How DNA testing can help with your Fitness and Health Goals

Some things are just beyond our capability when it comes to fitness. It’s a fact. It’s genetics. Usain Bolt is the world’s greatest sprinter, but he’s openly admitted he’s never run a mile, and he’s certainly not built to run a marathon.

Many of us feel the same. We hit a point in our fitness where we simply can’t break through that barrier. On a personal level, I also do not suit a marathon distance. I regularly beat my goals across a half marathon and 10k distance, but when it comes to 26 miles, no matter how hard I train, how healthy I eat, my legs just can’t keep those split times steady in the later stages of a race. I’m just not built for it.

Genetics can play a big part in our fitness and general health, and our DNA can tell us an awful lot about our physical state. In fact, it can really aid how we build goals and train too.

DNA testing is becoming increasingly popular in the fitness industry, as our genes are ultimately responsible for how we cope with and react to varying degrees of exercise and diet.

It’s a trend that’s becoming more accessible with some of the ancestry and health dna testing packages relatively cheap these days, helping you uncover genetic illnesses, history of certain illnesses and varying other aspects of your family’s lineage and how you’re built yourself.

They’re simple to use and require just a swab test being taken and sent back to the lab. All you then need to do is wait for your results to come in. You’d be in good company too. Just a few years ago, a number of Premier League teams signed up to genetic testing to test 45 different gene variants and then adapt the player’s training plan accordingly.

This can seriously enhance performance as it allows you to focus on specific areas in which either need enhancing, or building.

There are success stories all over the web, whether you’re looking to improve goals in team sports such as soccer, rugby and basketball or individual performance such as running or simply lifting weights.

In one particular case, a woman was doing plenty of running and marathon training, only to find she wasn’t shedding any weight despite 30-mile and above weeks. After taking a test, she found that she had a sprint allele on her ACTN3 gene and certain alleles on her ACE gene, which means that her body can recover quickly from a workout due to fast-twitch muscle fibres.

This information then allowed her to discover that longer workouts aren’t going to lead to weight loss, as the body wouldn’t necessarily burn fat on endurance based running. Instead, if weight loss was a goal, sharp, speedy and intense workouts are the answer, as they burn energy quickly, not allowing the muscles to recover and instead burning the fat for fuel.

Should that person not have taken a DNA test, that information would never have been known and weight-loss goals would have been completely redundant with endurance-based exercise.

That example in particular would provide integral information across a range of sports, including the likes of boxing, in which a fighter might need to make weight, as well as any other sport in reality.

While the case above was training for a marathon and needed the endurance aspect of her routine, shedding weight also allows for a lighter run and across 26 miles can really improve your impact on the ground. After all, the heavier you are, the harder the impact and the more damage you may do to your knees.

It’s undoubted that a DNA test can improve your fitness and health. What they do is point you in the right direction of where you need to train and what you need to do to move to the next level and achieve your goals.