Everyone who is serious about their sport are looking for that ‘silver bullet’ or marginal gain that will put them ahead of the competition. Be it a cycle race, Time trial, Sportive, Triathlon, Ironman, Duathlon – or even for someone wanting the best out of their gym time or even understand how their diet may be holding them back in every day life
In amateur sport the performance ‘bar’ has been raised so much over the last 10-15 years, that often the ‘amateurs’ are more knowledgeable and well versed in those tiny opportunities for advantages than the professionals are!
Over my 15+ years in sport I have noticed the shift from those who trained the hardest, or were seen to be the ‘most gifted’, to those who train smart and optimise every part of their performance ‘armoury’, All the elements I felt are critical to address when looking at the ‘performance equation’ and something that I have formalised through +VIEWPOINT,
One interesting area of development of the past few years following the complete mapping of the human genome is the role that our innate DNA plays in our success (or not). We all know and remember the kid at school who was best at everything, the view was they were more ‘gifted’ than the rest of us and success just came to them like a magnet. There has been lots of research into how true (or not) this is, and its something I have looked at in the past see the article on my partner page at Bike Company Evo2Max http://www.evo2max.com/news?aid=12995
So what if, through insight into our own unique DNA genetic make up we could get an indication of where we may find some marginal gains? It all sounds a bit far fetched and ‘Star Trek’. I was intrigued and looked into it, There has been a host of medical, published research on how different genotypes and genetic variations (called SNP’s or ‘snips’ manifest themselves and gives us an indication of HOW someone with X genotype may be predisposed to perform in certain circumstances.
For example there are 15 genes that have been heavily researched in Endurance and power athletes, Basically research was done to see what type of training athletes responded to the best, These athletes gene ‘SNPS’ were then reviewed and mapped, to give a matrix of genotype variations and how someone will repsond to training base don those genes. e.g.: Someone with II (double insertion) of the ACE (angiostensin converting enzyme) have been seen to respond best to endurance & high rep weight training, as they have increased amounts of ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibres and have a greater effect on aerobic efficiency and VO2 max. Basically if you are ‘II’ for ACE you will respond better in training results from endurance based exercise.
When all mapped these 15 genes give us an indication of what ‘mix’ of endurance to Power (interval) training works best for us individually. This intrigued me. personally & from a coaching perspective. If i could understand this and train and coach in such a way to maximise this particular factor for that individual we would have truly individual training, but also truly optimised. So really simply, someone whose DNA genotype suggest they repsond best to 100% endurance training, there is very little point doing loads of high power intervals – their body responds best to endurance etc etc.
I took the test my self, a simply mouth DNA swab that was sent for analysis. Then I was hooked up with a DNA expert ‘trainer’ who talked me through the results
The results provision was HUGE, below is just a headline sample, But it covered every area of training, recovery, injury & diet with hints tips, recipes and ways to maximsie my genetic potential… which I eagerly have implemented.
For me, I respond best to approx 60% endurance work to 40% power – so training 6 days a week I will do intervals on about 2 of them , and space well as I know my recovery time can be slower, although i also know how to ‘speed this up’ through my diet.
I have been keen to implement this with coaching clients, So i trained to become a DNAFit expert, to administer, interpret and implement the results of the tests, and to then allow us to maximise their opportunity for ‘Marginal gains’. So far we are VERY excited about what we see!