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How To Reach Your Genetic Potential With Sports Performance Testing

Posted by James Brown on 10 April 2017

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Genetic potential is defined as the absolute peak performance capability an individual person could ever reach. It is the level of performance in a specific activity that would be achieved by an ideal upbringing, optimal training and perfect nutrition planning. Genetic potential is determined by your own specific and unique DNA structure. Everybody’s genetic potential is different, in some cases extremely different.

Very few people ever reach anywhere near close to their genetic potential. Most people will have absolutely no idea of what their actual potential is.

An example of individuals that are either at or very close to their genetic potential are elite sportspeople and athletes. Those who are at the very top of their sport are likely to be close to maxing out the potential of their genes for their chosen activity.

Of course, some people’s genetic potential for a certain endeavour is higher than others. That doesn’t mean only individuals with the very highest potential within a sport should train for that sport. Every athlete should strive to reach their own genetic potential if they are to become the very best they can be in their chosen field.

Every coach should look to propel each of their athletes as close as possible to reaching their potential.

How Can Genetic Potential Be Reached?

Coaching an athlete or team to reach their potential can be a difficult task.

As mentioned earlier, an ideal upbringing plus optimal training and nutrition are the key elements to reaching one’s maximum potential. Usually, the upbringing isn’t something that a coach or management team has a great deal of control over. So, the emphasis on proper training and nutrition programming becomes huge.

For the most part, coaches use training and nutrition protocols that are designed to “serve the masses”. Meaning, the approaches they use may be solid but they are very generalised. Of course, athletes may make great improvements and reach a high level of performance with such protocols. However, very few will become the absolute best they can.

Reaching the genetic potential of an athlete requires a much more individualised approach.

For a training programme or nutrition plan to be truly effective it must be tailored towards the athlete. Sport’s teams should have slightly different programmes and plans for every member of the team if they are to reach the level of success they are capable of.

This begs the question, how do you know which approach is best for each athlete or player?

The answer to that question is genetic testing.

What Is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing is done by taking a sample of a person’s cells and analysing them to find out exactly how that person is genetically predisposed to respond to different experiences, i.e. how they may respond to a given training or nutrition plan.

To put it into context, an athlete’s genetic makeup can be analysed to see how that athlete will respond to specific food types in their diet. If it is found that an athlete has an increased sensitivity to carbs, which may cause them to gain extra weight, their nutrition coach can plan a reduced carbohydrate diet for them.

There is a whole range of different tests that can be done to discover how each different aspect of a coaching programme is going to affect an athlete. The training and nutrition approach can be completely tailored by the coach in order to provide an athlete with an optimal environment for improving their performance.

Benefits Of Genetic Testing

Clearly, the main benefit of genetic testing for an athlete is the increase in performance that will be experienced as a result of having a programme to suit their unique DNA.

There are a whole host of extra benefits that genetically optimised coaching can have for an athlete.

For example, if a coach or manager can find out how their athletes are likely to respond to certain training methods, the methods that are more likely to cause that athlete an injury can be instantly discounted.

Only programmes that the trainee is going to respond positively to are chosen. Not only reducing injury rate but also reducing the amount of time wasted on trialling programmes that may not produce results.

Another great benefit of genetic testing before designing programmes is faster recovery times.

Recovery times are highly individual. A training session that can be recovered from by one athlete in a day, may take another athlete two or even three days to fully recover from.

Poor recovery leads to poor performance and increased risk of injury. Genetic testing can identify an individual’s recovery capabilities, which allows training to be easily tailored their needs.

How To Conduct Genetic Testing

Most genes in human beings are more or less the same. However, there is a very small percentage of genes that are different. These are the genes that make us unique. These are also the genes that tell us what we need to know about an individual’s athletic capabilities and potential.

To analyse those unique genes, all that is usually needed is a mouth swab. The swab then needs to be analysed by a laboratory that has the correct expertise to interpret the results. That may all sound very high level and complicated. However, genetic testing can now be carried out very simply.

Companies such as DNActiv8 carry out all of the tests for you. We use three genetic testing labs on three continents, which allows us to test for an extraordinary range of different genes and genetic variants. All you need to do is send us the mouth swab and let us take care of the rest.

DNActiv8 provide a number of different testing packages that offer in-depth genetic makeup analysis suited for various different sports.

If you want your athletes and teams to have the best possible chance of reaching their genetic potential, genetic testing is an absolute must. For all of the information on the specific sports performance testing packages, visit https://www.dnactiv8.co.uk. You can also find out more about genetic testing by downloading our new, free e-book here.

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Topics: Sports Performance

Written by James Brown

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