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Exercise offers a range of benefits. It makes you fitter, stronger, and faster. But, if you're like most people, adapting to a new workout regime can be hard - you may face extreme muscle soreness. Ever wondered why? Exercising muscles can cause microscopic tears to them, fluctuate hormone levels, and increase inflammation. While they all sound negative, these are undoubtedly positive effects on the body. Following a strict workout regimen can improve posture, muscle growth, insulin sensitivity, better respiration, and heart health. If workouts are that good, then why is recovery important?

Post-exercise recovery (PER) is a vital component in a training program. Allowing the body to actively recover from working out lets you to perform better in subsequent exercise routines. Personal trainers often include various measures - changes in nutrition, compression garments, and cold-water immersion. These would help in quick recovery from their intense regimes and aid in consistent performance in their next workout.

For non-professionals, post-exercise recovery helps in becoming leaner, more flexible, and reaching your personal fitness goals! Repeatedly training a muscle group with no recovery time only leads to tissue breakdown instead of building.

Importance of exercise recovery

To understand the importance, let’s look at an extreme situation. Over-training syndrome (OTS) is when an individual over trains and pushes themselves to limits without paying attention to nutrition, rest, and emotional status. This leads to depression, decreased performance, excessive fatigue, restless sleep, loss of appetite, decreased immunity, and so on. Muscles do not grow as you work them, but grow as you actively rest.

Recovery also leads to the following benefits:

Types of exercise recovery

Passive recovery

Passive recovery is to be completely at rest after an intense workout. This could include lying down, sitting, and being inactive. This is not recommended for everyone, and should only be done if faced with a serious injury, or in pain. It is also good to follow passive recovery if you feel mentally/physically exhausted from your workout regime.

Active recovery

Active recovery, on the other hand, is mostly recommended. This includes doing light, low-impact exercises and routines that help the blood flow, allowing toxins (liked built-up lactic acid) to be flushed out. Examples of active recovery include yoga, walking, low-impact cycling, tai chi, or foam rolling. There are many ways to actively recover, you may follow a cool-down routine after your workout, or following cross-training- details will be covered later.

Genetics of exercise recovery

Like several fitness traits, the average time of recovery you'd need post-intense workout is determined by your genes. Many different genes are involved, two of widely studied ones are CKM and MMP3.

CKM gene

Creatine Kinase, M-type (CKM) codes for a protein that is involved in energy homeostasis. It is used in energy transfer channels within the body. This protein is also involved in maintaining body mass index, muscle damage repair, and inflammation response.

Variants of CKM gene

Certain variants of this gene influence your recovery time. One allelic variant is G. If an individual has GG genotype, they would have average time for recovery after an intense exercise. However, having a TT genotype would be requiring a longer recovery time than most.

MMP3 gene

The proteins of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP3) gene family help in tissue remodelling and wound repair. They have also been implicated in conditions like arthritis. Until triggered by another enzyme, these proteins remain inactive.

Variants of MMP3 gene

Gene variants of MMP3 has been linked to PER time. The A allele at a particular region in this gene is significantly related to a longer recovery time, which could be attributed to inflammatory responses being triggered.

6 ways to recover post-workout

1. Structured rest

It is important to schedule a break from intense training to allow the body to rest and repair itself before another set of intense training. This could be even last a week of no intense training, but of mild, low-impact exercises like walking. This allows for muscle growth and repair.

2. Sleep

A good 8-hour sleep would help in repairing muscles. The body secretes growth hormones that help in muscle growth and repair. Try to avoid any distractions before sleep- like using mobile devices and having caffeine, and ensure that you clock in the 8 hours.

3. Active recovery

Incorporate active recovery into your training schedule. Ensure that you cool-down after exercising by doing yoga and stretches. This would help release the built-up lactic acid, and help in conditioning your muscles and flexibility. You could also cross-train- in this way, you avoid working the same group of muscles, giving ample time for recovery. Foam rolling is also a reliable active recovery, to relax strained muscles.

4. Massages and extra treatments

Athletes and professionals usually have ice baths that help tremendously in muscle recovery. Massages are also helpful to relax over-stretched and overused muscle groups. Wearing compression garments also help in quick recovery times.

5. Mind work

Active visualization exercises, and listening to music with a slow tempo has also been seen to relax muscle groups, aiding in recovery.

6. Anti-inflammatory creams and medicines

If the muscles are over-trained, you may massage in some muscle creams, or take an anti-inflammatory like aspirin, to reduce the pain.

You may also be interested in: Effects Of Sports Drinks: Is The Price Too Much To Pay

Recovery: The nutrition way

Even if you train optimally, if the nutrition is insufficient, you may suffer from increased muscle soreness, reduced performance, and increased fatigue.

Replenish fluids

It’s important to replenish lost water within 12 hours of training. Rehydrating should be done right after a training session. Dairy-based drinks like smoothies offer the full package from carbohydrates, lipids, protein, and electrolytes. For other goals, regular meals are enough. Drinking chocolate milk is also good, the protein kickstarts recovery, and the carbs in this drink energize the body. Tart cherry juice is another option, as it reduces inflammation. Skip alcohol for two reasons, one is because it could dehydrate you, and interferes in protein production, delaying muscle repair.

