Guest blog by Jonathan Levitt (InsideTracker)
Managing What You Measure
“82% of the American population is compromising their longevity by not looking carefully/maintaining their glucose.” -Dr Gil Blander (From an interview here: http://buff.ly/1xfBlZx)
As Dr. Gil Blander explains, glucose is a marker that most Americans have elevated levels of, especially athletes who consume a lot of simple carbs (most of us).
My own glucose level was trending in the right direction, as it dropped 1 point between my first 2 tests. After my 3rd test, it was elevated along with cortisol (a birthday party on the Saturday night prior may have had a slight impact as well, leading to a lack of quality sleep). Either way, all 3 readings are still not optimized, so it’s something to work on.
In addition to following InsideTracker‘s guidance for glucose (more nuts, moderatealcohol, more chia and avocado, etc) I’m going to be having a serving or two of Generation UCAN’s Superstarch on a daily basis. UCAN was founded to help a child with a rare form of diabetes, and has evolved into a sports nutrition product that promotes endurance as well as regulating blood sugar / glucose levels. For more info on the science behind GenUCAN, click here.
I’ve used UCAN to fuel me through 3 marathons, as well as a half dozen or so long runs of 15+ miles. I’ll use it for any workout longer than 90 minutes. It doesn’t contain any complex ingredients, and there’s no rush or crash from it. I do recommend consuming it at least 30 minutes prior to exercise. It doesn’t have the greatest taste but it isn’t bad, and the science behind it is very solid, to say the least.
Going forward, I’ll use UCAN on a daily basis, and will retest with InsideTracker in 2-3 months to monitor the impact of doing so.
Optimized glucose means better energy levels, increased fat loss, improved blood pressure, improved overall health and longevity.
With improved sleep and a focus on recovery comes a spike in testosterone. Optimized testosterone (important for both men and women) means better ability to increase and retain muscle mass, as well as improving your ability to use oxygen during exercise. My coworker tells me I need to hit the gym more to make the most of a level like this.
I’ve been using ithlete, a Heart Rate Variability app to monitor recovery (or lack of). HRV is a measure of how recovered your body is, so I’ve been able to see the direct impact of sleep and quality nutrition on a daily basis. I recommend checking them out, especially if you aren’t working off of a personalized training program through a coach. It helps determine which days to go hard and when you should have an easier recovery day. My coach wrote up a review on using HRV here. The goal is to see an overall lower HRV during higher training weeks and after a hard race effort, and a higher average HRV during recovery weeks.
As with just about everyone, endurance athletes in particular, I need to continue to pay attention to cortisol, the stress hormone. This may have also been elevated slightly by a lack of quality sleep a couple of days prior to the test, but it’s still important to monitor especially since I’m 0/3 on well optimized readings. The screenshot below shows the importance of cortisol. High cortisol for athletes can lead to less than ideal training progress.
More training is not always better. This brings us to Free Testosterone:Cortisol ratio, developed by InsideTracker. “A high FT:C score shows your body is getting enough sleep and recovery time to increase muscle mass and strength.” <— The ultimate goal of training. This metric is a direct reflection on how successful your training is, or if you could stand to make some changes (more or less volume/intensity) for improved results.InnerAge:
InnerAge is a direct reflection of lifestyle. It’s a metric we’ve developed based on the age of your body compared to your actual age. It’s calculated by using the 5 biomarkers that have the biggest impact on aging and longevity. These biomarkers reflect decisions you make every day related to nutrition, sleep, recovery and alcohol consumption. My InnerAge improved slightly, though the increased glucose had a very negative impact.
The feedback I get most often from our users after learning their InnerAge is that it is “incredibly eye opening.” Sometimes it pisses people off and they get angry enough (“I’m not ### age!!!”) to take action to change it the next time around. That’s what we love to see. My coworker just blogged about how she used to think she was doing everything perfectly – eating well, training well, sleeping enough, etc. The data showed that she wasn’t. She was overstressed, not sleeping enough and had a few nutrition tweaks to make to get better. That’s the beauty of it. There’s no arguing with data; you’re either optimized, or you’re not. If you’re not, there are very specific actions you can take to improve, which is the goal of InsideTracker… To help you make more informed and efficient decisions.
If anyone reading this is curious about where they stand and monitoring your own potential for improvement, please feel free to reach out with any questions on InsideTracker or ithlete. Knowledge is power, and #BloodDontLie.