Having worked in the fitness industry for over ten years (yikes!) I’ve witnessed many fitness trends and nutritional fads. They all promise the answer to the ongoing battle of striking a balance between work, play, fitness, and nutrition. The exciting news is, there may finally be a real answer.
I dove deeper into more reliable scientific research around what defines each of us individually, and how that affects the ideal exercise and nutrition for all of us. Rifling through endless Sport Science journals took me back to my university days, and made me realize I quite miss being involved with lab tests and investigative endeavours!
Now, I’m not doubting the power of vast research in the fields of exercise and sports performance, but such investigations are based on subject groups. The subject groups are always varied, and results are based on an average, but we need to drill down to the individual.
That brings us to the exciting news: individual testing is becoming real.
I stumbled across DNA Fit, who help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals on the most personal level possible. My immediate reaction was: this is the future.
Testing is guided by a simple saliva swab, from which a personalized solution is created. I needed to try it out straight away, so I ordered a kit. It’s as easy as they say it is — just take a saliva swab and send it to DNA Fit.
Within a week, I got my results, and couldn’t contain my excitement! My unique report had arrived, and I was keen to see whether, through all my years of fitness-focused living, I’ve been doing right by my exercise and nutrition.
The report is very extensive and, to be honest, it’s been a challenge trying to get my head around the data. The genetic analysis is broken down into the following areas:
- Optimal diet type
- Carbohydrate and saturated fat
- Detoxification ability
- Anti-oxidant requirements
- Personal vitamin and micronutrient needs
- Salt, alcohol, caffeine, and lactose intolerance
- Coeliac predisposition
You would probably agree it’s quite overwhelming, right? The report advises you about genetics — be prepared for the information to take a couple of days to digest. But it’s all brilliant for getting serious about knowing our bodies.
So, firstly, what is a gene? It’s a segment of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule which contains the instructions for how, when, and where your body makes each of the many thousands of proteins (essential nutrients) required for life.
Each gene is comprised of multiple combinations of four letters which make up your genetic code: A, T, C, and G. Each gene combines with these ‘letters’ in various ways, spelling out the ‘words’ that specify which amino acid (individual proteins-peptides) we need at every step in the process of making the proteins required for your body to develop and function.
We also have gene polymorphism — this is different in each of our DNA codes. One size certainly doesn’t fit all! It’s time to bid farewell to generic workout plans and welcome genetic programmes with open arms.
Looking through my DNA report confirmed that my training and nutrition has been balanced, which is great. But what surprised me was the ratio between power and endurance: 42.9%/57.1%. I was under the impression that my body would consume more fast twitch muscle fibres, making me more anaerobic, as I was generally better at speedy explosive exercises.
Thinking deeper, I do train strength and power for upper body and train in both cardiovascular and resistance in endurance/strength, and I’m not bad at them, either. Evidently, then, I’m training my body right. Well done, Shell!
Alas, I think the report would be tough for a beginner to read and understand, especially when it comes to translating into a training and nutrition plan. It’s a good thing that I’m working on becoming a DNA Fit trainer, then — woohoo!
Onto the nutrition section: the report offers colour-coordinated keys and advice on how to understand each area. Every area of the testing is summarised by the allele and effect of the gene. This means how much of the gene you consume, and how much the nutrient would affect your body.
For example: the report states I have medium-low sensitivity to carbohydrates, which means refined sugar carbs are rapidly digested and absorbed, which may result in large swings in blood glucose levels, and can also affect energy levels and weight control.
Thus, I’ve gotta to be careful with how much refined carbohydrates I consume to ensure my blood sugar levels remain steady, making for a consistent energy level during the day.
The report summarizes with the following guidelines:
- Follow the Mediterranean diet
- Increase: folic acids, vitamins B6 and B12, antioxidants, vitamin D, calcium, cruciferous
- Decrease: salt, caffeine, saturated fats, grilled meat
- Possible predisposition to coeliac disease
I’m reducing my caffeine intake, as it was clear I was dependent on this. I’m having spinach, broccoli, and a variety of berries with natural yogurt every day. I feel in control and at a happy medium with both exercise and diet.
Although you may think your diet is healthy and balanced for you, I can’t recommend DNA Fit enough. Find out about your body — it’s one of the most important things you’ll do.
Let’s make an effort to look beyond qualitative research (trial and error) and use the most reliable quantitative data (genes) to dictate our physical and nutritional programme.
It’s the ‘science behind finding balance’, and it’s helped me find solidarity with my training and nutrition. So, at present, I’m studying to become a trainer for DNA Fit, to offer the most individualized training and nutritional plans for all.
Watch this space!
This blog post was not sponsored by DNA Fit and is written entirely from an unbiased perspective.
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