Eat like a champion

healthy plate

So I’ve already gone through my DNA results for training performance therefore its time to go through the nutrition side of things. This is split into macronutrient advice (carbs/fats & protein) and micronutrient advice (vitamins/minerals). Ever wondered why one type of diet works for some people but not others and why there is no one size fits all diet? Well genetic fit to the diet is probably the main reason, a calorie is not just a calorie!

Some people are very sensitive to eating carbohydrates leading to large swings in blood glucose. This gives you a quick high in energy when consuming these foods but also a crash in energy a few hours later. I have never really experienced this and not surprisingly my DNA results showed a low sensitivity to carbohydrates and also saturated fat. This makes me one of those lucky people who can (as long as they exercise) get away with a lot of naughty food.

I do however have a higher than average risk of developing coeliac disease so as much as I may seem to be able to tolerate rubbish food based on my waistline it is sensible for me to eat healthy as I won’t notice the heart disease and coeliac disease creeping on until its well established. I mention heart disease as I also have a higher than average sensitivity to salt intake and I do not gain the benefits of raised HDL cholesterol from moderate alcohol consumption.

So what about the smaller nutrients and supplementation? My micronutrient profile shows a raised need for omega 3 fats, vitamins B6, B9 (folate*), B12 & D. Also I have a greater need for antioxidants due to my moderately reduced capacity to reduce free radical damage on a standard diet. Overall my detoxification ability is fast so standard dietary guidelines for vegetable intake should suffice.

It is important to note that if you have raised needs for any of these areas then standard dietary guidelines will not lead to a healthy enough diet for reducing your risk of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and diet related cancers. The overall point of this sort of DNA testing is not to scare you and it will not tell you your risk of getting a particular disease. It will tell you how well your body deals with various nutrients from food and therefore what sort of diet is best for you.

As for supplements most people should be able to obtain the majority of their needs from food although if you are going to achieve this it is important to buy high quality produce not just the cheap stuff from Tesco etc. Yes that stuff is still technically the same food but cheap, low standard production results in less nutrients than you would expect under higher quality farming methods.

 

If you are interested in getting your DNA tested you can check the DNAfit website for further details. In the next week or so I will be offering this service from this website so I can give you a small discount on the DNAfit prices which will include a personal consultation to explain your results and what you can do with them. We also have expert personal trainers on site if you wish to follow your training advice under our supervision.

*Folate and folic acid are 2 different forms of vitamin B9. Within the body folic acid will after a complicated series of chemical reactions be turned into folate which is then used to reduce homocysteine (a marker of heart disease) levels. The conversion of folic acid to folate can slow the whole process down so personally I would recommend either consuming plenty of dark green leafy veg (and other foods that contains folate) or supplementing with folate rather than folic acid.

DNA Results

 

spiderman

Well I promised you I’d share my results when I got them so here they are; unfortunately I do not have Spiderman’s ability to climb buildings hidden in my DNA. If I’d known that before my results I wouldn’t have bothered swimming in a pit of tarantula’s and then trying to climb the town hall. All joking aside though as you will see the results do show that I would be more suited to some activities than others so the next step is to adapt my training plan and diet to these results.

Training responses: So I apparently have a 71% endurance response meaning only 29% power response. This doesn’t mean I should be running marathons, it means that whatever I am training for I should bias my training plan 71% towards the endurance side of that activity.

For example a 100m runner with this sort of profile would actually find more benefit than you would normally expect for a 100m runner by doing higher rep weights and longer sprints such as 150m/200m and maybe even 300m reps. Traditionally a 100m would rarely run above 200m and almost always lift heavy and/or fast for less than 5 reps per set.typical strenght traing

If I were however to train for a marathon I would benefit from longer steadier runs and/or high volume/lower intensity intervals compared to someone with a higher power response percentage. Those with say 40% + power response would be better including a decent amount of heavier and faster weight lifting plus shorter and faster intervals in their training, without completely neglecting the mileage of course.

Interestingly my recovery speed potential is rated as fast on a scale from very fast to very slow. This probably explains while at my peak of 400m training a few years ago I was able to train twice a day some days for a total of 9-11 training sessions per week. As I look back at my old training diaries my best 2 seasons on the track were the seasons when I did my highest volume of training, closest to the 71%/29% endurance/power split I mentioned above. However it was my repeated soft tissue injuries that scuppered my plans to progress further.

This motivated me to learn more and more about injury prevention eventually becoming a chiropractor, after initially qualifying as a personal trainer and sports masseuse. My results now provide an underlying reason for these muscle pulls (even in seasons when my training volume was much lower) as they show my soft tissue and inflammation risk to be higher than average.

So in summary as long as I use my chiropractic skills and knowledge to minimise my modifiable soft tissue injury risk I can cope with a higher than average training volume. Despite my desire to run 400m again I should be sensible with the amount of high intensity training I do as I am more likely to benefit from around 71% endurance type 400m training. Looks like I’ll be training with the 800m peeps this winter!

I will post the diet responses next week as it is more detailed than the training response. A quick teaser shows that my carbohydrate and fat sensitivities are nice and low which for those of you who know me well enough will now understand why I can scoff so much cake without ill effects!

DNA update

DNAWell I did promise I’d have the results of my DNA test up by now but unfortunately there has been a delay due to a problem with my sample apparently….not that kind of sample before you make jokes about my swimming ability! New test kit should arrive this week so still hoping to have some results on here in 2-3 weeks time.

I thought I’d just tease you with some examples of what DNA testing can tell you in the meantime. There are 2 main areas the DNAfit team assess; nutrition and training related gene variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms pronounced “snips” for short (SNP’s). There are at least 3 large, quality studies backing up the recommendations for each of these genes and their effects unlike some of the less scrupulous companies out there.

So I will go through an example of each with you, starting with nutrition. Should you have a low carb diet or not? Well many popular fad diets recommend that these days with some evidence to support in a certain percentage of the population but not others. Transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) is a transcription factor that affects several genes involved with the control of blood sugar levels. An individual may have 2 copies of the “C” allele, 2 copies of the “T” allele or on of each meaning they are “CT”.

The significance of this is individuals with 2 copies of the T allele (TT) generally respond poorly to a low carb/high fat diet. In weight loss studies individuals with the TT allele show the greatest difficulty in losing weight and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes especially with a poor diet. The good news is matching these individuals to a diet and exercise regime appropriate for their individual genotype (including other genes not just TCF7L2) does lead to significant weight loss (if overweight) and improved blood sugar control.

Example 2 is taken from the training advice side. Alpha-actinin 3 (ACTN3) is a gene associated with fast twitch muscle fibres. The “R” allele is associated with better performance in power and strength based sports. There are several other genes involved in sporting performance but if you don’t have the RR genotype then you are less likely to be elite in power based sports.

The good news about this gene though is that depending on your genotype (RR/RX or XX) and regardless of your training goal we can predict which type of training will give you the most athletic improvement. So even if your goal is to do a triathlon or marathon your training results may actually be better with an increased amount of power based training compared to traditional “textbook” endurance training. Vice versa with speed/power based athletes, some of you depending on your genotype may benefit more from increased endurance training rather than lots of short duration/high intensity/long rest interval stuff.

Yes I know this goes against conventional training wisdom but no training routine or diet works for anywhere near 100% of people. Studies are even starting to appear that show improved sporting performance in endurance or power based training groups when they were matched to a training protocol based on their genetic analysis rather than what is traditionally thought to be the best type of training for that particular goal.

That’s your teaser for now, my DNA results to follow in another blog in the next few weeks, any questions pop them on Facebook or twitter unless you want to keep the private then email: exsicc@gmail.com