Heart Rate Variability: Advice from Spartan Director of Sport, Joe DI

By Joe DI Sep 29, 2016

Your heart is at the heart of your health. So today, on World Heart Day, we asked our friend, and Director of Sport at Spartan Race, Joe DiStefano, better known as "Joe DI," to share his take on Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is rapidly gaining popularity.

In his fourth installlation as a guest writer on our blog, Joe breaks down what HRV is, and shares how he uses it to deal with his hectic travel schedule to perform “damage control” on the road, and how he monitors his biomarkers...

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I Went to Burning Man and Aged 21 Years

By Erin Sharoni Sep 21, 2016

 

That’s not clickbait. It’s fact. So far as InsideTracker’s InnerAge algorithm is concerned, five days of revelry in the inhospitable Black Rock Desert has aged my body by 21 years. I tested my blood the day before I departed for Burning Man (an annual week-long gathering celebrating music, art and individuality), and again six days after my return...

My InnerAge went from an impressive 26 years young to a horrifying 47 years old. And as we like to say around here, “Blood don’t lie!”

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Can Mindfulness Help Weight Loss?

By Catherine Ward Sep 14, 2016

No one can deny that the feeling of fall can’t be beat. With temperatures finally going down and the prospect of apple picking right around the corner, it’s hard not to love the season. For some, though, the winding down of summer can also be a stressful time. Whether it be going back to school, the end of vacation, or changes at work as everyone returns from break and buckles down, fall introduces disruptions for most people that can throw off even the most resolute nutrition and wellness routines, and trigger weight gain.

A great way to decrease stress and control your weight and eating during times of transition is through mindful meditation. Although we at InsideTracker have found the research on weight loss to be too limited to make mindful meditation an official recommendation, we believe that it has great potential to help, and we are keeping a close eye on this exciting, developing field.

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The CBC: What It Is and Why You Need It

By Bartek Nogal Sep 08, 2016

Here at InsideTracker, we love making our products even better than they already are. That's why we're excited to announce the addition of the CBC panel to our Ultimate and DIY panels. The complete blood count, or CBC, is one of the most common doctor-ordered blood panels in the US. While your doctor is most likely to send you to the lab for a CBC test when they suspect you may be anemic, have an infection, or a clotting problem1, this test actually measures a set of blood biomarkers that can reveal a lot about your overall health and performance.

  1. The CBC provides insight into how your lifestyle, nutrition, and training affect your body
  2. It shows how efficiently oxygen is carried throughout your body
  3. It reveals how healthy your oxygen-carrying blood cells are
  4. It exposes chronic inflammation issues
  5. It explains why you may have low iron levels
  6. It alerts you to whether you have a higher risk for poor cardiovascular health
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Ironman Kevin Portmann Shares His Success Story

By Ross Yellin Aug 31, 2016

Nine hours, twenty-eight minutes, and twenty-nine seconds. When is the last time you did anything for that long? No, really. Have you even slept that long lately? Well, that's how long it took InsideTracker athlete, Kevin Portmann, to cross the finish line of Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

By crossing the finish line in personal record time and nearly 10 minutes faster than the runner up, he not only punched his ticket the Ironman World Championship in Kailua Kona, he also grabbed his Pro Card - a feat by any measure.

After this triumphant win, our colleague, Mariah Bridges, caught up with Kevin to talk about his training, nutrition, and the role InsideTracker plays in all of it. View the video below, or read the Q&A instead!

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Breathing Basics: Advice from Spartan Race Director of Sport, Joe DI

By Joe DI Aug 24, 2016

Just breathe. Chances are, you've heard that advice before. Chances also are, you're not doing it correctly. Whether you're involved in competitive sports and looking to maximize your performance, or just looking to feel better and more focused throughout your workday, breathing properly can help.

Joe DI, Director of Sport at Spartan Race, returns as our guest blogger for the third installment in a series of posts featuring his training expertise. This time, Joe discusses why breathing has become a focus of the performance world, why he ensures his athletes and coaches practice it, and how he integrates proper approaches to breathing into their routines in a practical way. In fact, studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing can help workplace stress by reducing cortisol levels1

Challenge yourself to follow Joe's guidance and focus on breathing the right way to improve your life, both on the field and off...

