About a month ago I joined the InsideTracker team. I was excited for a new challenge career-wise, but I had no idea the impact that it’d have on my running and overall health.
Short summary: InsideTracker provides specific recommendations based on analysis of hormone and nutrient biomarkers in your blood. The goal of the program is to help optimize these levels.
As someone who eats pretty healthy, I wasn’t sure how much of an impact InsideTracker could have. That couldn’t have been any further from the truth. We all can stand to improve our nutrition a bit more, and InsideTracker picked up on nearly a dozen things I could do differently that would have a substantial impact on my performance.
Most notably, my creatine kinase (a marker related to muscle health) was a little high, as well as cortisol (stress hormone), LDL and glucose (which is the most important marker contributing to longevity and anti-aging) and magnesium, vitamin D were on the lower end.
Magnesium has been called the “miracle mineral” and impacts everything from sleep, to mood, to athletic performance. From InsideTracker’s recommendations page:
Being on the lower end of the “optimized zone,” I already knew this was one I wanted to monitor. While I appear in the “optimized zone,” it’s still the lower side of it. I’m excited to see the changes from incorporating more magnesium into my diet.
“82% of the US population is compromising their longevity by not looking carefully/maintaining their glucose” – Gil Blander, Founder
Glucose is another marker that InsideTracker flagged as one that I should pay more attention to. I’ve been drinking several cups of green tea daily, as well as eating more nuts, as recommended by InsideTracker. A perfect example of how InsideTracker is different than a standard blood test with your doctor can be seen in the image below. “Normal results for a fasting blood glucose test are less than 100mg/dL,” which means a doctor would tell me my glucose levels are fine. InsideTracker’s system takes into account height, weight, activity level, alcohol consumption and gender to narrow the “acceptable” zone into a more personalized, optimal range.
Avocado showed up for a good number of the recommendations, as did chia, so I’ve been working on adding more of those as well as other healthy fats (olive oil, almonds, cashews, etc) into my routine. I haven’t had the ravenous hunger issues since beginning to incorporate these recommendations as well. The image below comes from my personalized “Focus Foods” which the system has determined as having the largest potential to improve my overall health and longevity based on a metric called “InnerAge,” which is essentially a measure of how old your body is, compared to your biological age. Mine was higher than I expected, mostly due to elevated glucose and very low vitamin D levels. I’m excited to see that number drop the next time I test.
I was happy to see all of my inflammation markers were almost perfectly optimized. Inflammation is the cause of many diseases so it’s critical to have under control. ENERGYbits are one of the most anti-inflammatory foods, and I eat at least a serving or two every day, so I’m sure that’s been helping.
This all leads me to the most important part: results. I’m feeling faster, stronger and healthier than ever before and my running performance gives me the numbers to prove it. I’ve felt stronger towards the end of my racing than I ever have before, and in November alone I dropped a full minute from my 5k PR. Three PR’s: first of 30 seconds, then 16, then 14 seconds. I hit my goal 5k time two weeks early, and ended up improving that time by an additional 14 seconds, good for a 17:42 5k. My goal was sub 18. I was tested mid October and began making changes within two days of the test, and all through November I was hitting or exceeding my goal paces during training and racing.
I’m excited to see what kind of impact this will have once the marathon training picks back up again in January, as I push forward towards my goal of qualifying for Boston. The longer and more intense the training gets, the more important nutrition becomes. Since I need to cut more than 30 minutes from my 1st marathon, I need every edge I can get.