Proteins

Proteins help in repairing and building muscle. Consuming the right amount of protein provides enough resources for the body to use to replenish the amino acid stores in the body. About 0.14-0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight is recommended. Eating protein before sleeping helps the body in repairing muscles overnight, and eating protein in the morning helps curbs cravings. Eating protein before and after workout serves the same purpose- you trigger the repair mechanism even before you work out.

Fats

Fats could reduce the rate of absorption of a meal, however, adding a small amount of fat can help in promoting muscle growth. Saturated and trans-fats (fats derived from animals, or synthetic fats) are to be avoided due to their deleterious effect on health and recovery. Essential fats are important, and can be sourced from avocados, chia seeds and nuts.

Carbohydrates

Replenishing carbs is important for recovery. The amount of carbs is dependent on the intensity of training. If you do more endurance sports like swimming and running, then you would require more carbs. Also, if you train more often during the day, then it is imperative your glycogen stores by having adequate carbs. The ratio of carbs to protein should 3:1.

Some sample meals post-workout could be:- grilled chicken with roasted vegetables, salmon with sweet potato, cottage cheese, and fruits, pita bread with hummus, multi-grain bread, and raw peanuts.

4 common misconceptions about recovery

1. Rest days are for lazy people

This is a common misconception, but depending on the intensity of your training, it important to take 1 to 2 days of just to rest. This could be active or passive recovery, but the aim is to allow the body to repair itself so that you can come back to stronger.

2. Sleep is not important

Sleep is the most important factor when it comes to goals of gaining muscle or losing weight. It is the prime time when the body gets to repair muscles. As mentioned before, growth hormones have secreted that help in this process. Lack of sleep, reduces the amount of this hormone, leading to sabotaged fitness goals.

3. Recovery is all fancy ice water immersions and foam rollers

While these tools and techniques may help, it is not essential. The most important rest is sleep, and you need to make sure you get the full 8 hours’ worth of it. Diet is another important factor, and always listen to your body and do not force yourself to train if you aren’t ready for it.

4. Antioxidant supplements helps in recovery

As mentioned above, exercise does, in a sense, damage the body. But this damage is good, and once you've recovered, you become stronger and more fit. Studies on the effect of taking antioxidant supplements (like Vitamin C and Vitamin E) after working out show that it does not affect the reduction of ROS produced by exercise. While it is important to keep your vitamin levels in check, there is no need to include it in your post-workout meal.

7 awesome tips to stay fit

Now that we have seen the importance of recovery, let’s look at other tips to stay fit.

1. Have an intention

People tend to stick to an exercise routine when they have a definite goal. Work towards that goal. Stay determined. You got this!

2. A little bit goes a long way

You don't have to have intense workouts every single day, the idea is to get moving- this, in turn, would produce endorphins and would motivate you to work harder.

3. Take baby steps

Start with easy goals. When you finish them, this would motivate you further to set tougher goals.

4. Use variety

If you don’t like lifting weights, try dancing, or if that doesn’t suit you, then try yoga. There are a lot of different routines that you can follow, and if you enjoy what you’re doing, the fitness goals become secondary.

5. Increase the intensity

Plateauing is normal while working out. When you feel that a routine is too easy, try adding more weight, or try to run faster, this also brings about some variety and pushes you further.

6. Listen to your body

If you feel you cannot move or you just can’t work out for the day, it is also good to take a day off, just to recover.

7. Clean your diet

Even if you work out every day, you won't see any progress unless you stick to a healthy diet. Try opting for fresh meats, green and leafy vegetables, fruits, and dairy.

Summary

Recovery is a part of your workout routine and has just as much importance as cardio or strength training. Over-training, pushing your body to limits, without allowing time for recovery, would only sabotage fitness goals. Try to take a holistic approach when you begin a workout regime. It is good to push yourself, adapt, and grow, but keep in mind active recovery practices to make your exercise effective.

References

  1. http://www.jbscience.org/index.php?journal=jbscience&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=49&path%5B%5D=pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503156/

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The hepatic lipase gene (LIPC) is associated with the synthesis of hepatic lipase enzyme (LIPC) which catalyzes the hydrolysis of fat. Hepatic lipase converts intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL).It is expressed in the liver and in the adrenal glands. Specific alleles of this gene are known to either increase or decrease hepatic lipase levels, and due to linkage disequilibrium, the levels of lipoprotein lipase, which is associated with variations in the plasma HDL levels.  People with the T variant of the gene are shown to be associated with higher baseline HDL levels.

Does your 23andme, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA raw data have LIPC gene variant information?