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Stressed out? Cortisol and Creatine Kinase Play Big Roles

By Laura Ligos, RD Aug 17, 2016


Being stressed out is a 21st century trend. If you're not stressed, you must be doing something wrong, right? If you're sleep-deprived, over-trained, and constantly busy, then you are deemed “super(wo)man.” Right? Well, that's wrong. When did this become the norm, and why do we think we can keep charging full speed ahead?

While we may tell ourselves that more is better, it is important to check in and see if our bodies can tolerate the way we are living. Ever been tired, but once you hit the bed you're suddenly wired? What about having a full night’s rest and waking up exhausted? This is not normal, despite the fact that many people experience such feelings. And we shouldn't trudge through life this way. Our stress hormone, cortisol, is a key component in these patterns, and it's important to understand what we are looking for when it comes to stress.

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Are You Fit Enough For Contact Sports? Rugby's All The Rage.

By Ross Yellin Aug 11, 2016

Did you know that until their loss against Fiji yesterday, Team USA was the defending Olympic Rugby Champion? That’s right, back in 1924—the last time rugby was played in the Olympics—Team USA took home the Gold. And though they weren't able to defend their title, they played hard hitting rugby, and were just narrowly edged out by the (best in the world) competition.

As a long-time rugby player, I’ve received my fair share of questions: “people play rugby in the US? There’s more than just one team? How did you get into it in the first place?” And perhaps most commonly, some iteration of: “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to get hurt?!”

The short answer to the common question: no. I’m not afraid of getting hurt, I’m afraid that if I get hurt, I may not be able to continue playing the sport I love so much. But, no matter your sport, you can relate to rugby. From sprints to tackles, and from kicks to throws, if you play a field sport, or are interested in increasing your endurance, train like a rugby player and you'll be built to impress in no time. Here, I'll not only provide a few tips on recovery and how to be rugby-ready for your upcoming season, I'll also give you a quick glimpse into the history of the sport, and a bit of “Rugby 101" so that you can join the conversation.

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Tennis Burnout? Here's How To Fix It

By Katie Mark Aug 03, 2016

The professional tennis season is 11 months long, and physical demand forces players to push their body to the limit for an entire year. Consequently, headlines announcing players pulling out of tournaments often cite fatigue as the culprit. Some players have opted to withdraw from tournaments leading up to the Rio Olympic games on August 6th in order to give their bodies some much needed rest. However, those participating in the Olympics may then experience fatigue leading into the U.S. Open, which follows just a few weeks after.

Pro tennis players' fatigue, for the most part, results from the season’s demands of training, matches, and traveling – with minimal recovery time. But, you don't have to be a pro to feel the effects of fatigue in sport; some InsideTracker users lament feeling a "lack of energy" during their own tennis matches.

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Mobility Basics: Advice from Spartan Director of Sport, Joe DI

By Joe DI Jul 27, 2016

With the Olympics drawing near and summer athletics in full swing, we're excited to welcome back a guest blogger who keeps his finger on the pulse of peak performance, Joe DiStefano, better known as “Joe DI.” Not only is he the Director of Sport at Spartan Race, he's also a longtime friend and user of InsideTracker. Last we heard from him, he shared his personal “unplugged” approach to sleeping soundly through the night, and provided the methodology for how you can do it too. In this edition, he focuses on a problem faced by many athletes, mobility.

To kick things off, Carl Valle, InsideTracker's Director of Innovation and USATF II Coach, asked Joe why he focused so heavily on the joint mobility of the foot at the Spartan Combine, and how self-care can reduce injury and keep athletes in tune with their bodies. Finally, he asked Joe to share some low-technology solutions to help address these issues for Olympians and weekend (Spartan) warriors alike.

By following his four simple tips, whether there’s a medal on the line or not, you’ll be pushing past your personal records and going for gold. Here’s what he had to say…

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