Sorry men, this post is more beneficial for women. While there is some useful information for men, please feel free to skim and share with the female athletes in your life.
As an active woman, it is important to understand how your cycle can both positively and negatively impact your training and race performance. In April of 2018, I decided to use my flexible benefits money and have Inside Tracker analyze my blood and help me optimize my health and performance.
The following were areas of concern that needed to be addressed:
- Cortisol level was in the “High At Risk” category
- Inflammation Group was in the “High At Risk” category
- hsCRP Inflammation indicator was in the “High At Risk” category
- Testosterone Group was in the “Low At Risk” category
Women are NOT small men! We have completely different physiologies. We have a cycle. We were engineered to store fat and birth children. Our hormones impact our mood, training, and life, but are not consistent from day to day. Stacy Sims has done a lot of research on active women and how their cycle impacts health, training, and recovery. I have followed her work for a couple of years now. Ladies, if you haven’t read Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life, you DEFINITELY should!! It is FULL of useful information for women in all stages of your monthly cycle and life. The knowledge within it is so empowering!! After getting my test results back from Inside Tracker in April and reading up on Stacy’s research and advice, I knew I wanted to go off of birth control. Birth control causes high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body, which negatively impacts your health, training, and recovery. The only reason I was on it was to ensure regularity with my cycle because of all of the training I do. So why wait?! Well, I didn’t want to change things up right before racing season last year. With the Kansas City Triathlon in May, a 70.3 in June, Ironman Ohio 70.3 in July, and Ironman Louisville in October, I wanted to wait until after my race in October before making the change.
Two weeks after going off of birth control, I had my blood tested again.
These are the results:
- Cortisol level is in the “OPTIMIZED” range
- Inflammation Group is in the “Needs Work” category
- hsCRP Inflammation indicator was in the “Needs Work” category
- Testosterone Group is in the “Needs Work” category
While I still have areas to improve upon, these are HUGE improvements and I am looking forward to my next test at the end of April to see if further change has occurred. I am no longer in the “At Risk” category for any of the areas tested. Bonus…I haven’t been sick at all since going off of birth control. Not even a hint of the common cold. I am so grateful that I took my health into my own hands, decided to get my blood tested, and made these changes to improve my training, recovery, and overall health.
Knowledge is power! How does knowledge empower you?!
***If you are interested in getting your blood tested with Inside Tracker, save 15% off any test by using this link: