The study’s participants were DNA tested with the DNAFit test, Which screens 45 gene variants scientifically-linked to a body’s response to training and nutrition.
“The study has a global implication for athletes and other sportsmen and women, because when the difference between a gold, silver or bronze medal could be as little as 0.1%, something like this research could disrupt the world of sports performance, naturally,” Lasarow said.
The independent study, which has been peer reviewed and published this week in the respected Biology of Sport was conducted at the University of Central Lancashire with 28 sportsmen and 39 male football players over eight weeks. Each participant competed in the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) leagues.
The breakthrough study is supported by reigning British Olympic and World Long Jump Champion Greg Rutherford, who has revealed he is using genetically guided training information to help him go for gold at Rio 2016. DNAFit is already being used by elite sportsmen and women and several English Premier League football clubs. Kagisho Dikgacoi, one of the few South African’s to play in the premier league, consulted with DNAFit in 2015.
“The DNAFit test uses its DNAFit Peak Performance Algorithm based on validated genetic variant scoring methods to determine an individual’s genetic power/endurance response score to help devise bespoke training programmes,” said Keith Grimaldi, DNAFit Chief Scientific Officer.
“For example, those with more of a power bias on the algorithm would respond better to high-intensity style resistance training, whereas those with more of an endurance bias respond better to low-intensity style resistance training, while still training for the same goal.”
In the study, half the subjects were given training programmes matched to their genetic response – high intensity training for those with a power bias, low intensity for those with endurance bias. The remaining subjects were mismatched – those with more power were given low intensity training, those with more endurance, high-intensity. None of the subjects or trainers knew whether their programme was matched or not.
At the beginning of the eight weeks of training, the subjects were set two fitness tests so improvement in explosive power and aerobic fitness (endurance) could be measured. Power was measured by a countermovement jump (CMJ) and endurance by an aerobic three minute Cycle test (Aero3).
After eight weeks, those whose training had been matched to their genes saw an improvement in the CMJ power test of 7.4% compared to just a 2.6% increase in the mismatched group. In the cycle endurance test, those who trained to their genetic strengths saw an average 6.2% improvement compared to 2.3% for the mismatched group.
“This showed that those on genotype-matched training improved almost three times more in both tests than those on mismatched programmes,” Grimaldi said.
Among non- or low responders to any type of resistance training, 82% of athletes were from the mismatched group, while high responders (the people who improved the most) were predominantly matched athletes (83%).
After eight weeks of resistance training, the odds of achieving more favourable outcomes in the CMJ and cycle test were respectively 21 and 28.5 times greater for matched genotype training than mismatched.
The DNAFit test can also detect whether someone has a raised risk of developing connective tissue injury, their recovery speed from hard exercise and their VO2 Max trainability.
Greg Rutherford has used DNAFit information to inform his training regime for the past 11 months. His test results revealed:
His power/endurance response ratio was a majority of power response, but still with some endurance response genes at 53.8% power, 46.2% endurance
His genetic recovery speed and injury risk was medium
He has a raised need for anti-oxidants, omega-3 and Vitamin D
He has a high sensitivity to refined carbohydrates