The world of sports performance is becoming increasingly scientific. Wearable technology, sleep tracking, and cutting-edge recovery techniques have made training programs more data-driven than ever. And while it's easy to blindly apply these new resources to the masses, a marker of a great strength and conditioning coach is the ability to personalize and individualize their approach to each of their athletes. Of course, doing so can be challenging – it's hard to know exactly what each athlete needs. But with the help of blood biomarker tracking and personalized recommendations, these answers can be reached more easily than ever.
Personalized nutrition for optimized performance
As a strength and conditioning coach, you know that the physical training program you prescribe is only one piece of building better athletes. A detailed nutrition plan, for example, is just as important as exercises and rep schemes. But nowadays, there's an overwhelming amount of information everywhere you look, and it can be hard to decipher what's best for athletes of varying calibers. Well, just as every athlete requires personalized training to maximize their potential, so goes for their nutrition.
With InsideTracker, you and your athlete will receive personalized feedback on nutrition, how it's currently affecting his or her performance, and actionable guidance for improvements. It might not be obvious that biomarkers like blood glucose, LDL cholesterol or triglycerides would be vital to increased strength and performance. But the truth is, suboptimal levels of these biomarkers can limit what the body can do in general, including physical output.
How to know which supplements your athletes need
Picture the food pyramid, with the most abundant foods at the base and the limited ones at the top. Well, supplementation sits atop of the sports nutrition pyramid – it should be done in moderation and with intention. But often times, people (including strength coaches!) are quick to take or recommend supplements, even without proof of benefit or necessity.
But think about a car – we rely on the lights on our dashboard to tell us what needs attention or tuning-up. How could we possibly know what needed to be fixed if the lights didn't work? There would be a whole lot of guess work. The same logic applies to your body! It's difficult to know which areas of our diet are lacking without the appropriate data.
Tracking biomarkers like vitamin D, magnesium, and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium allows you to see exactly what your athlete is deficient in. Then, using these values, InsideTracker can recommend the right supplement regimen and dosage to get their body back on track.
Push your athletes to the limit – but not past it
One of the most valuable applications of InsideTracker is the prevention of overtraining. There's a fine line between pushing your athlete to get the most out of a workout and overworking them, both short-term and long-term. By looking at key biomarkers in the blood, you can know where that threshold lies, and what output you should expect from your athletes.
For example, we know that 12-48 hours after intense training sessions, elevated levels of creatine kinase (CK) and liver enzymes ALT and AST will be detected in the blood. These are often critical markers of muscle damage and signal that the body needs to recover. Now, these are acute markers, as they spike rather quickly after training. Assessing markers like testosterone, free testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), on the other hand, will provide a longer-term look into how an athlete is handling a training cycle. If the intensity is too high, you could expect to see elevated levels of SHBG – which almost always coincide with below-optimal levels of free testosterone.
Helping athletes stay mentally tough all season long
As a strength and conditioning coach, you know that a tough mid-season competition or even that one off-season training session can take not only a physical toll on your players, but also a mental one. More often than not, the body can take push further than the mind can, so preventing mental burnout is incredibly important.
You can analyze emotional stress in your athlete by tracking their cortisol levels. This is especially important in conjunction with testosterone levels – high cortisol combined with low T is the trademark signal for overtraining and a lack of adequate recovery. InsideTracker provides a great tool to track and prevent this: the testosterone to cortisol ratio. This provides a single, easy-to-interpret value that compares an athlete's testosterone and cortisol levels – the perfect way to keep track of overtraining and recovery.
So if you want to gain some “inside” knowledge to set your athletes up for success, InsideTracker needs to be in your tool box. Whether it’s at the end of a season or before spring training, our personalized recommendations will have your athletes optimized both on and off the field, all season long.