The Key to Achieving Your Fitness Goals Could Be in Your Genes
Did you make a healthy resolution this year? Whether your goal is to lose weight, cut back on caffeine, start running, or just feel stronger in your favorite classes, your genes might make or break your ability to follow through and succeed. We talked with Dr. Dan Reardon, co-founder of DNA analysis and testing site FitnessGenes, to learn more about how science, physiology, and diet can affect our physique and our ability to meet fitness-focused goals. FitnessGenes is a service that analyzes your DNA (through a home collection kit) to give you a genetically tailored nutrition and fitness plan.
“Resolutions require a level of dedication to new habit formation, but this is exceptionally challenging when the program isn’t right for your body,” Dr. Reardon acknowledges. “As scientists and doctors, we had a unique perspective. We looked at the growing rate of obesity and questioned why people continue to use trial and error as a fitness solution; our combined knowledge of science, physiology, and diet gave us an advantage that we wanted to share with the world.” For his team, de-mystifying how humans interact with food and fitness is always at the heart of what they do. To help us better understand, Dr. Reardon broke down the five genes that most affect health and fitness for humans everywhere.
5 FITNESS GENES YOU SHOULD TO KNOW ABOUT
1. FTO: “Often referred to as ‘the fat gene,’ FTO is associated with risk of weight gain,” Dr. Reardon explains. “Carriers of the ‘risk’ variation of this gene are biologically programmed to eat more through an increased appetite, leading them to eat more often and crave high-calorie foods.” He tells us that while it was actually once an evolutionary advantage in times when food was scarce, it’s become a risk factor, as calorie-laden foods are easily available. “If you do carry this variation, personalized recommendations will help you control your hunger and achieve your body composition goals,” Dr. Reardon promises.
2. ACE: This gene is associated with athletic performance, and can help you understand if you’re better suited for endurance or to be a power athlete. “People who carry one variation of this gene have a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which makes them more tailored to endurance activities like marathon running,” Dr. Reardon explains. “Those with the opposite variation are predominantly fast-twitch, so are great for sprinting.”
3. CYP1A2: Love your morning cup of joe? Dr. Reardon asked us if we’ve ever wondered about how much caffeine we should consume each day and how long we feel the effects. “I ask because the answer to these questions is largely influenced by your CYP1A2 gene variation — it produces the protein that removes caffeine from your bloodstream.” He shares that the three variations of this gene produce different amounts of protein, making people ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ caffeine metabolizers. “Interestingly, the rate at which you metabolize caffeine can also be affected by lifestyle and environmental factors, such as your diet and whether or not you smoke. Knowing how you process caffeine can help you choose the best time for pre-workout supplements; you’ll be able to maximize their effects.”
4. UCP2: You may have cracked a joke or two about your metabolism before, especially if you’ve tried to lose weight. Turns out, having a “fast” metabolism is actually not a good thing. “A ‘fast’ metabolism means that your metabolism is inefficient and doesn’t convert all the food you eat into energy. Instead, a significant percentage of it is being lost as heat,” Dr. Reardon shares. “This can definitely work in your favor if your goal is to lose weight, but it’s a problem for people who want to build muscle or enjoy endurance sports where you need the energy from every calorie.” Dr. Reardon says that the three variations of the UCP2 gene show varying metabolic efficiency, and knowing yours can help you understand exactly how much energy you get from what you eat.
5. LCT: The last gene on Dr. Reardon’s list, LCT, allows our bodies to produce the enzyme lactase, which digests lactose after infancy. “If you’re able to comfortably consume dairy products into adulthood, then you’re actually a genetic mutant!” he says. “This genetic mutation first showed up in ancient European farmers, and has spread through natural selection.” Interestingly, lactose tolerance is still a minority trait — more than 75 percent of the world’s population carries the lactose intolerant variation of LCT.
Did you make a fitness-based resolution this year? Tweet us about your goals and progress @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.