When running customers through their DNAfit reports, a common question I am asked is “Are my results normal?” This is a tough question to answer, because it’s hard to define what normal actually is. For all the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) we test for, each individual genotype is quite common; the least common genotype occurs in about one in twenty people, which means that in the UK over three million people who have that specific version.
In order to try to figure out what was normal, I looked at the data of over 17,000 (or, to be precise, 17,788) results we have collated over the years, to see if any particular results were more common than others. Let’s dive in.
Power and endurance
The DNAfit Peak Performance algorithm uses 15 different SNPs that have been shown to affect how well someone responds to both power training and endurance training. We use this information to enable that person to do training that best suits their genes. DNAfit are the first, and so far only, genetic testing company to conduct research into their product, which was published earlier this year in the journal Biology of Sport. In this research, we found that those doing genetically matched training, as predicted by the DNAfit Peak Performance algorithm, saw roughly three times as much improvement in tests of both power and endurance following an eight-week strength training programme than those doing genetically mismatched training. This shows the usefulness of our algorithm when it comes to training programme design. In the DNAfit report, you’re given a power score and an endurance score, both as a percentage, which combine to make 100%. Those with a power score of more than 50% are said to be more power-dominant athletes, and those with a power score of less than 50% are more endurance-dominant athletes. It’s worth remembering that this tells us the best type of training for you to do, not what sports you’ll be good at. The graph below shows the spread of power results across all these samples. Your endurance score would be your power score subtracted from a 100, so you can work things out that way too if you prefer.
As you can see, there is no single “normal” score when it comes to power percentages; instead, there is quite a spread within the results. It is less common to be at the extreme end of this chart; 82% of people sit within the 30-70% power band, and just shy of 50% of people sit within the 40-60% power band. The highest power score seen in this sample is 94%, which was achieved by only one person, and only 5 people scored higher than 90% in terms of power. A score of above 80% power puts you in the highest 0.4% of these samples, and even scoring above 70% power puts you in the top 3.9%. At the other end, 73 people have a power score of 0%, making them 100% endurance; this represents 0.4% of these samples. A power score of less than 10% puts you in the lowest 0.7% of this sample group, and 4% of this sample have a power score of less than 20%. The most common power score is 43%, which 6.0% of people had, closely followed by 60%, which 5.7% of people had. Nobody in this sample scored between 1-7%, 32%, 59%, 61%, 89%, 92-93%, or 95-100%. The power percentages that were the least common, but not zero, were 76%, 91% and 94%, all with just one person.
So what can we conclude from all of this? Well, primarily, there isn’t really a “normal”. This is useful information, because it tells us that there isn’t a “normal” way to train – how can there be, when we don’t see a “normal” person in our power-endurance scores? Instead, it tells us that we need a higher level of individualised training, which, as our study showed, can be achieved by using the DNAfit Peak Performance algorithm. As always, we need to remember the influence of environment; our genes give us more information on which to base our decisions, but they aren’t the only thing we should consider.
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