DNAFit genetic fitness report FAQs

We've tested a lot of people at DNAFit over the years, and we've also got a lot of questions regarding our reports. The DNAFit Fitness Report is specifically laid out to help you gain the most out of your training sessions and understand your body's response to power and endurance training, recovery, injury and VO2 max. The following article covers some of the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

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By undergoing DNA testing, you will find that your genes can tell you a lot about your fitness and predisposition to responding differently to certain exercises and training modalities than others. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to know the best workout for you to do, or how you can optimise time spent in the gym. If so, then a DNAFit test is for you.

However, genetics is still an emerging science that many people are only getting to grips with. Due to this, it is sometimes difficult for people to understand their genetic profile and the interaction between genes and fitness. We have compiled the most frequently asked questions regarding our DNAFit Fitness Report to make it easier to understand what DNAFit can do for you.

Frequently asked questions about DNAFit's Fitness Report

So, what exactly is the DNAFit Fitness Report?

In the fitness report, we look at genes that can impact how well you respond to training, how quickly you recover, and how likely you are to get injured.


Will the report tell me what sport to do?

No. There is no evidence to suggest that genetic testing has a role to play in talent identification, and so it shouldn’t be used in this way. In fact, DNAFit have a strict code of conduct which states that we can’t sell direct to consumers who are under the age of 18; this helps reduce the risk of it being used to guide people into certain sports.


So what do the genes you test for actually do?

Well, that depends on the specific gene. All the genes in our report can affect how we respond to training in different ways; there are a number of different pathways that can enable exercise adaptation, and different genes can be found in different pathways. ACTN3, for example, creates a protein that is found only in fast-twitch muscle fibres. People with at least one C allele of this polymorphism can produce the protein really well, and so tend to have a greater proportion of fast-twitch fibres than TT genotypes, who cannot produce this protein. Knowing this information allows us to recommend different types of training for each person. 

Each single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in our report also has a minimum of three peer-reviewed studies, conducted on humans, showing a consensus of effect, so we can be confident that the information we’re giving people is as accurate as possible. 

I’ve looked at my power and endurance response, and I’ve come back as 75% power and 25% endurance. What training should I do?

You need much more information than that to decide what training you should do! Whilst genes are important, so too are environmental factors. When it comes to deciding what type of training a person should do, by far and away the most important thing to know is that person’s goal. Do they want to gain muscle, or run a marathon, for example? Both these goals require vastly different types of training. Our genes can guide us as to what training is best in order to meet a specific goal, but without knowing your goal that information is meaningless. It’s also important to know your history; are you a beginner or a more advanced trainer, for example? If we had two people with identical genes, but one was very fit and one was a beginner, even if they had the same goal we would give them different training sessions.


What is power-based training and what is endurance-based training?

Put simply, power-based training is training carried out at high intensities. This could be lifting heavy weights for a low number of repetitions, for example 10 sets of 2 reps, or sprint training. Endurance-based training is the opposite; lower intensity, but higher overall volume, and shorter recovery periods. In the gym, this might be 3 sets of 10 reps, or going for a long run. They’re really simple examples of what power- and endurance-based training is, but again they need to be considered within the context of the person.


I’ve recently done a VO2max test and I had an amazing result. However, the DNAFit report states I only have a medium vo2max potential. Is your test wrong? 

Remember, we’re not looking at talent or ability, we’re looking at the best way to train. When we do aerobic training, we know that some people will see really large improvements in a short period of time, some people will see small improvements, and most will see the normal rate of improvement. We can use this information to inform how we design our training programmes, but it doesn’t tell us how good we can be!


What does recovery speed mean?

The recovery speed section of our report looks at how quickly you recover between training sessions. Typically, we find that those with a fast or very fast recovery speed require about 24 hours between their hardest sessions, and tend to tolerate 4 hard sessions per week. With a medium recovery speed, this is 48 hours between hard sessions, for 3 hard sessions per week. For slow or very slow, this would be 72 hours between hard sessions, with a recommended maximum of two hard sessions per week. You can of course train more than this, but those other sessions should be of lesser intensity or volume, in order to allow recovery to occur.

I’ve got a high injury risk. This means I shouldn’t do sport, because I’m going to get injured, right?

