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The Data Junkie & Blood Work

By Sean | In Events and Announcements, Nutrition | on February 16, 2011

Today’s Post was written by Matt W. a.k.a “Date Night”

I like data.  For instance, in college I kept a very detailed journal of the hundreds of golf rounds I played — tracking everything from the weather to which side of the hole I missed putts.

When I began following the Crossfit main site, I first noticed that some of the WODs had girl names and many were timed with prescribed weights.  In my previous exercise pursuits, I had kept basic workout journals (which mostly ended up being mental) of the weights used for bench press and “quarter” squats, but nothing I performed was intense or interesting enough to actually time and name.  I found I was never fully invested in tracking progress and results, which runs counter to my data junkie nature.  With Crossfit, the names, times, weights, distances, rounds etc. made it interesting to track my results and measure my progress. Over a 12 month period I filled many rows and columns in an excel spreadsheet – the number cruncher was happy!

Next came my wedding, starting a business and the birth of my first child.  The only things being filled were my fat stores and the diaper bin.  I knew I would find Crossfit again, but I did not know when.  As fate would have it, my 16-plus month hiatus from Crossfit ended on the first date night with my wife after she finished her medical residency, which turned out to be a double-date with Cindy at CFI.  Not only was my ego bruised because my wife completed more rounds, but my body was blasted.  I could not do more than 2 pushups at a time for at least 6 weeks afterwards.  This led me to discussions with Sean about recovery (or lack thereof), which revolved around rest, stretching and diet.  Diet led to Paleo, which led to discussions with Marcus, who led me to Robb Wolf’s book, “The Paleo Solution”.

In the book, Robb discusses various ways of tracking progress including photos, measuring tape, and blood work.  Adding photos and measurements to times and weights is a simple and great way to monitor results.  Who hasn’t seen before and after photos?  But do you have a set of your own?  Blood work, however, is not as easy a proposition for most people and with high deductible or no insurance it could be a very costly one

To make the case for blood work, Robb Wolf suggests how it can be helpful: (i) as a baseline for anyone interested in how the body is “running” (especially those who are geeked-out), (ii) to help bring a skeptical doctor on board to the Paleo way, and (iii) for those who think meat and fat is harmful.  Personally, I find my interest revolves around (i) and (iii).

The basic tests suggested by Robb, include Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides (Lipid Panel) and Glucose (blood sugar).  Suggested add-ons include LDL particle size (VAP-Cholesterol), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and C-reactive protein.  In his book, Robb Wolf does a good job of explaining all of these tests in laymen terms.

Coincidentally, Accesa Health, the new business that contributed to my Crossfit hiatus, had just started an offering called Accesa Labs.  Instead of having to go to a doctor, pay for the visit, convince the doctor which tests you want run and why, and then go through the guessing game of cost and reimbursement with the insurance company, anyone (with or without insurance) can log onto www.accesalabs.com, order the tests they want, pay a flat fee, go to any LabCorp location nationwide to get their blood drawn, and get their results via email generally within 2-3 days (the VAP Cholesterol takes about 5 days).

When I was hemming and hawing about if and when to test my blood, I came across a CF journal article with Coach Glassman that got me thinking, “DO IT NOW” and get the data.

After taking the plunge, I am excited to see how my diet and exercise impact a part of my body that cannot be photographed, timed or measured with the naked eye.  I plan on tracking my progress every 3-4 months for the first year and then see where we go from there.  At the very least, I have a baseline against which to measure myself going forward.  The data junkie is happy again!


WOD 02.16.11

Front Squat 5×3 (last set AMRAP)
Deadlift 1×5, 1xAMRAP @ 65-75%

14 Comments to "The Data Junkie & Blood Work"

  • Anna says:

    February 16, 2011 at 8:47 AM -

    Great post Date Night, can’t wait to see the results!

    Big Show tonight! Crossfit Intrepid, 7pm Jacob Delgado will be demonstrating his love for Tony Parker and the Spurs by performing Fran in jersey! Make sure to bring your cameras!!! :)

  • Michael H says:

    February 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM -

    Matt, great post! you are 100% right. My world revolves around data everyday at work, find those data points to measure and create the metrics to monitor those results, identify those peaks and valleys and figure out your next step to meet your goal.

    The same principle applies to xfit and life. Set a baseline and benchmark!

    There’s no way work is keeping me from this today! I hope the Lakers get word of this, so they can step it up and turn the tables on Anna 😛

  • Alia says:

    February 16, 2011 at 9:38 AM -

    Nice post DN!

    Um . . and go Niners?

  • becky says:

    February 16, 2011 at 9:52 AM -

    Awesome post MATT!
    touched upon many things I think about. thanks.

  • ruth says:

    February 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM -

    Great post Matt!

    @Anna, I topped my salad today with Fancy Sauce.. LOVED it!

  • melissa says:

    February 16, 2011 at 10:38 AM -

    what are the proportions for the fancy sauce, anna? i wanna try it but i DON’T wanna f it up. thanks in advance, teeny tiny. :)

  • Anna says:

    February 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM -

    Glad you liked it!

    @Melissa- I don’t measure a thing, so this may be way off…but I’d say 2 tbsp yogurt to 1 tbsp balsamic. Is that about what you did Mom?

    1. ruth says:

      February 16, 2011 at 11:48 AM -

      Sounds right. I might have added more bv. Did it anna style and eyeballed it too!

  • Xuan says:

    February 16, 2011 at 10:57 AM -

    Great post Matt!!

    Dear Jake,
    Please crush Fran tonight so you can show Anna the power of Laker fans even when they are being weighed down by a stinky Spurs jersey.

    @Alia…Hell Yeah Go Niners!!!!

  • Date Nite says:

    February 16, 2011 at 11:17 AM -

    Thanks for being supportive. For anyone interested, the following link has my first set of results. The password is the answer to the question: “Who said I love you first? sean or ruth?” For those not in attendance on sat, I will give you a hint: son of Zeus (all lower case).

    http://accesaverify.com/labs/120810MW2FResults.pdf

    All of the tests recommended by Robb Wolf are quite common and most doctors will know what to order. If you are interested and don’t have a doctor, accesalabs.com can offer a 10% Crossfit F&F discount.

  • melissa says:

    February 16, 2011 at 12:13 PM -

    @ruth – BUTTHOLES.

  • Stephanie says:

    February 16, 2011 at 12:33 PM -

    Awesome post Date Night!

    For all the Intrepids that are heading to Mammoth on March 18-20 I need to get you input.
    It has been a challenge to find a large place 15 people. It will be $69/night per person based on 15 people. The catch is it only has enough beds for 11 people. So, 4 people would need to bring sleeping bags or an air mattress. If I can get 4 volunteers then I will book this sweet house! :)
    http://www.1888mammoth.com/PropertyDetails.aspx?propertyID=7041
    Feedback please . . .

  • Jason T says:

    February 16, 2011 at 1:05 PM -

    Matt, awesome post. I visited the website and am shocked at how cheap the prices are. I’m pretty sure the basic lipid panel I had done about 12 months ago cost about 4x Accesa’s prices.

  • Nick says:

    February 16, 2011 at 9:54 PM -

    Since Holley and I are the young-ins, we will take the air mattress and leave the beds to our elders.

    Thanks for the info Matt, looking forward to FINALLY running these tests.

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