Genetic Testing For Response To Exercise Training
In the Sunday Times Style magazine 30 December 2012 there was an article about some of the latest exercise trends for 2013. Included in that list was genetic testing to predict how your body will react to different exercises and training regimes.
About XRPredict | Xrgenomics
About Metapredict | Metapredict
You have been diligently attending the gym for years, but are your workouts a complete waste of time? In a recent study, Jamie Timmons, professor of systems biology at Loughborough University, and a team of researchers from Britain and America found that not only are the benefits of aerobic exercise determined by our genes, but that some people are programmed not to respond very well. For up to one fifth of the participants in trials — dubbed the nonresponders - maximum oxygen uptake did not rise at all, despite exercising.
Timmons has developed a genetic test called XRPredict (£199; xrgenomics.co.uk) to determine individual aptitude for fitness that will be widely used by gyms and personal trainers from 2013 onwards, helping people make the decision whether to take up Pilates, weight training or marathon running. "We want to give people better advice that will be driven by hard science, not guesswork," Timmons says.” The Sunday Times 30 December 2012, Style section Page 26
It seems to be very new still but has anyone had any experience with this sort of testing? It sounds like it could potentially be quite useful as a way of tailoring your training for the best results.:)
After 24 years of racing, I have to wonder if I would get anything out of a genetic test. It's kind of like the corporate health screening I took last year ...they told me that I had a moderate health risk ...which was, of course, my age dang it.
So if they tell you you're genetically predisposed to suck at endurance sports are you going to take up bodybuilding instead? That's just my immediate thought, like how is this going to help training. What if it suggests ballet? Second thought is that this is a money grab, pure and simple. It's just another service for gyms to offer with a high mark-up and no benefit. That's my gut feeling.
Originally Posted by WR304
Genetics testing is great if you want to study.....genetics. Physiological testing is great if you want to study your body's reaction to physical training and sports performance. Genetics testing is just a marketing term thrown around by snake oil salesmen. It wont tell you how to train, when to train, what to train, where to train, or who to train with. Save your money for carbon fiber wheels...cuz that's really what makes the difference between champions and also rans. ;)
While I have no idea if the test is accurate, there is no question that genetics are THE determining factor when it comes to your physical potential. Training only determines how close you get to that potential. I hope athletes are generally clear on that, although I know that many people still belive in the old (and dumb) saying that "if you put your mind to it you can do anything".
You must have not taken genetics?
Originally Posted by sumgai
What if I am old 30+ and I just ride for fun every single chance that I have but when I do have the time I like to be out there riding for 8 hrs.
Will my money be better spend in this or on some of the drugs that Lance used to maximize my performance to fun ratios?
Potential unrealized doesn't matter. THE determining factors when it comes to performance are generally going to be training and nutrition, with genetics in third. I'm sure there are lots of people out there with a greater genetic potential than me, but unless they're training and properly fueling their bodies for performance and recovery they won't come close to me in a race. The thing with this test is (to any degree that is even works, because the link between genetics and performance is massively complex and you can be sure these guys don't have it all figured out) that no matter what it tells you, you can't do anything about it anyway. You can't change your genetics, so how is it going to help your training. At all.
Originally Posted by serious
30's is OLD?
Originally Posted by Camaleon
I'm gonna need you to get me of Lance's good stuff........I NEED me some KOM's :D
Try to understand what I said. I said that the determining factor when it comes to potential is genetics. Changing "potential" with "performance" to suit you preferred feel-good explanation is silly.
Originally Posted by DLd
And unrealized potential is a reflection on less than ideal training, dedication, nutrition and all that good stuff.
I understood exactly what you said, obviously, or I wouldn't have made the comment about unrealized potential. I then said that what really matters is performance. Geebus, what the hell has happened to reading comprehension in this country... I think using genetics as an excuse is just a feel-good explanation. Regardless, this test is useless for improving your cycling performance.
Originally Posted by serious
KOM's are overrated and Strava is a game.
If you record your rides with different devices you get different results on the same ride.
Different times, mileage, elevation and even route when zooming in.
So if you want KOM's try your next ride with a different GPS unit.
It would be pretty cool if a test taking less time than trying it for a season could predict stuff like whether I'm more predisposed to endurance racing or track racing, and what kind of a mix of low-intensity cycling, high-intensity cycling, pumping iron, etc. would most "faster" me. Especially since with the current level of stability in my life, the signal-to-noise ratio isn't very good - at the moment, my best correlation is that when I have time to train regularly, I'm faster. (Go figure.)
Speaking of reading comprehension (or lack of it :D), this test is supposed to determine your pre-disposition to certain training, not to improve your cycling performance. So at least get that part right, because the part about the genetics is clearly above your head. :rolleyes:
Originally Posted by DLd
That seems to be a common denominator for most everyone I wonder if it's all part of our genetic make up?
Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
Riders who ride more get faster
I don't care if with a crappy VO2 max they tell me I would be GREAT at Pilates LOL; we do what we love and the "heart" and passion can't be measured by that BS LOL
Originally Posted by WR304
On the other hand it is widely known that VO2 max increase around 30% average while lactate threshold increase is more significant with training. Anyway, other "magic" thing to sale at the gym
Getting in on this late....
On one hand I'd be curious, as I seem to train harder than almost everyone around me (higher volume/higher intensity sprinkled in/more structure and scrutiny to my workout schedule/etc etc etc) just to try to keep up with the back of the pack. I've fiddled with various things over the years and really the bottom line seems like I just have to work my butt off to get results others seem to achieve with a fraction of my effort.
OTOH if I find out my suspicions are true, it might be super demotivating.
Then again I haven't ever raced and have no desire to in the future, so being slower isn't really the end of the world.
.... and round and round it goes....
Originally Posted by verslowrdr
are you on an inhaler ? have you tried an inhaler ?
go get some albuterol take a huff then ride yer arse off. didja do any better ? if so you don't have any real problems and may need to have your lung capacity at least checked out when under aerobic load.
Yes, have tried an inhaler. The only time it makes a difference is ~6 weeks in the spring when certain trees are blooming.
This is quite an old thread. There's another newer thread on the same theme also which is largely a continuation of this one.
I've added some content of posts from that thread below here as they're relevant.:)
This is a Vimeo video of the original BBC Horizon: The Truth About Exercise documentary (which should be viewable from anywhere, not just the UK). That gives the background to why I started this thread in the first place and is well worth watching:
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/51836895" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/51836895">The Truth About Exercise</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user14120325">Chef Central</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
This interview on The Verge covers the topic of genetics and sport:
Genetics and the jock: inside the new science of athletic excellence | The Verge
It's about this new book: "The Sports Gene" by David Epstein
The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance: David Epstein: 9781591845119: Amazon.com: Books
It looks like an interesting book. I'm going to buy it I think.:)
As I finally got through reading it I thought I'd do a quick review.:)
First of all, it's not a science reference book, more of an overview of how genetics affects sports performance. It's intended to be readable and is aimed at a more general mainstream audience. You have to really bear that in mind.
A lot of it consists of anecdotes and stories describing exceptional sports performances. There's a heavy emphasis on the big US sports (basketball, baseball and NFL) along with running, which is probably understandable given the writer's background as a runner and journalist with Sports Illustrated magazine.
If you've read Lore of Running by Dr Tim Noakes quite a lot of the material on African distance running is reminiscent of that book.
The parts I found most interesting were Chapters 5 (The Talent of Trainability) and Chapter 15 (The Heartbreak Gene).
Chapter 5 dealt with trainability, fitness and how much of that is inherited from your parents. It looks at the HERITAGE study, a sample of ninety eight families selected in 1992 for studying how regular exercise would affect previously untrained people and their VO2 MAX. They also took DNA samples to try and identify gene variants that may predict the inherited component of an individual subject's aerobic improvement.
What they found was that there was a wide range of uneven responses between families, some families responding poorly to exercise and not improving much at all, whilst others had excellent responses, gaining fitness rapidly from the same exercise that the poor responders were doing also. For the same amount of effort the fitness results weren't the same for everyone. They went on to identify combinations of genes that may be predictors of why this occurred.
Baseline levels of fitness are also uneven. Some people have higher fitness levels even if they don't exercise:
"In the late nineties Gledhill and Jamnik, along with York researcher Marco Martino, set out to see whether they could identify and study such naturally fit folk. Part of their work was to administer fitness screenings to young men hoping to become Toronto firefighters. Over two years, the team gave VO2 max tests to 1,900 young men.
Among them were six men with absolutely no history of training whatsoever who nonetheless had aerobic capacities on par with collegiate runners. The ”naturally fit six" as Australian physiologists Damian Farrow and Justin Kemp call them in their sports science book "Why Dick Fosbury Flopped", had VO2 max scores more than 50 percent higher than the average untrained young man, despite being inclined to couch bound activities. When the York researchers examined their "hidden talents", as they call them, they saw that the naturally fit men had a crucial gift, through no discipline or effort of their own: massive helpings of blood. They were endowed with blood volumes that could have been mistaken for those of endurance athletes." The Sports Gene by David Epstein Page 91
Chapter 15 is about genetic issues that may affect health, things such as heart defects causing sudden death in young athletes and the increased likelihood of alzheimers disease related to the ApoE4 gene. Studies of athletes who suffer repeated head trauma (NFL players, hockey players, boxers etc) and who also have an ApoE4 variant were found to be more likely to suffer from mental deterioration later in life.
