DNA Day: Decoding The Genetics Of Fitness

This area of research started in the early 2000s after the development of molecular biological methods, which has enabled researchers to apply genome-wide association studies (GWASs) to the field - more than 600 genes and chromosomal regions have been described that affect the body weight and energy metabolism regulation. 

Thus now due to decades of physiological research, there is no arguing against the benefits of regular exercise and training on our overall physical and mental health. We now have a solid understanding of how the body responds and adapts to physical activity, but deciphering the connection between genetics and exercise is still ongoing due to the complex nature of genetics and the unique factors involved when it comes to different individuals and their reactions to training methods - thus people respond differently to similar workout regimes, dependent on the genes, fitness levels, lifestyle choices and other variables. In some cases, it has been shown that people with the same genotypes respond similarly to exercises in comparison to those with different genotypes, indicating that some genes may play a key role in the determination of individual differences in response to physical activities and performance. 

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Hence there are still many variables to come to grips with when it comes to the triggers that influence the When, Why and How certain genetic variations respond similarly in some situations and different in others. According to a 2016 scientific review by A Leońska-Duniec and Co, “the process of exercise-induced adaptation in the human body involves a number of signalling mechanisms, initiating replication of specific DNA sequences, enabling their subsequent translation, and finally generating new proteins. The physiological effects of these adaptations are determined by the volume, intensity and frequency of physical activity”. 

Thus by undergoing DNA testing, you will find that your genes can tell you a lot about your fitness and predisposition to responding differently to certain exercises and training modalities than others. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to know the best workout for you to do, or how you can optimise time spent in the gym. If so, then a DNAfit test is for you (we've even searched the market to see how much better our offering is compared to our competitors 😏). However, it's important to keep in mind that genetics is still an emerging science that many people are only getting to grips with. Due to this, it is sometimes difficult for people to understand their genetic profile and the interaction between genes and fitness. 

 

Which things do you need to know about the area of genetic training?

Our genes can help guide us as to what training is best in order to meet a specific goal, but without knowing your goal that information is meaningless. It’s also important to know your history; are you a beginner or a more advanced trainer, for example? If they were two people with identical genes, but one was very fit and one was a beginner, even if they had the same goal, different training sessions would be advised. 

Based on genetic insights and other lifestyle factors, DNAfit aims to advise on the type of training that should be done by each individual! Whilst genes are important, so too are environmental factors and their health objectives. When it comes to deciding what type of training a person should do, by far and away the most important thing to know is that person’s goal. Do they want to gain muscle, or run a marathon, for example? Both these goals require vastly different types of training that will also be informed their natural trainability and adaptability from a genetic perspective.

 

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What will you learn from the DNAfit Fitness reports?

We've tested a lot of people at DNAFit over the years. The DNAfit Fitness Report is specifically laid out to help you gain the most out of your training sessions and understand your body's response to different types of training, how your genetics impact factors such as recovery, as well as your genetic risk of developing a soft-tissue injury.

All the genes in our fitness report can affect how we respond to training in different ways; there are several different pathways that can enable exercise adaptation, and different genes can be found in different pathways. ACTN3, for example, creates a protein that is found only in fast-twitch muscle fibres. People with at least one C allele of this polymorphism can produce the protein really well, and so tend to have a greater proportion of fast-twitch fibres than TT genotypes, who cannot produce this protein. Because fast-twitch muscle fibres are associated with power training, knowing this information can help us recommend different training types for each person.

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Each single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) included in our report must meet several scientific thresholds: such as being conducted on humans, showing a consensus of effect, and published in a peer-reviewed journal, so we can be confident that the information we’re giving people is as accurate as possible. One of the other benefits of testing with us is that you’d also get access to our digital training platform, Elevate, to help you optimise and get more effective results from your genetic training regimen. 

 

How to take advantage of our Elevate platform?

Elevate is our online training platform that aims to educate you and make it easier to reach your goals by building up your fitness, whatever your level and goals. It is one of the reasons why DNAFit is one of the best DNA testing companies for health and fitness because we not only give you insights, we empower and guide you on your journey to make the results actionable on a daily basis.

 What sets Elevate apart from other online training platforms is that it combines your genetic results with your goals to create a training plan that is unique to your individual needs. Depending on your power/endurance profile, Elevate gives you exercises that are matched to your genetic results so that you are training for your genes. Elevate is a key component as it allows you to train the right way while cutting out the guesswork.

 

iphone Depending on your genetics, you can structure your training to suit your genetic results, goals and abilities to see maximum results, which will help you to achieve your goals faster. This would mean that if you are a power responder you would do the majority of your sets at a higher weight with lower reps to see the best gains, and vice versa. And this is where the idea of Elevate was formulated; to give you the tools you need to combine your genetics with actionable training modalities that will assist you when exercising. Elevate utilises our genetic algorithm to guide and personalise the way we approach training - but note that it is available to customers who have purchased Health Fit.

 

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If this interests you, then take the first step into your journey to the actionable and personalised world of genetic training that is more effective than workout sessions that aren’t informed by your genes. Simply order our Health Fit test kit to unlock a new world of training.

 

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