When I had my blood analyzed by the new company InsideTracker, I actually learned a lot but, there are two things in particular that I think will be helpful to almost anyone reading this.
If you read my first blog post when I mentioned InsideTracker, you may recall that I used one word to describe my experience: annoyed. Here is why:
- Unless you select the “white glove” service (for an additional charge) to have someone come to your home to perform the blood draw, you have to make it to a facility. You also have to fast for 8 hours prior to the draw. After several failed attempts, I decided to just pay the fee and have someone come to my house first thing in the morning.
- About 24 hours later, I was sent this email by the Product Operations Manager at InsideTracker: Quest was unable to run a complete Performance panel on the specimens that were collected because there was an issue with the packaging. That’s not very fun at all, so I’ve set you up with an Ultimate test (with WGS, if you’d like to have a phlebotomist come to your home or office again). It’s on your account and you can use it at any time. Please give us a call if there’s any questions I can answer, or anything I can do to help.
- Even though I think they were very generous with the offer, I was so annoyed that it happened in the first place. However, it turns out that quite a bit of information was gathered and I will definitely be using the Ultimate Test in a few months time.
- The results had my InnerAge as 46. I’m 41.
So, how did I turn my frown upside-down? I’ll tell you…
No. 1 – Doctors do not know how to treat healthy people
My contact, Jonathan Levitt, could not have been happier about my annoyance. He loves the skeptics because it really provides him with an opportunity to show how InsideTracker works and why it’s specially designed for athletes (both weekend warriors and psychos).
My annoyance about my “InnerAge” was based on the fact that any other testing I have completed with an inner age result has me somewhere in my 20s. Obviously if I compare myself to the average 41 year-old American woman, my insides look like a rock star. However, if you compare me to say Shalane Flanagan, I’m 46. At least.
After reading my post, Jonathan put my results into perspective:
So we scheduled a call to go over everything in-depth.
Again, the levels shown that are in yellow (below) are not optimal for someone who is training and racing the way I do/want to. If I had these same tests done at my regular doctor’s office, they would all be “normal.”
I had three areas that deviated from where they ideally should be, so we discussed them and, how I can make some simple changes to bring them into the good range.
Jonathan also told me that glucose has a major impact on your inner age result since it’s one of the biggest indicators of longevity. And, the younger you are, the bigger the impact.
My cholesterol showed as borderline high but again, nothing that is overly concerning. A recurring theme in my profile was to eat more beans. We talked about making some simple swaps (like oatmeal for breakfast and beans in my salads) which should have a big impact on all these numbers.
No. 2 – The best meal plan is one tailored specifically for and about YOU
Just because I feel successful in my training and nutrition does not mean I’m not susceptible to being influenced by the latest fad diets. I’ve looked more than once into metabolic training/eating, I’ve Googled paleo, tried to force a smoothie on a daily basis and even thought about putting a salad in a jar. < – – I did not.
What I finally found with InsideTracker is all I really needed to do was make two small changes. Two. Small. Changes.
I didn’t need to sign up for specialty food supplies via Amazon.
I don’t make 45 minute drives to Whole Foods for some obscure ingredient.
I don’t force myself to eat (or not eat) anything.
I feel fuller longer and have the energy I need to go strong through two hour training sessions.
I have scientific proof from my blood draw that I am doing almost everything right.
How did I do it? Like this:
- I now have oatmeal with peanut butter and chia seeds for breakfast most mornings which should help bring my glucose and cholesterol numbers into place.
- I have some sort of beans, either in a salad, salsa, as a side or in a wrap, two to three times a week in hopes of upping my iron numbers.
After everything we talked about, my overall results were pretty great. Not only that but Jonathan used common sense (gasp!) by asking me how fatigued I am before, during or after training sessions and how my sleep patters are and whether or not I feel good overall since, if I feel great, what is the point of making any changes?
I have been including these extras in my diet for the last two weeks and I feel great, my training is still on point and, if I could get my kids to sleep though the night I would feel less like 46 and more like 26.
InsideTracker also takes all the guess work out of food shopping with their Food Basket option, where you can basically input your likes and dislikes and they will create a shopping list based on what your body needs.
