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Pro tips to help you enhance your sporting performance [Video]

Your individual genetic variation affects your sporting performance. How you harness the insights from a DNA test can improve your fitness and help you achieve faster results.

Whichever sport you play, being at the top of your training game has both physical and psychological benefits that can boost your health and fitness as well as optimize your performance. Successfully enhancing your performance is no easy feat, but once you understand the elements involved in enhancement, the venture becomes an ADventure! 👌

Improvement at different rates/ different responses to training

Ever wonder when your team trains or if you train with your workout buddy, why you all don’t get the same results? Well, that’s because we all improve at different rates. For you, high-intensity training may improve performance massively, whilst other team members show very little improvement. Your workout buddy may be more fatigued than you, and be able to tolerate less training, requiring longer periods of recovery between sessions. If this is happening and your results are not the same as those around you, the first step is: don’t worry! 😃

Why? Researchers have begun to focus on “inter-individual variation” i.e. the variation between individuals during training. By better understanding what makes us different, we can use this information to enhance our performance.  💪

Check out this video, where our Head of Product and former Great Britain Olympian, Andrew Steele gives us the 411 on Enhance Your Performance: A Genetic Guide.

 

The role of DNA testing for personalised training

Andrew Steele, Olympic athlete and the Head of Product at DNAfit, has put together a genetic guide, for just this purpose, to steer you through understanding the ‘inter-individual variation’ in your enhancement journey.

You see, we have gotten used to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to fitness and diet. How many times has a new fad exercise become popular at the gym, or a new wonder food be the latest talk at the office? The natural thing is to try it and see if it works for you. And once you do, you may notice that your workout buddy is buffing up quicker, or even has more strength faster? They’re seeing results and you’re wondering why you aren’t? 😤 Don’t get frustrated, it’s part of being uniquely you, and a genetic test will be the answer to discovering those unique differences. 

Genetic differences that affect our results from training

Whilst we all have almost exactly the same DNA, the small differences in our genetic codes can cause quite a large difference between us. Understanding your genetic code will lead to insights that can bring desired results.These insights include: diet, fitness, stress and sleep; which are all vital components to manage when reaching for optimal enhancement in your sporting journey.

Enhance Your Performance: A Genetic Guide

There are important focus points when your begin your journey to enhance your sporting performance, like recovery, caffeine and even sleep.

You’re probably wondering how things like ‘not actually training’ i.e. recovering, that cup of coffee or even sleeping can help enhancing performance? It may sound like ‘sitting-back’ and waiting, but it can also hold the answers to your next step in enhancement. 

Enhance your performance with Andrew Steele, Olympic medalist and head of product at DNAfit

Inside the guide you’ll learn:

  • Can our genes affect how we respond to training?
  • Why should we train and the role genes play
  • How does caffeine work? And How much should you take?
  • The impact of DNA on caffeine
  • What role do your genes play in exercise recovery?

Recovery’s role in enhancing your performance

When we think ‘fitness’, we often think it means just the actual exercises involved. The running, weight training, swimming, cardio etc. And yes, this is very important to measure and maintain for enhancing your sporting performance. Training like a champion will leave you looking and feeling like a champion too. 

We forget the recovery period is as important as the actual ‘sweaty sessions’. When recovery is inadequate, bad things happen: 

  • underperformance 
  • injury 
  • Illness
  • non-functional overreaching
  • overtraining syndrome. 

Placing importance on our recovery may in fact be the x-factor. Tracking how we recover, with knowledge of our genetic code can take our performance to the next level. 😉

Can caffeine affect your sporting performance? 

Now when we say caffeine, we mean more than just your morning cuppa! ☕ Caffeine is one of the most widely used performance enhancing drugs in the world, consumed on a daily basis by 80% of the world’s population. Yes, you heard right. Caffeine is a drug! 😲

A drug is any substance that causes a change in an organism's physiology or psychology when consumed. Now you know this includes caffeine!

In today’s society we consume caffeine for a wide variety of reasons from overcoming tiredness to coffee dates with your bestie. 

But, alongside its use by the general public, caffeine is also widely used by athletes because of its well-established performance benefits across a range of exercise types. These effects are so strong that, between 1984 and 2004, caffeine’s use was banned at high doses by the International Olympic Committee. 

Caffeine is what is termed a “competitive adenosine receptor antagonist”. Adenosine is the naturally-produced chemical that makes us feel tired and relaxed. Caffeine competes with adenosine for its binding site, preventing it from exerting its relaxing effects. This helps us stay alert for the necessary training period. Caffeine is also advantageous because it also acts to reduce feelings of pain, increase adrenaline secretions, increase alertness etc. This is why some leading athletes use it as the extra edge to their optimally enhanced performance.

Caffeine and sleep

Sleep it off! Yes, you heard right. Catching those Zzz’s is also part of enhancement. It may not feel as ‘powerful’ as weight training, or reaching a new reps goal, but sleeping is so important for enhancement. 

Sleep is linked to caffeine. Especially in these times when caffeine is found in more and more ‘off-the-shelf’ products. Caffeine can be productive to your enhancement goals, but it can also hinder your sleep if not managed well, which in turn damages your enhancement drastically. 

Caffeine is effective at overcoming sleep-induced fatigue. When we’re awake, adenosine accumulates in our brain over the course of the day, increasing feelings of sleepiness. When we sleep, we remove this adenosine, but, if we don’t sleep for long enough, some adenosine remains, and as a result, we feel sleepy. 

So, the lesson here is, make sure you get enough sleep. Make it a rule like Goldilocks: don’t sleep to little and don’t sleep too much, make sure your sleep is ‘just right’, especially for your age and performance goals.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, they recommend these guidelines for sufficient sleep:

  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours 
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours 

The adventure in enhancing your performance starts with one easy step, and that’s you making the decision to be better than you were yesterday. Once you know where you want to go, we can help you get there. 

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