"In 2009, the BU researchers made national headlines (and headaches for the NFL) when they reported on dozens of cases of brain damage in boxers and football players. What went entirely unmentioned in media coverage, though, was that five of the nine brain damaged boxers and football players who had genetic data included in the report had an ApoE4 variant. That's 56 percent, between double and triple the proportion in the general population. Brandon Colby, a Los Angeles based physician who treats former players says of those patients: ”Of the ones who have noticeable issues from head trauma, every single one had an ApoE4 copy." Colby now offers ApoE4 testing of children to parents who want to weight the risks of playing football." The Sports Gene by David Epstein Page 254
There are also genetic tests available to see if an athlete may be predisposed to a particular type of injury, such as achilles tendon injuries or torn ACLs in the knee. That knowledge could potentially be very useful but it then goes on to consider the ethical and moral implications of this (eg: if you were a team owner and via genetic testing you discover a promising young NFL player may be prone to injury beforehand would you still be prepared to hire him for your team? Should this genetic knowledge be publicly available or not? )
The general theme of the book is that your genes have a large input into potential athletic ability, but it isn't exact and there isn't a huge amount you can do to change what you've got. If your body shape and ability fits your chosen sport, great (big lungs, narrow hips and long legs being the best for running apparently.) For many sports this tends to be self selecting (basketball where you have to be tall being the example he uses). If you don't have those pre-requisites and advantages there isn't much you can do, especially if you want to compete at a high level. Try a different sport perhaps.
Some genes are identified but there are many different combinations and research is ongoing so it's not cut and dried. This reads a lot like a first edition where big chunks of knowledge aren't available. In 10 or 15 years time the same book is likely to have a lot more exact detail than it does currently.
In summary, it's got some good sections and is worth a read as an introduction to the subject but also isn't a reference book and could have done with being about 100 pages shorter.:)
This company offers genetic testing. If you're wondering what's on offer it's a good example to look through. It's one of those things that's interesting but at £249 GBP a pop, and it doesn't look like you get everything in one single package either, is a bit on the expensive side.
They have a few sample reports for different sports and also a list of the genes they test for. It's split into different categories (gym, running, cycle and diet). The individual sample parts are worth a look through (read the text in each sample document, as it's far more informative than the pictures). They give a good idea of what to expect from this type of testing currently.
DNA Testing for Fitness, Sports & Training Plans - DNA Tests - DNAFit
Genes tested for PDF:
Sample Cycling Gene report:
Sample Weight Loss Gene Report
Sample Gym Gene Report
Sample Running Gene Report
There's also the personalised training aspect which you appear to have to have as part of the package as well. It could be good but from what's in the sample report it could also turn out overly generic when all you really want is the test by itself.
The big question is: Would this tell me something that at 37 I don't already know? I'd expect my report to read something like: Excellent long ride endurance, good recovery over consecutive days, decent climber, passable sprinter, horribly accident prone, liable to eat too much chocolate.:lol:
That's the main thing really. Having this information by itself may not add much. It's what you do afterwards that makes the difference. Would this information permanently change your habits, or would you spend £249, read the report, go hmm that's nice, and then go back to what you were doing previously?
I'd say that genetics has some influence on which sport you may have an aptitude for. Chris Froome for example probably wouldn't make a great sumo wrestler.;)
Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner, takes part in sumo wrestling during Japan exchange | Mail Online
Thumbnail Gallery Photos | Cyclingnews.com
Schuler and Cosgrove (NROL training series) talk about the varied response levels among individual fitness enthusiasts at all levels. It is interesting but in the end, the slower guys have to work harder and smarter.
Excellent information WR304. Thank you for that.
It is interesting in that I've had similar conversations with a physiologist friend lately. I've been training both hard and smart for years now, but have only been moderately successful in XC racing. In tests, I have found that I very high short term power output and have an unusually high vertical leap.
While I consider myself first and foremost a mountain biker, if there was a test that said genetically I would be much better at the velodrome or even something random like archery, I would be inclined to try it. After all, I do enjoy winning.
For disclaimer, I haven't done anything with it myself. But a lot of top end and less need for power over longer periods is supposed to work for DH, Enduro, etc. You don't necessarily have to trade your knobbies for tubulars.
Though track can be a ton of fun.
No surprises from the study. Genetics clearly determine potential, but testing for it may be a moot point. If I am told that I will be a much better powerlifter than endurance biker racer, would I drop biking and start powerlifting? Probably not. And even if I did, would I reach my potential in a sport that I have no passion for? Certainly not.