5 things I learned from my FitnessGenes DNA test
Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Author Martin Cheifetz
Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Author Martin Cheifetz
I’ve been a physically active guy most of my life. I’m not a particularly good athlete, but I enjoy being outside, being fit, and being healthy. I also enjoy hitting the weights, but given the choice, I’d be outside cycling, hiking, kayaking, or skiing instead of being in the gym.
Like a lot of guys, my journey in the gym started as a scrawny teenager wanting to have some semblance of a masculine physique and evolved into strength training for specific sports. In my 40’s and now 50's, my trips into the weight room revolve around “aggressively fighting the ageing process”. As I’ve gotten older, my decision making process has become rather binary: Would I rather be strong...or weak? Would I rather be fit...or fat? Would I rather be full of energy...or lethargic? Every time I run through those choices, I find myself back in the weight room as I know it’s really the best thing from a body composition perspective, a strength perspective, for improving bone density, for healthier joints, and for increased testosterone levels.
I know all of this not only from trial and error over a lifetime of being physically active, but also because I spent 15 years at the helm of one of the largest fitness media companies on the planet and was directly involved in creating the health and fitness advice read by millions of people in a multitude of languages. I was very privileged to work with many of the world’s finest fitness writers, sports scientists, exercise physiologists, strength coaches, sports nutrition experts and dieticians; and I learned tremendous amount from them.
I was responsible for at least 150 versions of cover stories like “Get a 6 Pack in 6 Weeks” and another 450 versions of “Big Arms/Big Chest/Killer Wheels” stories and several hundred “Get Lean/Get Shredded” stories, so I believe I’ve read and edited enough excellent and authoritative content from very well educated and credible authors to say this: Chances are, those programs aren’t going to work for you.
That’s not because those programs are poor. In fact they’re excellent. The problem is, they’re generic. Just because they worked for the author, doesn’t mean they are going to work for you…..or me. In fact, I must have tried three or four new programs every year for 15 years while I was working at those magazines. Sometimes I made progress, but never anything substantial. To be fair, they all required too much time in the gym, and like a lot of people, I’m frankly not interested in lifting weights 5x per week.
It was through my work at the magazines that I met the crew at FitnessGenes. I took the DNA test and here’s a few things I learned that I was able to put into action right away:
Previously, when I went to the gym, let’s say for a pre-ski season leg session, my reasonably well educated rationale was: Skiing is equivalent to doing squats for 6 hrs, so the most specific thing I can do at the gym is to do a high volume leg workout…..so a million squats, deadlifts, leg presses, box jumps, and lunges, with pretty light loads. Muscular Endurance was my goal. Did I get a result out of those high volume sessions? Sure I did. Lifting weights with good form is never going to be a bad thing, however, it turns out that I was working way too hard and against my body’s natural tendencies. My typical “ski workout” would have been probably 45 sets of a light load x 15 reps with a fast tempo (for explosive skiing) and pretty limited rest periods.
Turns out, I was doing it all wrong. I should have been doing half the volume with twice the weight at half the speed. Well, at least I got the rest periods right! With all of my direct involvement in fitness media, I got the basics completely wrong. I can only assume that I’m not the only one who would make that mistake, but this is what happens when you simply guess or blindly follow someone else’s advice because it works for them. Long story short, I switched up my ski season training and ended up stronger, less sore, and with more energy.
No matter how lean I got, I was never able to lose my love handles. A six pack and love handles was always a mystery to me, and frankly, it drove me nuts. However, my ADRB2_2 result finally helped me explain why! I carry two copies of the ‘lower fat breakdown’ allele. Around 30% of the global population carry the CC variation, and research has shown those who do are more likely to have higher body fat levels than other genotypes, and have a tougher time shifting that weight.
I have the Fat Gene! I don’t exactly have the slimmest parents and I do have an appetite like a wildebeest, which I’ve now realised isn’t surprising as I carry two copies of the ‘increased obesity risk’ allele. Thankfully, I’ve been a bit of an exercise junkie all my life so have managed to keep the Fat Gene in check, but now that I know the risk, it will be something I keep in mind when planning my meals for years to come.
I’m Lactose Intolerant! Maybe that explains why unless I drank a WPI (Whey Protein Isolate….which has zero lactose) or a plant/egg/beef protein shake, I was always in a bit of gastric distress. Most forms of dairy protein powders (Whey Protein Concentrate, Casein, Milk Protein) all contain lactose….as does the natural dairy products from which these powders are derived. Thanks to my FitnessGenes DNA test, I solved another mystery, made some dietary changes and feel much better!
Maybe this is why it takes me so long to recover after exercise….genetic predisposition. My results taught me that having low levels of the protein interleukin 6 can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to muscle repair, and unfortunately my genotype produce the lowest levels of the three variations.
I’ve been able to beat the fat gene, but I still haven’t figured out how to beat the slow recovery gene. At least I now know to train at a frequency that is not going to negatively impact my progress, and justify my inability to go out for long bike rides two days in a row!
I’ve listed 5 things I learned, but that’s already with 15 years of background in the health and fitness business. If I was just a regular guy off the street, I would have learned 105 things from taking this test and reading this report. It is also clear to me that I could have saved myself a decade a gastric distress, lots of unnecessary head scratching, and untold hours of wasted time doing the wrong thing had I been able to take a FitnessGenes test 10 or 20 years ago.
The technology wasn’t readily available then, but it is now.
With every FitnessGenes DNA Analysis Test, you’ll get a specific review of over 40 genes that affect separate aspects of health and fitness. You’ll also receive a personalized Action Blueprint, which details your optimal training, nutrition and physiological strategies, and a genetically tailored nutrition calculator. Allow FitnessGenes to remove the guesswork, and the excuses! The information in here is amazing and I’d highly recommend you try it for yourself.