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Andrew Steele on Using Genetic Data For Fitness and Nutrition

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Andrew Steele is an Olympic athlete, running the 400m and 4x400m for Great Britain. Having competed internationally for over 12 years Andrew is one of the most experienced athletes on Team GB, having been part of national teams at European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic level. Alongside his training for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Andrew is also one of the founding members and Head of Product for personal genetics company DNAFit, specialising in DNA testing for fitness and nutrition, to create genetically-guided training and dietary interventions.

Here is an example infographic from a DNAFit test:

DNAFit infographic

Below are some highlights from the podcast. Andrew speaks about his path towards the gold medal and shares some tips on how to train like an Olympic athlete.

  • Genetics is not for talent identification. It is not going to tell you whether you can or can be good at anything, neither will it suggest you what sports you should do. What you can do with your genetic data is to adjust your training methods to reach your fitness and nutrition goals in more efficient way.
  • “Developments in sports science has pushed forward both coaching and training in the last decades. The reason why Olympic records from the past 2–3 years are so different from the records 20–30 years ago is that nowadays we have better technologies in the surface of the tracks, shoes and wear as well as training methods. For instance, traditionally track and field athletes didn’t lift weights, but today many of them do. A combination of different training methods result in small differences during the competition.”

  • “There’s a gene called ACTN3, also called the “gene for speed”, which encodes instructions for making a specific muscle protein. C-genotype of this gene is found in 97 % of Olympic level sprinters. One of the reasons for that is С-version generates the protein, which is very good for building fast twitch muscle fibre. Fast muscle fibres are the cells that underlie rapid, forceful muscle contraction in activities like sprinting and weight-lifting. I am an Olympic level sprinter but I remain within the 3 % who doesn’t have that C-genotype. That’s why the conventional sprint training didn’t quite work out for me. This is a good example of how a small piece of information can change the way we respond to different stimuli.”

  • “Nutrition advice is the most complicated realm of science. For our whole life we were told that we need to eat low fat & high starch/carbohydrate, whilst the current trend is high fat with a low carb diet. The best nutrition plan that works is the one you can stick to.”

  • “Where we need to go with genetics is to use the genetic data for action and interaction with our environment. I don’t think that we will see what makes somebody good, e.g. talent ID or predictive performance from genetics. Rather, we get a better understanding on how to be the best we can be.”

  • “I believe that we can reach further if we focus on our strengths. Whether in sport or in life, we need to identify what we are very good at, and be really great at that, and delegate or manage the weaknesses rather than turning them into strengths.”

Andrew Steele will be speaking at the Biohacker Summit on 21 May 2016.

Andrew was kind enough to throw a massive discount for Biohacker Summit attendees:

40% off their high end package – the Fitness Diet Pro
with the code DNABIOHACKER at DNAFit.com

So if you always wanted to know how genetics influences exercise and nutrition in your case, this offer is for you.

 

Biohacker Summit Stockholm - 19 May 2017

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