As part of our partnership with InsideTracker this month, we’re taking a look at how a handful of athlete use InsideTracker to improve their health and performance. Fast Women readers interested in trying it out can get 25% off the Essentials plan by using this link.
Amanda Ghent: Ghent decided to try InsideTracker in an effort to cover all her bases as she focuses on goals like breaking 20:00 for 5K and 1:30 in the half marathon in 2021. Though she strongly dislikes needles, she said the blood draw was easy to schedule and the whole process was very efficient. Ghent’s recent testing indicated that she has elevated levels of B12, which she believes to be the cause of her poor sleep, and poor sleep in turn led to difficulty recovering from training. She has been able to clear up some skin issues she was experiencing by eliminating supplements that turned out to be unnecessary. Because her testing also revealed that her white blood cell count is very low, she’s working with her general practitioner to find the root cause.
Cali Schweikhart: Schweikhart, an obstacle course racer, trail runner, and member of the Spartan Pro Team, struggled with an eating disorder when she was young, which led to a long stretch of amenorrhea. She decided to try InsideTracker when she started experiencing unexplained weight gain and with the hope of learning more about the underlying cause of her amenorrhea. She was surprised to learn, among other things, that her ferritin was low. Though that’s common among runners, hemochromatosis (aka “iron overload”) runs in her family. But the biggest surprise was her cortisol level, which indicated that her body was under an extreme amount of stress.
Schweikhart tried to make some of the recommended adjustments on her own, but her biggest breakthroughs came after she began working with a registered dietitian that specializes in eating disorders, who she connected with thanks to a recommendation from an InsideTracker employee. They focused on healing her relationship with food and within a couple months, Schweikhart got her first period in more than eight years. The testing she has done with InsideTracker confirmed that the work she was doing was paying off. “Having tangible measurements that tell you where your body and your health stand is pretty much invaluable,” Schweikhart said.
Andie Cozzarelli: Cozzarelli, a semi pro runner, first started using InsideTracker after a nutritionist recommended it. The personalized nature of the testing appealed to her, and though some of her results have been more predictable (iron issues), others have not, like magnesium and folate deficiencies. “I was also completely unaware of all of the different markers that show us that we can push ourselves too far like cortisol, liver enzymes, and creatine kinase, among others,” Cozzarelli said. Though she’s taking a break from running right now, she continues to test with InsideTracker four times a year, to make sure that the supplements she’s taking are working and to stay on top of any other issues that might pop up.
“From all of the years of testing with them I have learned that my body is not invincible and stress, whether it be physical or mental, has a profound effect on the body,” she said. “In my most recent test (more on that here), I expected that my stress hormone, cortisol, would be way down without running, but I also recently had to put my dog down unexpectedly. We then adopted two new rescue pups… When I got my results back, my cortisol was still on the high side. I took from it that just because I am not training doesn’t mean I’m keeping my stress levels in check, so I need to practice mindfulness much more often.”
Tianna Bartoletta: Bartoletta, who has earned three Olympic gold medals, has long paid attention to her blood work because she has a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, and she wanted to know as much as possible about what was going on in her body. Her most recent round of testing with InsideTracker revealed that her cholesterol and cortisol levels are high and, after a blood transfusion and several iron infusions, she is still anemic. But armed with this information, she can make informed adjustments. “Most athletes guess at their deficiencies, or choose supplements because they ‘think’ they need them,” Bartoletta said. “With so many variables on any given day that can determine whether you make the team or not, or leave with a medal or not, I’d rather take the guesswork out of all the things that I can absolutely know for sure.”