Customer Story

This working mom was exhausted and sick of not seeing the results of her workouts.


When Lauren came to Ixcela, she was simply exhausted. This working mom was looking to maximize her training efforts, increase her energy, improve her mental clarity—and maybe even lose a little weight. She had started to notice that she wasn’t recovering from exercise as well as she used to, and she was concerned that her current exercise and diet plans were no longer working for her body.

Lauren was constantly juggling her work schedule and her kids’ schedules while doing everything in her power to find time for herself. She ate a well-balanced diet that included a variety of nutrient-dense vegetables and organic proteins, she had invested in a Peloton bike and weights for home workouts, and she was a regular at a cutting-edge health clinic where she used an infrared sauna for recovery and a TurboSonic machine to improve her balance and dexterity.

Lauren understood how important regular exercise was for both her mental and physical health, and she explained that she always felt better after exercising. She would typically go to bed around 10:40 p.m. and set her alarm for 5:45 a.m. so she could do a quick workout before getting her kids ready to catch the school bus. When she was feeling motivated in the morning, no matter how tired she was, she would force herself out of bed to get in a high-intensity workout before quickly moving on to her jam-packed day of work and mom duties. But some mornings, she would hit snooze a few times, canceling her morning workouts to get a few extra minutes of sleep.

Lauren knew that consistency was important for reaching her fitness goals, but she couldn’t seem to find an effective exercise program that worked well with her schedule. She wanted to understand why she was lacking the energy to follow a consistent plan, if an imbalance in her gut was to blame, or if she was missing important nutrients in her diet.


Lauren’s Ixcela results showed that the markers reflecting the population and diversity of her gut microbiome were within the optimal levels. The markers reflecting how well the nutrients in her diet were fulfilling her body’s needs were also within optimal levels. Her Ixcela Expert explained that this was related to her diet, which was fiber-rich and included a variety of high-quality proteins. Lauren was excited to hear this. It was the reassurance she needed after working so hard to maintain a clean diet.

However, her test showed that xanthine, a stress marker metabolite, was above optimal levels. This led her Ixcela Expert to ask more questions about the intensity of exercise she was doing, the quality and quantity of sleep she was getting, and her pre-bedtime routine. Lauren explained that she would always set an early morning alarm, regardless of what time she went to bed. Because her window to exercise was short, she did a high-intensity workout that caused her to break a sweat. She explained that getting in a good sweat made her feel like she had accomplished a good workout.

Lauren’s bedtime routine often included finishing work from the day, scrolling through her phone, or watching TV with her family. She knew that screen time before bed could affect her sleep, but it was what she felt she had the capacity to do after a hectic day.

Her Ixcela Expert explained that above-optimal xanthine reflected that her body was under stress and increased her risk of:

  • Inflammation that can lead to sore muscles, illness, and gut microbiome damage
  • Low energy and limited energy to complete strenuous exercise and focus during busy workdays
  • Slowed recovery from exercise that could affect her ability to work out and increase her risk of injury


Lauren and her Ixcela Expert discussed why poor sleep habits paired with intense exercise can lead to poor athletic performance, low energy, sore muscles, and weight loss plateau. Lauren never would have thought that the intense exercise she was working so hard to include would actually be part of the reason she was feeling the way she was.

Lauren’s Ixcela Expert explained that her elevated xanthine levels indicated that she would need to make some lifestyle changes.


Lauren knew that her bedtime routine needed improvement. She also knew that screen time before bed was part of the problem. Her Ixcela Expert urged her to consider reducing the number of days she was exercising and to start prioritizing sleep.

Working together, they set Lauren’s goals:

  1. Prioritize sleep!
    • Set your alarm for 7 a.m. instead of 5:45 a.m. on days that:
      • You didn't sleep well the night before
      • You went to bed later than planned
      • Your body is sore from exercise
      • You feel tired
    • Leave your cell phone outside of the bedroom and start using an alarm clock to avoid looking at your phone before bed.
  2. Include intense exercise 4 days per week at most and fill the other days with walking, yoga, or stretching.


After just three weeks of focusing on her sleep habits and reducing the number of days she was exercising, Lauren noticed that her sleep quality had improved. Although she didn’t identify it as a problem initially, she noticed that she was no longer waking up throughout the night.

She was also allowing herself to sleep for an extra hour instead of forcing herself to wake up for morning workouts. Before Ixcela, this would have made her feel like she started her day on the wrong foot, but she was loving the permission to give her body extra rest.

Because she was sleeping better, Lauren started feeling better and getting in more efficient workouts. After just three weeks, she had lost three pounds. She was amazed that this was the result of exercising less.

Note: Lauren experienced the Kickstart Assessment Program. This client's name has been changed to protect her privacy.

Here's what Lauren said:

I have been sleeping REALLY WELL (used to wake up 3–4 times per night, with a long block in the middle of the night sometimes). I no longer wake up in the middle of the night.

Also, if I didn't get enough sleep at night, I’m now okay with sleeping another hour (instead of working out) to prioritize sleep. Plus, I’ve lost 3 pounds and counting. Wow!

I am very grateful for your advice from Ixcela and it’s working great.

Note: Lauren experienced the Kickstart Assessment Program. This client's name has been changed to protect her privacy.

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