In May 2016, my wife Kim (an ICU nurse) convinced me to get bloodwork done. I was 26-years-old and it seemed like the adult thing to do, so I booked an appointment at the Salt Lake InstaCare and went in.
When I got my results back, I was surprised to find that my cholesterol was high. I seem to remember the doctor saying, “you’re too young to have this problem” or something along those lines. He told me to go on statins.
To me, the thought of bowing to Big Pharma and taking a pill to fix the problem seemed like a cop-out. Couldn’t I make a lifestyle change in order to get this thing under control?
Queue epic training montage! I bought a Withings smart scale and blood pressure cuff. I took Yoga with Adriene’s 30-day challenge on YouTube. I cut my proportions and dropped 10 lbs. On days that I couldn’t get out for a hike, I hit the elliptical at the gym.
At some point, I plateaued. My stubborn body wouldn’t shed more fat! It was time to level up. I went on a keto diet and started Stronglifts 5×5. Thankfully, I shed another 15 lbs and felt the best I had since high school.
When my daughter Maia was born, I had bloodwork done again. By this point, I was trail-running and doing calisthenics to stay in shape. This time, my cholesterol came back normal. Hooray, my hard work had paid off!
Our Experience with InsideTracker
Fast forward to November 2020… InsideTracker offered to give Kim and I the chance to try their product/service. They set us up with their top-tier plan, sent us a DNA kit, and got us in touch with their mobile blood draw partner, ExamOne.
I’ll be blunt, ExamOne completely dropped the ball. InsideTracker needs to find a new partner. We played phone tag for a few weeks and when I finally got a hold of them, the lady I talked to was incredulous when I explained that we lived in an RV.
I was simply trying to figure out how to get someone out to our campground to draw blood. She kept suggesting that I needed to talk to someone else about it and rudely hung up on me. I called back and was put on hold for 20 minutes. I gave up for the day, then called back 4-5 times in subsequent days. They never answered.
When I explained what happened to InsideTracker, their director of marketing set us up with a local lab where we ultimately had our blood drawn successfully.
How InsideTracker Works
It took about three weeks for our DNA + blood analysis to be ready. The real value of InsideTracker is the powerful software tool(s) it gives you to analyze your data and make informed decisions about your health.
When you log in, you can see your bloodwork broken down by biomarker (e.g. lipid group, vitamin D, sugar group, liver enzymes group, testosterone group, platelet group, etc.) Results are broken down into three categories: At Risk, Needs Improvement, and Optimized.
Your InnerAge seems to be calculated based on where you fall within these categories. I was happy to see mine at 26.5, even though my actual age was 31.2. To be honest, this feature seems kinda gimmicky but maybe you can use it to motivate yourself.
Under the bloodwork tab, I noticed the option to add test results. I dug up the PDFs from my previous bloodwork labs and uploaded them. Within a few days, InsideTracker’s automated system had parsed the data and uploaded it to my profile.
This is huge for me, because it means I can continue to get bloodwork done on the road at various labs and track my results over time.
The great thing about seeing and tracking your data within InsideTracker is it gives you actionable feedback on how to improve next to each of your biomarkers.
For instance, my lipids are high again so InsideTracker recommends healthy foods that are known to reduce high LDL and increase low HDL. It also suggests blog posts and videos that I can use to educate myself on the subject.
InsideTracker even has recipes for snacks and meals that incorporate the nutrition you need to get healthier. One day, I made the Chia Seed Pudding and Almond Bran Bar. Not bad at all!
The DNA component of InsideTracker brings context to your blood test results by showing how they connect to your genetics. As a low-key data nerd, I find this information to be fascinating.
As an active, physically fit person I’m often frustrated by the fact that I struggle with high cholesterol. It’s oddly reassuring to know that I’m genetically predisposed to this condition. I will have to work harder than average people do to keep this in check.
I was also surprised to find that I had low Vitamin D levels. I spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunshine, how could this be possible? Again, my DNA test shows that I have an elevated genetic risk for lower levels. Ever since I found out, I’ve been taking a Vitamin D supplement daily.
Our Next Steps
Going forward, I plan to retest my blood at a lab and upload it to InsideTracker with the goal of having zero biomarkers in the At Risk category.
Since my last blood test, Kim and I have taken up rock climbing! It’s been the funnest, most challenging fitness activity I’ve ever tried.
We also got Whoop bands and have been using them to not only train harder but smarter by measuring sleep and evaluating recovery to inform how we build strain.
I could be better about following InsideTracker’s food recommendations, but I have been intermittent fasting… intermittently, haha. There’s always room for improvement, right?
Overall, I’m glad I discovered InsideTracker, I’ll continue using it, and I think it’s worth the money if you’re serious about getting healthier.