No, not at all! It just means that you have to be proactive in reducing your injury risk. This means focusing on areas that are most at risk due to your sport (so, if you’re a runner, the Achilles tendon), or those you have injured before. It would be a good idea to strengthen the at risk area; for example, with the Achilles tendon this would take the form of eccentric loading, a type of training that has been shown to reduce the chances and severity of tendon and ligament injuries. If someone had a high risk, we’d recommend that they would always have this type of training in place, perhaps a couple of times per week.


Great. Do you have any proof that DNAFit actually works though?

Well, we published our first study utilising the DNAFit Peak Performance Algorithm last year, and since then we have carried out a few other studies that have been submitted to journals. We’re committed to continuing research in this area, so watch this space!

Power and endurance

What does my endurance and power profile mean?

The Power and Endurance profile is looking at what type of exercise you would respond better to.


My report says I am endurance dominant but I hate running?

Running is not the only form of endurance training.  Endurance training is also low weight-high repetition training along with other forms of cardio such as cycling, rowing and swimming.


Does this indicate what sport I should play?

The Power and Endurance profile does not indicate what type of sport you should play but rather how to train to get the best performance in your sport that you currently play.


Does this mean I can't run a marathon if I'm power dominant?

No it does not mean that, what it means is that we should tailor your training aligned with your power response to allow your performances in marathons to reach peak level.


Can I do power and endurance training in the same session?

You should not do Power and Endurance in the same session.


If my power or endurance response is lower than the other one does that mean I shouldn't include that form of training?

You should still include that style of training in your training program but it would not be the dominant style of training in your program.


Why should I as an elite athlete change my current training based on my genetic results?

Your genetic results can give you the edge that most elite athletes are looking for when competing and wanting to be the best.


What is HIIT training classified as?

HIIT training is classified as a Power style of training because it is targeting your strength and power.


How long should a HIIT session be?

A HIIT session should be around 20-30 minutes in length, anything longer and it won't be HIIT anymore.


VO2 max

What is VO2 max?

VO2Max is the maximum volume of oxygen that your body can effectively utilise during sport or exercise.


How can I improve my VO2 max scores? 

The best way to improve your VO2 max scores is to do cardio based training.


My VO2 max is low in the report but when I had it tested it was high?

The scale looks at adaptability and not your actual scores, your high score may be based off of training or just genetically starting off with higher than average scores.


How would knowing my VO2 max help me?

Knowing your VO2 max score can be an indicator of your fitness levels.  It would also help to know how well your body utilises oxygen during sport and exercise.


Why is my genetic VO2 max important if it can change?

It's important in helping to improve your fitness levels by knowing what type of cardio would be more suited to you, for example: steady state cardio or interval cardio.


Recovery speed

What do you mean by recovery?

We are looking at recovery from weight training and HIIT days.  This is the amount of time of rest recommended in between weight or HIIT sessions.


What happens if I don't wait the recommended time to recover before training again? 

Recovery can take longer and more damage can be done to the muscles.


Does massage help recovery?

Massage can help with recovery in terms of reducing pain and stiffness.


I don't feel stiff after training, doesn't that mean I don't have to wait to recover?

You should still allow for recovery before going into another weight training session.


What if I am an elite athlete and I have to train daily but my recovery is slow?

Use recovery methods such as steady state cardio in between sessions or use split sessions of weight training and cardio training on the same day but a minimum of 6 hours apart to allow for recovery as well. 

Can my recovery rate change?

Using the recovery methods you can actually speed up your recovery times.


Does this influence stiffness after training?

No it does not.  Not everyone feels stiffness the same way or adapts to training the same.

Injury risk

I have never been injured, but I have a high injury risk?

It is not a predictor of injury but rather telling you what your chances of picking up an injury are.


What are soft tissues?

Soft tissues are ligaments and tendons.


What is eccentric loading? 

It is the negative repetition in an exercise. Lowering or secondary phase of an exercise.


How can I improve this?

By doing eccentric loading and ensuring correct form and technique when performing exercises.


Can I decrease injury risk by taking calcium supplements to strengthen my bones? 

We only focus on the soft tissues within your body and not bones.


Does my injury risk influence the type of sports I can play?

No it does not as with all sports there are injury risks that come associated with playing sports.

Many companies such as 23andMe, AncestryDNA and Helix offer a wide range of tests that provide you with genetic analysis. However, the DNAFit reports on fitness and nutrition, or diet, offer a comprehensive look at how you can personalise your fitness to live healthier and train more efficiently than ever before.

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