In part one of this series, we followed your DNA’s journey from the moment you provide your sample to the point when our laboratory identifies your individual genetic results.
Now it’s time to reveal how that data is transformed into your actionable recommendations, and what the future holds for our clients.
The FitnessGenes Model
To create your personalised recommendations, the FitnessGenes science team consider a number of factors. Although they are hugely influential on the outcome, it is not enough to look at your DNA results in isolation. Instead, we combine your results with your lifestyle data, our on-going in-house research, and the feedback provided by our clients.
Your DNA is made up of 3 billion base pairs (ATCG), and contains information for around 20,000 genes1. FitnessGenes carries out genotyping on your DNA, which looks at genetic differences in single, specifically selected genes, as opposed to DNA sequencing which studies the whole genome. The storage space required for a whole genome is on average 200GB2, far too much information to digest at once!
During our laboratory process we collect data on 42 genetic variants that have been identified by our science team, from an in-depth analysis of scientific literature, to be the most interesting and relevant genes linked with training, nutrition, and physiology.
When they receive and register their kit, each client is asked to complete their lifestyle questionnaire. Your lifestyle provides context to your genetic information, enabling our science team to make more specific and accurate recommendations. Whilst your genetic information does not change, your environmental factors vary throughout your life, having a knock on effect to your body’s responses.
A prime example of the impact your lifestyle data can have is testosterone production. At FitnessGenes we currently analyse four genes linked to testosterone levels in men: ESR1, SHBG1, SHBG2, and ACTN3. Whilst your variants of these genes may indicate that you have high testosterone production, factors such as weight, age, and activity level and impact your overall testosterone score. An obese, inactive, 60 year old is unlikely to produce the same levels of testosterone than a fit, active, 25 year old, even if they do share the same genetic variations.
Lifestyle data provides an important piece of the puzzle; without it we would be unable to weigh up all the factors involved and end up giving erroneous recommendations as a result.
Sport scientists and physiologist are constantly discovering more about the impact different genetic variants have on the physiological systems in our bodies. The FitnessGenes science team frequently review this academic literature as it becomes available, to update and modifying our information, ensuring our model is always evolving with the latest research.
On occasion we also send out feedback questionnaires to a subsection of our client base. This feedback is critical as it allows us to refine the reports and recommendations we provide, as well as highlighting new areas for our science team to focus their research on.
Genetic Workout Plans
If you want to put your DNA results straight into action the next time you walk into the gym, the FitnessGenes training team have developed a series of genetically tailored and goal specific workout plans.
Drawing on their years of experience in the personal training industry, our team have designed plans targeted to the goals of fat loss and muscle building. Each plan is then customised to reflect your individual FitnessGenes results and recommendations, to make sure you are getting the most out of each workout.
In addition to our existing core Genetic Workout Plans (Starter, Fat Loss, and Muscle Building), the training team are currently designing progression plans for each, with the aim to host a whole library of plans that our clients can pick and choose from.
The field of genomics is rapidly advancing, and FitnessGenes is aiming to keep pace by upgrading our genotyping technology in early 2017, to offer a wider set of results and more accurate recommendations. Research is well underway on new genetic variants of interest, as well as revamping our training and nutrition plans.
These upgrades will be made available for all existing clients, with more details being released soon.
And that is the FitnessGenes process, decoded from start to finish. If you are yet to unlock your unique fitness DNA, you can do so by purchasing your FitnessGenes DNA analysis kit of Genetic Workout System from our online shop.
- A Guide to Your Genome. National Human Genome Research Institute 2007.
- Genomics 101, Front Line Genomics Magazine, 2016