I will have a re-test done in four months time, see what happens and, of course, tell you all about it.
Why You Should Try It
Because it makes so much sense! If you are sick of guessing what will or won’t work, this makes it easy. Yes, it’s expensive but how much have you already spent (including your precious time) on trying diets that are not working? Until you get a blood draw, you really don’t know what is and is not working for your body specifically.
Prices range from $499 for the Ultimate package to $99, to only get your InnerAge and, even two more packages under $150.
Overall I had a great experience, even when it started out kind of rough. I appreciate good, quality, genuine customer service and that is what the people at InsideTracker are all about. I also believe in making small, attainable, changes that you can live with every single day otherwise, the change won’t stick and you will be right back to where you started.
Get inside your body, don’t be afraid of your inner age and get on TRACK!
[Tweet “2 most important things about @InsideTracker and why it works for every BODY! #train4life”]
I paid for the Performance Package ($299) with a 20% discount and upgrade for the white glove service from Inside Tracker. All opinions are always my own.
How do you feel about Inside Tracker?
What do you think your inner age would be?
Will you try it? Why or why not?
I’ve been on the fence about using Inside Tracker for a few months now. I feel like I need it but I’m also not in serious training mode so I keep pushing it back. But it would be interesting to see what my inner age in and if I’m lacking anything. I know the blood draws from my doctor only cover so much.
I would wait until you’re either going to start serious training or are in it, otherwise there is not much for you to gain. But yes, infinitely better than your doctor office blood draw!
I love this idea. I’ve been an intuitive eater for decades now and would be curious to find out both my and her age 🙂 and if what I think I need intuitively for my body is really what I need!!!
Exactly!!! I was so happy to see that I am doing a lot RIGHT 🙂
I just got through with my InsideTracker and am currently writing a post as well. I needed the White Glove Service to be honest, I don’t deal well with getting my blood drawn in the first place. My results weren’t too crazy but I found the information to be helpful.
I definitely needed it too. I hate fasting and between my training/working schedule and the kids, it was NOT happening!! Looking forward to your post about it. I love that you did it too!!
I’m quite terrified of my inner age if you rounded up!! I would have guessed you at a solid 23!! I’d love to try this because as you said doctors aren’t doing right by us and a detailed work up like this is so so valuable.
LOL!! I think you would be surprised as you are quite healthy my dear…:-)
This is really interesting but the medical provider in me is shaking her head. Of course, anything that gets a person to eat better is ok by me. Pretty expensive way to prod you to the produce aisle, tho….
HAHAHA – yes, for sure! I would love to talk to your medical brain offline about this 🙂
I’m still an Inside Tracker skeptic. When I get an annual physical done, most of these labs are done by my medical team – for free under my insurance! I’ve also been very happy with the analysis I’ve received from my medical team including making changes to my diet. I’m not 100% convinced (nor can I find the science to support it) behind their tighter range of normal, and I think the inner age thing is kind of a joke. (Or maybe a scare tactic.) I’m also not an expert, but I think the literature is iffy on what “normal” vs “harmful” vs “would be beneficial if you improved” levels are. I find it odd that things such as thyroid levels aren’t included. I’m also a skeptic since it’s a snapshot – things such as inflammation can be so variable, and rarely do you treat based on one data point alone. (For example, providers don’t generally start blood pressure medication until multiple out of range readings because one obscure reading doesn’t necessarily mean you have hypertension.)
I also don’t think most people need to spend $$$ to hear they should eat better, but money can be a great motivator, so there’s that.
First of all, that is awesome you get all of these done for free. Holy wow. I originally agreed with you on the inner age thing but, I think when you exclusively talk about “athletes” there is some weight to it. As for thyroid levels and your questions on inflammation and treating one data point, I will have to defer to Inside Tracker. I will absolutely bring up these questions and see if they have any good answers.
Also, I don’t think “most people” should take this – only those who are seriously training for big events or endurance athletes who are constantly pushing their bodies and maybe not eating as they should, or feeling overly fatigued, sick, etc. This is one of the (my) problem with seeing a primary care doctor – they usually have no clue what someone who puts that kind of demand on their body needs.
