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DNAFit Fitness Report FAQs

Posted 165 Days Ago in: Training, Genetics

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We’ve tested a lot of people at DNAFit over the years, and we’ve also got a lot of questions regarding our reports. In this article, our Head of Sport Science Craig Pickering is going to try and cover the answers to the most common questions regarding the fitness report, in the hope that it can increase people’s understanding of what it offer.

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 genetic testing, 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?

I 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 persons 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.

 

So 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!

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