Genes in action: Preparing to run their first 10k

Sabina Muminović Last updated: 27 October 2023

Two friends have the same goal, but different workout and diet plans to reach it – why? Because of their unique genes.

We often think of genes as something vague and remote, determining traits we can’t influence: our height, eye colour. But genes are more involved in our day-to-day life than we think at first sight.

The interaction between genes and the environment is constant, and if we want to utilise the full power of the knowledge stored in our genes, we have to understand both our genetic predispositions and our current lifestyle.

To that end, we will show you real-life application of the information gleaned from genes. Your genetic predispositions might be just one of the many possible outcomes, but they can help build a solid foundation for reaching your goals.

 Getting ready for a marathon

Jack and Tom are in their mid-forties, and because they both love a good challenge, they’ve decided to run a 10-kilometer race in their home town. They are occasionally active but have never done anything of such magnitude, so they want to approach it smartly to prevent injuries and overtraining. They have six months to prepare and they decided to utilise every resource at their disposal – including doing a DNA test.

 Same goal, different predispositions

Being the same age and physical characteristics, and having the same goal, Jack and Tom thought that they could reach it the same way. But they were in for a surprise – their DNA test results showed they are not as similar as they thought!

They have different genetic predispositions for some of the traits with the biggest impact on reaching their goal. This means that they will have to take different paths if they want to cross the finish line of that marathon proudly.

Let’s look at some of the results of their DNA and blood test:

Comparison of DNA results of two men with same age and BMI

Personalised workout and diet plan

Jack and Tom’s predispositions require different approaches to both their nutrition and training.

Running is an endurance activity, so Tom’s predispositions for muscle structure and aerobic potential will help him reach his goal easier. Jack will have to work harder, but he has an advantage in terms of high heart capacity, which indicates a strong heart and a predisposition for a great improvement in terms of endurance.

Jack should recover faster than Tom, but his predisposition towards high CRP levels (indicating inflammation in the body) might impact recovery. A blood test shows that his current levels are optimal, but he should keep an eye on them with regular blood tests.

Tom’s body needs more time to recover, and his genetic predisposition to low CRP might help speed up the process. But his blood test shows that his current CRP levels are increased. To return them to normal, he should adjust his workout to prevent overtraining. Since he is predisposed to low levels of vitamin C, an important antioxidant that impacts inflammation, he will also benefit from increased intake of vitamin C (from food or supplements).

Tom and Jack both have a favourable predisposition to carbohydrates, which they can use to adjust their nutrition to the best training outcome. Because they exercise regularly, they should not drastically limit their carb intake. It slows down metabolism, elevates stress hormones and lowers the levels of hormones responsible for muscle growth. Instead, they both should take care to choose quality complex carbs.

Two men running in the park

Stop guessing what works and let your body tell you

By following their personalised recommendations which were created based on a combination of their:

  • potential strengths and weaknesses based on a DNA test,
  • current state revealed by a blood test,

they can both successfully reach their goal and cross another achievement off their bucket list.

No matter which sports goal did you set for yourself – prepare for a competition, get in better shape, lose weight or just boost your well-being – success starts with knowing your body. A DNA test, revealing your genetic predispositions, and a blood test, showing your current values of relevant blood markers, are your A-team players, leading you to victory.

Stop guessing what works and reach your goals faster and more efficiently!

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