Ahhhh. So that’s what I’m made of!

ImageThis week has been pretty awesome despite not being able to train due to work commitments.  I received two emails that contained information that I had been waiting for.  The first one which I was really excited about were the results of a recent DNA sample that I gave to a company called Muscle Genes who provide a personalised report with recommendations on your training, nutrition and supplementation based on findings from a number of particular genes they test for.   The second email came from the conditioning coach at my MMA gym as I went to see him for a nutrition and lifestyle consultation. 

The reason why I decided to get a genetics profile done and have a consultation at my gym is because I want to take the guesswork out of my training and nutrition.  There is nothing wrong with finding out what works and what doesn’t work for you by trial and error but I wanted to have some extra help so I can really pinpoint my issues.

My genetics report came back with a lot of interesting information and my nutrition/lifestyle report came back with great tips on the problem areas I need to improve and also a list of suggested meal plans which I will definitely be incorporating.

So, now for the really cool stuff – the findings of my genetics report!   My gene result summary came back with:

You are a better than average responder to resistance exercise.  You have a fast metabolism and have a relatively easy time avoiding weight gain and are likely to be able to burn off body fat better than most genotypes.   Your report will detail several strategies which address the way your particular genotype metabolises calories, carbs and fat.  Your genotypes don’t suggest that there is any limit to your endurance/aerobic exercise potential and you may have slightly better than average potential. 

I didn’t actually agree with their summary saying that I have a relatively easy time avoiding weight gain and burning off body fat as these two areas I have always struggled with.  But when I looked through the report, it actually all made sense because some of the recommendations they came back with were things that I haven’t looked at before and also with the tips I received from my nutrition/lifestyle report I think combining them all will make a big difference and I will be able to get my body working as efficiently as it can be.

Here’s a list of some of the findings from my genetics report:

–  My genotype indicates a predisposition towards slow-twitch muscle and endurance performance

 I respond well to higher volume and repetition training.  I agree with this as I have found this out from my training

–  I produce the highest levels of a protective muscle protein, which improves and enhances recovery after heavy lifting.   As a result I have excellent anabolic muscle signalling and have excellent recuperation, experiencing less muscle damage and increased strength in response to resistance training.  However, research suggests I also experience more inflammation in response to training due to higher IL-6 levels.  IL-6 is one of the most important markers of inflammation used by scientists and can be a major contributor to muscle wasting. I found the point re. IL-6 really interesting as I recently did a training programme called PipeHitter which made me bloat out like a puffer fish amongst other negative effects so that would explain my excessive inflammation from constantly training at such a high intensity

–  I am a ‘night owl’ and my genotype is best able to function normally despite interrupted or inadequate sleep.  I am able to deal with lack of sleep better and it’s less likely to negatively affect my physical or cognitive performance.   This also makes total sense as I usually get around 5 hours sleep a night and I can function pretty well the next day. I am not going to take this for granted as sleep is something I want to improve and despite the fact this was in my report I am not going to think that means I am okay to continue with my current routine.   I want to be able to sleep more!

 I am a low cortisol secretor. I found this really interesting as I have always thought I had high cortisol levels and after having a few bio signature body fat readings my stomach which is linked to high cortisol always came out as number 1.  I’m going to monitor my stomach progress carefully over the next few months

 My insulin efficiency is above average

–  My use of fat for fuel is higher than average

 I produce a relatively higher testosterone response in response to resistance exercise. Woohoo! People have always said I have big balls for a girl. LOL!

So now I know what I am truly made of, that means I can tweak my training, nutrition and supplementation following the recommendations from Muscle Genes.  This is what I will be doing:

–  Incorporating drop sets to failure in my strength training making the first two sets as heavy as possible with 6-8 reps

–   Use 4-8 exercises per body part.  The higher number is for larger muscles (legs, back & chest)

–  Switch my exercises and the order I do them in every three weeks as my muscles are very adaptive and recover quickly

–  Take 30mg of zinc and a probiotic every day 

–  Reduce my daily calorie intake by 80-120 cals to lose fat whilst maintaining maximum muscle

–  Have 20g of whey protein just before exercise

–  Keep my starchy carbs intake to only morning or straight after training

–  Eat 2g of protein per kilo of my body weight

–  Aim to be in bed for at least 7hrs before I wake up (no more Facebook or Twitter after 9pm on weekdays.  Wow, I’m going to be going through serious withdraw symptoms to start with!)

–  Avoid large portions of starch and sugar

–  Eat the meals and snacks that are listed in my nutrition plan allowing for one ‘cheat’ meal at the weekend and one ‘mini’ cheat during the week (this wasn’t part of my genetics report but the foods have been recommended based on my nutrition consultation)

I have to admit that I’m pretty excited to see what effect the recommendations will have on my training and progress.  Normally when I make changes to my training and nutrition I will only do up to two things at a time so I know what works and what doesn’t.  But the above recommendations are all tailored for me according to my genetics so I’m pretty confident that I’ll see some good results.  I’ll keep you all posted!

 If you would like to find out more info about Muscle Genes you can go to www.musclegenes.com

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