I do love all your professional feedback and I will bring responses ASAP. Thanks Susan!
As Allie mentions, we certainly do love skeptics! To respond to your points:
Covered by insurance: 99% of our users are not as lucky as you, and our comprehensive $499 test is either not available through their physician (“you’re healthy, you don’t need to test this”) or it ends up costing 2-4x as much and people end up getting pretty surprised by the bill they receive in the mail.
We certainly don’t position InnerAge as a scare tactic, but more often than not it ends up being a wakeup call. The reality is that most Americans can stand to make a change in their health and performance, and most people simply do not know how good they can possibly feel, and seem to be ok with status quo. This is why we choose to work with athletes who NEED performance and know what it feels like to bonk at the end of a long run/ride and/or have a tangible goal they would like to achieve. We see optimal nutrition as bonus endurance, as an example.
To answer the question about a single data point: totally agree. One test is interesting, but to really understand the impact of the changes you’re making, multiple tests are necessary. One to screen, two to see a change, three to see a trend. The idea is that we’ll never be “perfect” or “optimal” (if you are, time to train harder 🙂 ) but over time we should get closer to where we want to be for the areas that we are working on.
A lot of people know they need to get better, but are unwilling to make a change. To see the data in front of you, inviting you to improve is what seems to be doing it for people. An NFL player on the Eagles spoke with Men’s Journal and said his coaches had been telling him these things for years (eat differently, sleep more, etc) but it took seeing it in front of his face for him to actually want to make a change. For most people, that seems to be worth the investment.
Please feel free to reach out directly if you have any other questions – you can reach me at jlevitt at insidetracker dot com.
And to answer the question about testing thyroid hormones – everything we test for can be modified and improved through nutrition and lifestyle. Thyroid falls more into the medical category in terms of potential interventions, so we’ve decided to omit it. There are plenty of blood testing companies that will test it (and a variety of other markers) for you, but not provide any sort of insight into what to do with the information.
That’s great that they go over the results with you and offer some substitutions, and even a shopping list!
Yes, it was extremely helpful! Thanks Sarah.
This is so fascinating!!! I’m always curious about what’s really going on inside, but will probably hold off on doing this sort of thing for a bit longer. However I think it’s awesome information. I love information!! And how cool that you only had to make 2 tiny tweets!!! That’s rad!!! I know already my diet could use help since my schedule is nuts. I definitely don’t eat when I should, I eat when I can. Not a good excuse. But it’s all baby steps. Sometimes I put coffee higher on the list of I have to choose between that it grab some toast. Anything I can eat with one hand is great.
This is awesome stuff, love it!! Makes me want to know more and defiantly get my act together. I’ll buy some peanut butter. Lol
This is so cool!!!! I’d be afraid to try it because the results would be that my body is made up of 25% chocolate, 25% coffee, and 50% red wine.
Haha – I’ve seen all of those as recommendations! They can certainly be healthy and help you improve, depending on your situation 🙂
LOL – you forgot the 50% of badass!!!!
This sounds very interesting and something I would be interested in checking out myself. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and results. I have an M.S. in Exercise Science and used to always tell my clients (personal training) that when it comes to “diet”, you have to find what works for YOU!! For that reason alone, I have never been a fan of fad diets (paleo, Whole 30, low carb-high fat, etc).
Thank you again for sharing!! Sounds like it was an interesting (and kind of awesome) experience.
That’s what it’s all about! We’re all about the “YOU” diet 🙂
Yes, exactly! That is great advice but, as I know all too well, people want what is easy or trending or both!! Thanks Aimee.
This is so interesting! I’ve torn on Inside Tracker. Part of me wants to try it and part of me is still slightly skeptical (that’s just how I am on products). I do like how it’s tailored towards athletes. A couple years ago when I was just getting into distance running, I had blood tests done since I had been turned away from giving blood due to low ferritin. My doctor’s blood tests showed I was low but at an acceptable level – and then cost $800 (thank goodness I was on my parents’ insurance that covered it and not my grad student insurance). I still wonder how my iron levels are! I also like how the recommendations were simple and nothing extreme!
