Some Thoughts on Testing as an Athlete… (Not the WADA Kind)

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I recently did a Dutch test to check on my hormone levels. Nothing major going on, but I wanted to check in, and today I got the email that the results were back. I have the consult Wednesday, but I wanted to write this now, before I chat with my ultra-rad naturopath. I originally wanted to get the panel done first and foremost to see a snapshot of my hormone health at this age so going forward, if something is really feeling off, I know what my baseline right now is. And second, as an athlete who’s gone in and out of over-training in the last decade, and has swung pretty wide on the crazy diet spectrum in the past, I wanted to know if I was still impacted by those times in my life.

But thinking about it, I’m not sure what kind of news I’m looking for.

On one hand, who wants to hear they have any problems or imbalances? But on the other, aren’t we all always looking for a) a reason things (ahem, training, moods) aren’t perfect and b) something definite to fix?

As I talked this over out loud in the van, Peter made a great point: no matter what the results of the test, the primary ‘cures’ for hormone imbalance are, at their roots, pretty basic.

  • reduce stress
  • exercise (but not too much)
  • eat clean
  • cut down on sugar and caffeine
  • sleep

So, you know, stuff that you should do anyway if you want to be healthy. Really, what can a test tell me that I don’t already know to do—especially when I’m pretty sure if anything is out of whack, it’s not a major problem? (Knock on wood.)

I’ll tell you what it tells me: if there is something wrong, it means that those lifestyle changes I just listed are more mandatory. There’s now a measurable thing that I can check on. And let’s be honest: we love things we can quantify. I can tell if I’m ‘getting better.’

I think a lot of people share this sentiment: we want something to blame for when we’re not feeling great, or as peppy or energized while training. We also want to know that there’s something we can improve, something tangible, more than just ‘getting in shape.’ We love a good makeover montage.

My fingers are crossed that I don’t get on Skype with Lia and get any bad news, and I’ll certainly report back with the broad strokes of the test findings (and if I think it’s a worthwhile test for people to utilize). And if there are any lifestyle changes I’ll be making to address any issues, I’ll certainly share on here!

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