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Is Genetic Testing The Future Of Athletic Performance?

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Genetic TestingWhile at the Chicago Marathon Expo, I stopped at the booth Orig3n and learned about their cell repository and DNA testing services offered. They have 3 product lines: Lifecapsule, Lifeprofile, and Lifesystems. The service that I was really interested in was the Fitcode, which is under the Lifeprofile product line. It is a personalized genetic analysis of your potential and pre-disposition of Endurance, Muscle Strength, Metabolism, and Exercise Recovery.  The theory is with the information, ultimately you can tailor your workouts/training to play to your genetic make-up. Let’s say, my genetic code is favoring endurance and not supporting muscle strength and power. I may gear my run training heavily towards long slow mileage and not focus much on speed work. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to go ahead and order the Fitcode Fitness Profile. I really wanted to see if my past performance would be aligned with the test results. Since I had the testing completed, I’ve heard it discussed on the Primal Endurance podcast and it seems to be a growing trend in the fitness and endurance industry.

It took about 3 weeks to receive my profile. I suspected base I my past running/sports performance and training that my genetic profile would favor strength and power and not as much for endurance. The profile verified this. I have several genes that supported my endurance, but one or two that were not in favor. In regard to strength and power, all the genetic markers were supporting or neutral in my performance. This will allow me to better tailor my training and know that it is really imperative to work in speed work when training for endurance races.

Are these DNA Tests a good thing, however? What if someone who loves and excels at distance running gets DNA analysis back and it highly favors speed and power? Are they always going to be thinking in the back of their mind that they can’t achieve their distance goals because they are not genetically programmed to do so? How are these tests impacting the psychology of sports? Personally, going into a competition I don’t want to know what one expects of me. When I play a singles tennis match against a significantly better opponent, I don’t know that she is a better player and I will play so much better because I don’t play expectations on myself. However, when I am aware that “so-and-so” is undefeated let say, often I lose the match in my mind before I even start playing because that is what I am expecting to do. I am wondering if these tests are placing those expectations on athletes. Are we setting them up to fail and placing unnecessary expectations and limitations that we would already know without the testing?

Until Next Time…

~Be The Change

 

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About the Author:

Runner, yogi, registered nurse, wife and mother of 2 beautiful boys in Dayton, OH. I hope to educate, empower and inspire others live more mindfully and balanced lives!
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