Ever thought knowing your DNA could improve your training? Well, according to some experts, it can. "With an easy mouth swab you can a detailed genetic profile, Identifying your potential for fitness" says Gymbox aerial yoga instructor Tessa Smith.
When I saw
DNAfit genetic profiling, I was interested. It doesn't take a genius to presume that knowing your genetics could help you train for a stronger, leaner body… but how is it helpful? What do the results mean? And more importantly, does it really work?
The 'one size fits all' approach
Training and nutrition has historically been based on a 'trial and error' approach, making refinements as we go. But times have changed.
This test information goes beyond trial and error, and gives you an actual snapshot of what you're all about. With an easy mouth swab you can a detailed genetic profile, identifying your potential for fitness. This means clients and athletes can be straight onto the right path, with a specific modified program.
What do I find out?
With the full profile you will find out your V02Max potential, recovery time frames, injury risk – as well as whether your body responds best to either power or endurance workouts. Plus the nutritional side looks at a range of aspects from likely vitamin deficiencies; sensitivity to carbohydrates, salt, cholesterol, ability to metabolise alcohol and caffeine, plus gluten and lactose tolerance. Personalised supplement and nutrition plans are provided.
Remember, the key word to this report is potential! It's obvious we can use this in professional sports. But this can also help the every day person who is just trying to be healthier. Genetics is only 50% of the equation – lifestyle and environment are just as important. Which is why change is possible.
Getting the most out of our results
Studies in elite athletes demonstrate highly significant associations between ACTN3 genotype and athletic performance. While the non-mutant version of the gene ACTN3 CC (20% of sample population) is associated with sprint performance, the mutant version is associated with endurance. In tests, those training their strengths see greater gains, but that's not to say a high endurance profile means you will not be good at sprinting, as proven by Craig Pickering, a GB Olympic Sprinter who trained for 100m by running 200-300m. This is very relevant. DNAfit isn't a method to tell a person what they can or cannot do. It's not for talent identification or a reason to change anyone's goal. They report on the genes in response to power-based training, or endurance activity, to help you tailor and tweak the training methodologies.
So, utilise your genetic strengths in your training for better results. For example, those with ACTN3 CC (sprint/power performers) may still want to train for a more endurance-based event, but they would train by using speed intervals.
With the injury risk and recovery rate information, you can also plan your preventative exercises regime and rest periods more effectively. As a hyper-mobile aerial yoga instructor, I have always been extra careful of my joints. After the swab, I found I have some genes tending toward tendon problems. This means my preventative and myofacial release regime takes a highest priority in my daily routines. If you're a marathon runner who has learned this in DNA analysis, you may change the way you train/rest dramatically.
We're bombarded with information and eating regimes from low carb to carb loading, low fat to drinking coconut oilL Maybe we have heard of Paleo, Dukan, Atkins, Low GI, The Zone. So how do we know which is right for us? The APOA2 gene has been associated with obesity and insulin resistance. Knowing how your body tolerates carbs and fat can simplify this list, with modifications according to genetic variation. Knowing you are extra sensitive to carbohydrates, for example, will help you to eat the optimum macro ratios for your genetic and sports requirements.
Many current RDAs are inadequate as large percentages of the population may have higher requirements for specific vitamins. For example, I found out I had higher need for vitamin D, which made sense. I had always suffered more ailments in the winter, no matter how much vitamin C I was taking. This information helps to prescribe optimum Vit D requirements more specifically.
How about knowing once and for all whether those coffees are 'really' that bad? The CYP1A2 genotype predicts risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack). You could be a 'fast' or 'slow' metaboliser. Sadly though, studies show more than four coffees a day are harmful to all genotypes. Best cut that Starbucks action accordingly!
SO, DOES IT ALL REALLY WORK?
Well, the evidence suggests a big fat yes…
- Last year, a study of 191 obese people by the University of Trieste in Italy found that those on a DNA-matched diet lost 33 per cent more weight than those counting calories.
- Those on DNA diets saw their body mass index drop by an average of 1.8 points, while the other group's fell by 1.3 points.
- Comparative trials prove that health counselling based on the results of genotype is more successful than conventional diet counselling.
The algorithms that calculate your results are based on highly respected scientific studies and DNAfit limit claims to what can be supported scientific documentation.
Athletes, such as British Olympic 400 meter runner Andrew Steele (one of the fastest guys in the world!), and Craig Pickering, GB bobsled and 100 meter sprinter, are senior consultants and swear by the results.
But don't take my word for it, take the plunge into the world of genetics. Knowing your genetic make-up will help you make choices not only to perform and move better, but also could help to prevent diseases, obesity and stress.
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