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CAN GENETIC TESTING HELP YOU GET FIT & LOSE WEIGHT?

Fitbit, Nike+, Strava… we’re Generation Tech when it comes to our health, but Generation Genetics is snapping at our heels. Advances in genetic testing mean that we can now tailor our diet and fitness plan to our genes. So if you’ve always wondered why your friend’s diet plan isn’t working for you, or why your running buddy is galloping ahead, it could be your genes.

Words: Victoria Purcell

‘What myself and every other personal trainer does to evaluate a client is educated guesswork,’ says Leanne Spencer of Bodyshot, a local personal training company that offers the DNAFit range of products. ‘We don’t know genetically what’s going on, so when we give nutritional advice it’s based on your food diary and our knowledge of nutrition, but we don’t know if a specific diet is going to work until we’ve tried it. DNAFit clearly shows if you have a high sensitivity to carbohydrates or saturated fat, so we can give much more balanced, tailored nutritional advice.’

The DNAFit genetic test looks at two subsets of dominant genes – one relates to fitness, the other to diet. Discovering your genetic predisposition towards these elements of diet and fitness allows your personal trainer to develop the optimum training and nutrition programme for your body. So who is DNAFit designed for?

‘It’s all based on optimal health, which is Bodyshot’s philosophy’

‘Anyone who has an interest in fitness, weight management or is simply striving for optimal health,’ says Leanne. ‘If you were training for a specific event, like a marathon, I’d really recommend it. We’d look at your power versus endurance profile and tailor the training to your strengths, and if your profile indicates you’re genetically predisposed to fast recovery, then we could layer on training every day. Your injury profile will tell us if we need to build in more stretching or yoga, or if we perhaps need to leave a clear two-day recovery period between sessions. But for the majority of my clients, the nutritional report is the most illuminating.’

READ: THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR WORKOUTS

I took the test to see what it’s all about. I’m not trying to lose weight, nor am I training for an event, but I am a cyclist, a bit of a gym bunny and quite the glutton, and optimal health is something I think a lot of us sporty-foodie types strive for.

The reports you get back from the test are extensive and it’s fascinating to see your genes laid out in a handy infographic. I was surprised by my 69.2% power to 30.8% endurance ratio. I thought I’d score around 50-50, aware that endurance isn’t my thing, and I’ve never felt ‘powerful’. But as it happens, I started weight training this year to prepare for a 140km cycling event and really took to lifting weights. So maybe we figure these things out for ourselves eventually? But a genetic profile certainly speeds things up.

My report also recommended a low-carbohydrate diet as I metabolise carbs slowly. But don’t active people need more carbs for fuel? This is where a Bodyshot personal trainer can help – their expertise will guide you through the quagmire of genes-versus-environment to build a balanced diet and training plan.

‘It’s all based on optimal health, which is Bodyshot’s philosophy,’ says Leanne. ‘Offering DNAFit is an obvious layer on top of what we already do. Our job is empower people to feel confident exercising, to progress and to love it.’

DNAFit Fitness Diet Pro is £249 and DNAFit Diet Pro is £199. See bodyshot-pt.co.uk/dnafit

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