Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us experience fitness jealousy at some point. How can she run a marathon so effortlessly whilst I struggle with 5k jogs? Why does the girl who’s been lifting for half the time that I have look so much more lean and defined? Why do I only have to look at a plate of chips to put on weight but my friends can eat takeaway and still have visible abs? If you’ve never had thoughts like this then congratulations on being a better person than me….. but if you have, then did you know that the answer to all of these questions and more could be down to your genes? When Fitness Genes contacted me to ask if I would like to try their DNA Blueprint service to help me optimise my training and nutrition I couldn’t say no – who wouldn’t want to be told how to work out and eat to maximise results? But what did my DNA reveal about me and my body?
The first step is to collect the sample that contains enough DNA for the Fitness Genes lab to analyse – and they do this via saliva. I was sent a box in the post (exactly the same as the one pictured above) and had to fill a small tube with my saliva after not eating or drinking for 2 hours (so I did mine first thing in the morning), then securely seal the tube and pop the box back in the post to the Fitness Genes lab. I’ve never had to fill a tube with spit before and I’m guessing (and indeed hoping….!) you haven’t either but trust me when I say it takes longer than you think… and I’d also do it behind locked doors as it’s definitely not very attractive! Other than producing more saliva than I thought I’d ever need, the procedure is quick and simple, and around 3 weeks later I received my report from the lab.
When I say report, I was honestly pretty blown away by the amount of results and level of detail I got back. I had 41 results in my personal DNA Blueprint – everything from my response to aerobic exercise to how well I metabolise caffeine. There was actually so much data I had to go through it over several sittings – it literally broke down nearly every type of gene that would play a part in my health and fitness and overall the report didn’t result in any huge surprises, but definitely a few things that I can change when it comes to my routine. My analysis confirmed two things I already knew – that I am pre-disposed to slightly higher blood pressure (which I have always had, and which runs in my family) and that I am sensitive to triglycerides and need to be careful not to over-consume fats.
What was most interesting to me though was the Action Plan recommendations based on my DNA analysis. My Workout Volume plan of action is as follows:
“Your gene variants indicate that, to build strength and increase lean muscle mass, you should respond well to a high-volume form of resistance/strength training.”
As you guys know, the workout that I perform/partake in most often is Body Pump – I teach 5 classes a week – and Body Pump is of course high-volume, high rep resistance training. Whilst I love other forms of training, including much lower rep and lower volume strength training I can most definitely confirm that it is the consistency of Body Pump that has brought about the biggest changes in my body over the past few years – which actually goes to show this is because it suits my DNA and genetic make-up. My own personal report goes on to say that:
“Your results indicate that you have an average tendency to store body fat. Research shows that a combination of resistance training and cardio to be very effective for reducing your body-fat levels. Your body is likely to become accustomed to traditional cardio and therefore reduce its ability to burn away excess fat, so we recommend introducing a form of cardio called HIIT into your training plan”
Again, really interesting to me personally as when I do cardio it is almost always HIIT style – whether teaching Body Attack (aerobic, sports inspired interval training) or attending classes like Psycle, KOBox or Barry’s Bootcamp, and as they are generally based on “rounds” i.e. spiking the heart rate, then minimal recovery before going again then this once again is actually perfectly suited to my body type.
Photo above by Tom Miles.
I find it fascinating that I’ve naturally found my own workout flow and seen great results from it over the past couple of years, without actually realising that this is because I am maximising my genetic potential. I’m also extremely excited that I am a fast metaboliser of caffeine – so I feel the effects quickly but it clears quickly from my system – what a brilliant excuse to drink more coffee….!!
I could write so much about the results that I got back from Fitness Genes but it would be hard to know when to stop as my Report covers such a vast amount of personal data. If you’ve been wondering why you’ve hit a plateau, why your workouts aren’t providing results, or why you can’t lose weight though diet then I would highly recommend taking a Fitness Genes DNA test to see exactly what your body needs and how it will best respond. It will even come up with a recommendation of the best way to exercise, as well as nutritional advice and plans which are purely based on your results, so none of this “one size fits all” approach. The kit, analysis and results cost £129 – less than two Personal Training sessions, and in my opinion is money well spent. Not just the financial aspect but think of the time you could end up saving yourself not doing workouts that won’t get you any closer to your personal fitness goals.
Who knew the answer to the body you’ve always wanted actually lies within your own body?
Head to Fitness Genes to find out more, or to order your DNA analysis kit, or follow them on social media: @FitnessGenes
Disclaimer: Whilst I was given the DNA Kit to review, I was not paid to write this post and these opinions are my own.