Hi Laura! Feel free to shoot me a message – would love to hear more about the skepticism 🙂
You should definitely have this done Laura – especially with that history! I think you would find it fascinating and yes, there is nothing extreme, just a lot of common sense after looking at exactly what makes you, you 🙂
I should clarify the blood tests also looked at my hormones because of all the fun hormonal issues I have – otherwise $800 would be scammy! I need more coffee.
A little Bro-science for $499! I find it interesting reading all the comments elicited by this post that people are so quick to defer, embrace, and entrust that what is best for them is best left to a questionable commercial entity. Dr Oz is very convincing too!
I’m 100% with Susan-Nurse on the Run, especially the points of lack of science, scare tactics, and above all else that the inner age concept is a joke to begin with, it’s nothing but a marketing ploy; UGH, marketers!
America is fatter, unhealthier, more out of shape, more ignorant of nutrition (with aversion to food groups) than ever in its history, and with an inversely ballooning collection of snake oil salesmen, again Dr Oz being at the apex. HMMM, let’s meditate on that!
I find it laughable that according to IT and the ‘Iron group’ snap shot above, the ‘healthy sources of Iron’ are, in order: DarkChocolate, WheatGerm, Soybean, WingedBeans, Spinach. Where is Red Meat that blows all these away in Iron content, or is that just not politically correct and just not trendy enough?
I guess the Olympic athlete who was asked ‘what is you favorite post-race meal’ and responded with ‘Hamburger and fries’; just doesn’t know how to fuel himself.
Fortunately for Allie, she’s going to rip through this triathlon and make it look easy, in spite of Inside tracker!
PS. By the way, I could have told you you were Iron deficient, it’s obvious from the little you’ve disclosed of your diet here. It’s especially a problem for Women, especially at your level of expenditure, if you’re not eating ALL foods, from all food groups, all the time. Remember that the margaritas (alcohol) will have a say in all this too.
I wouldn’t have charged you anything!
Hi Claude! Thanks for the reply here. We would be more than happy to give you a demo with our science team so that you can make informed comments and see our backend expert system, complete with algorithms and thousands of curated peer reviewed scientific publications. We would then invite you to share your thoughts again after seeing the 50+ man years of science that has gone into the platform. As Allie mentions in the article, we certainly love skeptics and would welcome a conversation with you if you’re open to it.
I’m here to read about Allie, her evolution as an athlete, and how she manages it all as a very busy Mom. I enjoy our exchanges, giving her my impressions, which she asks for, and vice-versa.
I’m in no way interested in engaging with you or your 50+years of science backing your company knowing that science can be skewed, or findings omitted, to say whatever you want. I find it inappropriate you should use her platform for your financial gains.
I asked Jonathan to respond to comments here so he was invited and not “using my platform for financial gain.” I also willingly took the test and paid for it.
You know I love your comments and how you challenge me so definitely keep them coming!!
I appreciate you immensly and am elated at your response.
I was, however, referring to his attempt to draw me into debate, the object of which is ultimately to sell me (& Susan-NOTR), prompting my ‘financial gain’ comment! I understand the initial interest in IT was of your own volition. Knowing you requested he respond to comments does alleviate the issue.
I admire your journey and passion and am looking forward to reading all about you and it in the coming years:)
I marked this to come back to after I was back from traveling… so interesting! I love that you were able to whittle everything down to two simple suggestions, and that you considered the basics of how you feel before/during and after to tweak your behavior. Oatmeal and beans are two of the big reasons I could never be paleo!
So glad you took some time to read it as I was looking forward to your feedback! As you know, I love to eat and there are just some things I cannot live without. I’m loving my oatmeal in the morning and it helps me make it though my tough workouts without being starving by the end.
Very cool! Sounds like tons of great information. I refuse to eliminate things from my diet also, life is way to short..I am not about the deprivation! Sounds like you made some pretty easy tweaks. I’ll be interested to see how things change if you repeat down the line!
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