a back burner while I worked towards everything else, so I didn’t do much with them.

InsideTracker Liver Enzyme

This time, I am going to add both wheat germ and an extra serving of almond, sunflower or peanut butter to my diet each day.  I’m actually not a huge peanut butter fan.  I don’t hate it, I just don’t have it often.

So what’s the Plan?

I’m spending the next 6 weeks focusing on making these small changes InsideTracker recommended because it’s perfect timing. While I do have responsibilities and things to do, I’m not working full-time.  I have access to cooking, preparing and eating foods that would work for me.  If I cannot make these changes now, there probably won’t be an easier time.

For the next six weeks, I plan to watch and monitor my diet.  I’m not going to make a lot of extreme changes, and I don’t plan to change the caloric intake, however, I do plan to eat more nutritionally dense food for me.

What I like about InsideTracker is they make recommendations for foods that can help optimize your personal results.  While I could spend hours researching, how to increase iron levels or decrease liver enzymes, it’s right on my dashboard.  For me, it means including a lot more wheat germ or nut products.  I can’t make any promises, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing my experiences along the way in the food and diet world too.  Although I like to read other people’s posts, nutritional posts haven’t been on the forefront of my blog for a while.

I would definitely recommend InsiderTracker as it’s a great tool to help you figure out what nutrition your body needs.  You cannot get more of an awakening than learning your blood results.

Questions for you:

What are some ways you consume wheat germ?

Have you ever taken a probiotic?

Have you tried InsideTracker before?