As a result of some great strides forward for genetic science, genetic health testing is now more readily available to the general public. For professional athletes, adjusting your training or diet based upon genetic makeup is now a viable option.
Despite its much wider availability, the ins and outs of genetic health testing for fitness are still not fully understood in the public mind. This article will give you a good insight into what is involved in genetic testing, what can be done with the test results, and the potential advantages and disadvantages of testing.
What Does Genetic Health Testing For Fitness Involve?
The first step with genetic testing is to decide exactly what you want to have tested. To decide, you need to know the main goals of your training programme.
For example, a professional athlete’s goals will require different genes to be analysed compared to somebody who trains just to be healthier. If you head over to www.dnactiv8.co.uk, you can select from a set of goal-based testing packages. After selecting a suitable package, you are then sent your testing kit in the post.
The test itself is done by taking a cotton bud and swabbing the inside of your mouth to collect a sample of cells. This sample of cells should contain all of the necessary DNA to analyse your individual genetic makeup.After sending your testing kit back, your cells will be analysed by a lab that specialises in genetic health testing. The lab will look at a variety of different genes that could have a potential impact on how your body reacts to different environments, such as dietary intake or training stimulus.
You will then receive your own genetic profile that outlines how your body is likely to respond to those environments. From this, you can design a training and nutrition protocol to suit your genetic makeup. An analysis of your genes can uncover a large number of different health markers. Here is a list of the main things that a test can be used to discover:
- Tissue strength
- Energy metabolism rates
- Inflammation risk
- Macronutrient response
- Obesity risk
- Caffeine sensitivity
- Caffeine metabolism
- Various vitamin and mineral deficiency risks; e.g B12, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and selenium
As you can see, you can get a good picture of your overall health and potential health risks for your body.
Takes out the guesswork. By knowing how your body is naturally predisposed to respond to different training and dietary changes, you can plan an effective programme from the start. Usually, individuals can only find out what works for them through a lot of trial and error.Genetic testing should dramatically decrease the time spent in the trialling phase, since you will already know what your body is likely to respond positively to.
Added motivation. Being unclear on whether or not you are doing the right thing with your training and nutrition can lead to a loss of motivation. Having a programme that you know is tailored to your genetic makeup means you can rest assured in the knowledge that you are doing the right things. This is a great way to keep you motivated, since you know you just have to follow along with your plan and the results will come.
More detailed programming. This one is somewhat connected to the first point about taking away some of the guesswork with your training. Once you know exactly what your body can handle and what it will respond best to, you will be able to create a much more detailed plan of action. Total training volumes, rest periods, dietary intake and exercise selection can all be planned with more personal detail. A more detailed plan will be more effective and time efficient; you won’t be wasting your time on things that are unlikely to yield high results.
Despite all the benefits of having your genetics analysed for fitness purposes, there are some potential downsides as well. It is important to mention some of the potential disadvantages so as to provide you with all the information you need to decide if genetic testing is for you or not.
Health paranoia and anxiety. For some people, receiving what they may interpret as a negative health-related result could cause them to become paranoid and anxious about their health.
For example, vitamin D deficiency has a link to many illnesses. Somebody that receives a high vitamin D deficiency risk in their results could become overly concerned with the potential health implications. This can be combatted by making sure that your test provider has a solid consultation process in place to discuss your results with you.
False security. This is the opposite of the above point. An individual that receives very positive results could easily adopt a care-free approach to their health planning. This would be a big mistake. The testing does not provide black and white results, only potential strengths and weaknesses. You may not possess a certain gene linked with developing a specific condition, but that does not make you immune.
Goal abandonment. Finding out that you are not genetically built for a specific endeavour could lead you to give up on it all together. However, that should certainly not be the case. The tests shouldn’t be used to determine whether or not you can be the very best in the world at a specific sport. They should be used to adapt your training to give you a better chance of success with your goals.
In short, test results should not dictate your health and fitness goals. Your goals should dictate which tests you will take and the results of those tests can then be used to enhance your training and nutrition.
The benefits of genetic health testing for fitness are numerous. It can be a very powerful way to take your training programmes to a higher level, but only if the results are used properly. To get the most out of genetic testing and minimise the potential disadvantages, you need to know your reasons for taking the tests and then have a well thought out plan to put the results to good use.
Finally, you need to take action on your plan. This should go without saying, but many people will have all of the information they need but won’t take the most important step and actually act upon it. So, in summary, we believe genetic health testing is a great tool to make your training more efficient; as long as you have a smart plan and you stick to that plan on a consistent basis.
For more information, please dowload our free Beginner’s Guide To Genetic Testing, by clicking here.