Why do some athletes seem to lose body fat effortlessly, while others have to work hard to stay in shape? Equally, some have no problem building lean muscle, enduring gruelling workouts/training or higher tolerance to pain.
It all comes down to DNA, the secret to unlocking your body’s health and performance. Our individual genetic blueprint can determine how our body responds to environmental factors including diet, stress and exercise. Everyone responds differently, so by profiling we can uncover an individual’s genetic predisposition to each of these factors, it becomes possible to tailor your training, recovery and diet to work in conjunction with your DNA, for optimum results.
Nutrigenomics is a scientific discipline that studies the interaction between genes, diet and lifestyle choices. These choices can affect gene expression and can influence your health, wellbeing and performance. Emerging evidence in the field of epigenetics has demonstrated that not only can we change the expression of our own genes within our own lifetime; sometimes these changes are heritable and affect our children and grandchildren. It’s true that you can’t change your inherited genetic variants, however, you can compensate for their influence by choosing better nutritional matches for your genes. In short, gene expression is modifiable; your genes are NOT your destiny, you can repair DNA damage and improve the functioning of your genes by making the right nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices.
By knowing how your body is naturally predisposed to respond to different training and dietary changes, you can plan an effective programme from the start. Usually, individuals can only find out what works for them through a lot of trial and error. Genetic profiling should dramatically decrease the time spent in the trialling phase, since you will already know what your body is likely to respond positively to.
Sport is competitive by nature, so operating at peak performance keeps you ahead of your game, with power, strength and speed being everything to an athlete. Genetic profiling will reveal psychological responses to dopamine, endurance levels and pain response, power versus muscle fibre balance, and cardiovascular capacity. This information can be used to help build lean muscle, whilst reducing injury and lactate build up, for a faster recovery. Soft tissue injury can be minimised by understanding how genetic markers affect collagen production and how genetics affect skeletal strength and inflammation.
Every individual absorbs and metabolises proteins, fats and carbohydrates differently. Understanding how to balance food intake to match your metabolism will help to achieve fitness goals such as fat burning and increasing muscle mass. Learn which foods cause fatigue and digestive problems and when to avoid these, alongside optimum calorie intake during different activities.
Added motivation. Being unclear on whether or not you are doing the right thing with your training and nutrition can lead to a loss of motivation. Having a programme that you know is tailored to your genetic makeup means you can rest assured in the knowledge that you are doing the right things. This is a great way to keep you motivated, since you know you just have to follow along with your plan and the results will come.
More detailed programming. This one is somewhat connected to the first point about taking away some of the guesswork with your training. Once you know exactly what your body can handle and what it will respond best to, you will be able to create a much more detailed plan of action. Total training volumes, rest periods, dietary intake and exercise selection can all be planned with more personal detail. A more detailed plan will be more effective and time efficient; you won’t be wasting your time on things that are unlikely to yield high results.