I Was Skeptical of Biomarker Testing… But Now I’m So Glad I Tried It.
Look, it’s safe to say I drank the kool-aid when it comes to CrossFit culture. Read: I’m a gear junkie. I’ll never be an elite athlete, but that doesn’t stop me from owning basically every training tool ever developed and tracking all my health data like I’m gearing up for Happy Star at the Ranch this weekend. Seriously — I won’t squat without my belt, I can’t snatch without my wrist wraps, and I track my sleep, my cycles, my macros, basically anything I can. But when I first heard about InsideTracker’s biomarker testing…. I just wasn’t sold. A blood test? Isn’t that kind of extreme?
Here’s the scoop: InsideTracker is a company founded by a group of experts in aging, genetics, and biometric data. Basically — they’re wicked smart scientists who understand a lot more about what the body should be doing than most of us. And they developed a series of different tests to bring that data to average athletes like myself.
- The Ultimate Plan is the one I opted for. It’s a blood test that provides a report on 43 different biomarkers in your body. Everything from the typical readings your doc takes (like cholesterol) to some pretty athlete-specific markers like cortisol and inflammation.
So, these people are MORE than qualified to help me analyze my health. I felt like I was in good hands… but if I can be completely honest I still felt kind of weird. A blood test just sounds… I don’t know… extreme. I hate needles and the last thing I want to do in this wacky world of COVID is walk into a medical building. Plus, was I signing up for a bunch of super-scienc-y results that I wouldn’t be able to read or understand?
Just one way to find out, I guess.
I ordered a test and built a profile online. A quick survey of my current health and diet habits (and realizing I should most definitely be eating fish 1-3 times per week, ugh) led into some goal-setting questions and then my profile was complete. I picked overall health as my goal – but there were lots of others from weight-loss to muscle gain, and everything in between.
Once my profile was complete InsideTracker ordered me a lab slip and I was off to testing.
- Tests are available at lab locations across the country. I could have made an appointment, but I decided to just walk in.
- There was no wait and the intake process was super fast.
- Everyone wore masks and I had to as well. I felt safe and comfortable (much to my surprise) and everything was clean top-to-bottom. Even the pen I used to sign off on my paperwork came from a “disinfected” pile and I dropped it in the “pens to clean” pile when I was done.
- I HATE NEEDLES but the tech was sweet, funny, and she moved FAST. The blood draw itself only took about 5 minutes.
- From walking in to walking back into my car took less than 20 minutes.
Then, the results came in. After a couple of days I received an email saying my biomarker results were ready. It was late on a saturday night, and I had the courage of a couple White Claws in me, so I opened it up, ready to revel in my perfect results.
I’m not sure what I was expecting… but given that I’m 32, I’ve never had any major health issues, I eat relatively clean (80/20 right??) and workout 5-ish days a week… I just thought I’d have great markers across the board. And the reality was… I didn’t. There wasn’t anything to freak out about necessarily, but I was concerned that some of my readings looked less like a young (-ish) healthy athlete had her blood drawn, and more like what I’d expect to see on my dad’s charts.
I barely had enough time to analyze the results before I got another notification from InsideTracker that I could meet with a member of their staff to review my data. YES. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized:
- My results were super clear and easy to read. No complex medical data.
- InsideTracker’s app made it easy to sort through all the information.
- I wasn’t alone and I didn’t need to worry about what all of this meant about my overall health. Someone was going to walk me through it, explain what it all meant, and help me develop an action plan.
Without getting too deep into my own personal medical data – I can say this. The consult WAS MY FAVORITE PART OF ALL OF THIS. You know how sometimes you just want to ask your doctor ALL THE QUESTIONS but he/she is a super busy medical professional and just can’t really give you that kind of time/attention. Yeah, this made up for ALL of that. I learned so much from my zoom consult. I didn’t feel stupid asking a million questions about my biomarkers and what they meant. I could get really personal, and vulnerable, and I got unbiased, non-judgemental answers to all my questions. Plus, a personalized plan on how to adjust some of my lifestyle habits to move my markers in the right direction.
Some of the most interesting info came from looking at the biomarkers that have specific correlation to how we workout in CrossFit gyms every day. Readings that looked irregular on paper — may have been explained by looking at how intensely I had been working out in the days prior to taking my test, or what my recovery habits looked like. I felt like the InsideTracker team had so much knowledge not only on my body and my readings, but on athletic performance overall. So my readings could be looked at in that specific context — which doesn’t always happen in a traditional medical setting.
Okay, so now I have a plan. I’m aware of what’s happening in my body, and I’ve got some notes for the next time I see my PCP. I feel empowered with this data. Like I have a real handle on how to manage my health and I’m not just guessing anymore. Seeing how simple and effective it all was is making me feel silly for questioning this kind of testing to begin with. Just add biomarker testing to the list of CrossFit gear I’m totally addicted to these days I guess.
If you’re interested in learning more or ordering a test for yourself checkout insidetracker.com.
And right now, the Morning Chalk Up and InsideTracker are partnering to give away an Ultimate biomarker test plus InnerAge2.0 and their DNA Kit- ($950 value) designed to provide the most comprehensive snapshot of your wellness.
To enter, just follow both accounts on instagram and click here to enter your email address.