With all the nutrition plans, diet fads, workout routines and fitness plans, how does a person decide what to eat or how to train? Some people hire nutritionists and coaches to guide their lifestyle. Others do whatever their friends are doing. Still, others do what they first learned or first had success with and continue because it’s comfortable.
How do you know what to eat or how to train your body so you can be fit, lean and healthy — without breaking the bank or driving yourself mad? DNA. You are the only you, so doing a workout meant for someone else or eating a nutrition plan meant for someone else seems silly.
Here are some common questions we get about how DNA helps to guide ideal nutrition, and how to train the body for maximum fat burn and muscle growth.
Q: What does my DNA say about how I should be eating?
A: When it comes to nutrition, we look at the three big energy components: protein, carbohydrates and fat. These are the macronutrients that make up the food we eat and how we fuel our bodies. Each person’s utilization of these macronutrients is different. If you have a low utilization of fat, for instance, you would not be well served to go on a ketogenic style diet, where most of your calories come from fat sources. If you have an enhanced ability to utilize carbohydrates, a low carb diet would not serve you as well as one that gave you more vegetables, tubulars (think potatoes) and fruit. If you have a normal utilization of protein, you would not be adding benefit by ingesting excessive amounts. Depending on your goal, weight loss, performance, anti-aging or healthy energy, how you fuel your body is led by how your body utilizes your macronutrients, which is determined by your DNA.
Q: Should I be doing more cardio, or would it be better to do fasted cardio?
A: Each person’s ability to burn body fat is determined by their genetic predisposition to the utilization of glycogen. That is the energy from the food we use to fuel our bodies. If your body moves through the glycogen in your body slower before it gets to burning body fat, you can waste a lot of time working out with no result. What does that mean? What are the options? If your body moves through glucose slower, you have three options:
1. You can do fasted cardio. This is my favorite option, as it is a time saver. Get up, drink water, go to the gym (without eating), do the work, then eat breakfast.
2. You can do your weight training first. For those who work out in the afternoon or after work, or being fasted makes them feel sick, this is a great option. Resistance training breaks down muscle tissue, going through glucose faster, which lends to moving quicker to burning body fat. Thirty minutes of weights followed by 30 minutes of cardio is efficient for an hour in the gym.
3. You can do duration cardio. This means steady state cardio for a minimum of 60 minutes. This is an excellent option for endurance athletes or a greenbelt hike, but it isn’t the most time-efficient. Knowing how your body moves through glucose by knowing your DNA can help you achieve your goals without wasting time.
Q: If I am trying to reduce body fat, should I do more weight training or cardio?
A: If your DNA reflects that your genotype showed the “favorable” gene combinations, this means that, in addition to improvements in strength and muscle mass, you are likely to experience weight loss and a reduction in your body fat percentage from weight training. When you have this information, you can make sure to lift weights that are heavy enough to work at a moderate-to-hard intensity. Time under tension, or heavier weight or more time will give you maximum benefit. Having the information of your DNA and your body’s predisposition to perform will be the guide to building lean muscle tissue and increasing your strength while reducing your body fat percentage.