CHIP VersionLIPC SNPs
23andMe (Use your 23andme raw data to know your LIPC Variant)
v1 23andmePresent
v2 23andmePresent
v3 23andmePresent
v4 23andmePresent
V5 23andme (current chip)Present
AncestryDNA  (Use your ancestry DNA raw data to know your LIPC Variant)
v1 ancestry DNAPresent
V2 ancestry DNA (current chip)Present
Family Tree DNA  (Use your FTDNA raw data to know your LIPC Variant)
OmniExpress microarray chipPresent

Association with Weight Loss Upon Exercise:

People with the C variant of the gene were associated with reduction in weight, body fat and visceral fat.

Association with Plasma Lipoprotein Levels upon Exercising (atherogenic effects):

In a study investigating the effects of endurance training on plasma lipoprotein levels, people with the C variant of the gene have been found to be associated with exercise mediated reduction in VLDL and increase in HDL. The benefit of exercise was found to be more in men with CC genotype than women.

Association with Childhood Obesity:

In a meta-analysis study conducted on children, boys with the T allele had a higher BMI and higher risk of obesity. In another study, boys with the T variant of the gene were found to be associated with higher HDL level on high fat intake.

Association with Dietary Fat intake:

In a study conducted to determine gene-nutrient interactions, people with the T variant on a low fat diet (less than 30% of energy from fat) have been shown to be associated with higher HDL levels. In a study conducted to identify how Chinese, Malays and Asian Indians in Singapore were exposed to similar environment but where Asian Indians had three times the rates of myocardial infarction compared to Chinese, found that a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors gave rise to these ethnic differences. A high fat diet was shown to be associated with higher serum triglyceride and lower HDL-cholesterol concentrations in people with the T variant while those with the C variant were shown to be associated with lower serum triglyceride and higher HDL cholesterol under the same dietary conditions. People with the T variant of the gene may have an impaired adaptation to a high fat diet, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Association with Insulin Sensitivity:

In a study conducted on the LIPC gene variant and insulin sensitivity, the baseline insulin sensitivity was found to be similar between the gene variants but, upon exercising, people with the C variant were shown to be associated with higher insulin sensitivity. In a similar study, men with the T variant were shown to be associated with an improvement in insulin sensitivity when MUFA and carbohydrate rich are consumed instead of SFA fat. There was no association with women with the T variant and between diet and insulin sensitivity among men and women with the C variant.

GenotypePhenotypeRecommendation
CC[Limitation] More likely to have lower baseline HDL [Advantage] More likely to have higher HDL level upon exercising [Advantage] More likely to have higher HDL on high fat diet [Advantage] More Likely to have improvement in insulin sensitivity upon exercising [Limitation] Less Likely to have improvement in insulin sensitivity when on MUFA and Carbohydrate rich dietLikely increase in HDL upon exercising Including exercise routines is beneficial to HDL levels and insulin sensitivity
CTSlightly improved insulin sensitivity upon exercisingLikely increase in HDL upon exercising Including exercise routines is beneficial to HDL levels and insulin sensitivity
TT[Advantage] More likely to have higher baseline HDL [Limitation] Less likely to have higher HDL level upon exercising [Limitation] More likely to have Lower HDL on high fat diet [Limitation] Less Likely to have improvement in insulin sensitivity upon exercising [Advantage] More Likely to have improvement in insulin sensitivity when on MUFA and Carbohydrate rich dietLikely increase in HDL level when on MUFA and Carbohydrate rich diet People with this gene variant would benefit from consuming low fat diet and carbohydrate rich diet


References
:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12403660
  2. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/6/1429.full.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9114024
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23550552
  5. https://goo.gl/I8cAcl
  6. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/14/s/72.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3053582/

Nutrigenetics, fitness genetics, health genetics are all nascent but rapidly growing areas within human genetics. The information provided herein is based on preliminary scientific studies and it is to be read and understood in that context.”

Weight loss struggles are an increasing phenomenon world over with the majority of people aspiring to achieve a slim body either for aesthetic reasons or good health. However, in recent years, obesity has increased dramatically in many parts of the world with India ranking third in the world’s most obese countries. According to a study, ‘Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980–2013:a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013’, India accounts for 15% of the world’s obese population along with China.

With the rise in obesity, there has also been a significant rise in metabolic diseases associated with obesity such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. India has been particularly hard hit with rates of diabetes reaching as much as 20% of the population in some parts of the country. Even though accounting for only 20% of the world’s population, India shoulders 60% world heart disease burden. Studies claim that 40% - 70% of obesity is influenced by genetic predisposition, with environmental elements accounting for the rest. As alarming as this is, there is hope for change. Several scientific studies indicate that the prevention of metabolic conditions by lifestyle modifications such as healthy diet and exercise are far more effective than clinical treatment for these conditions at a later stage.

The Impact of Genetics on Obesity

With over 50% of obesity being attributed to genetics, obesity can be an inherited condition. Studies find that the risk for obesity is 2-8 times higher for a person with a family history as opposed to a person with no family history of obesity. The FTO gene, also commonly known as the obese gene, is considered to be highly contributory to obesity in individuals. People carrying this gene are found to have a 70% higher chance of being obese than non-carriers. Other genes such as MC4R, INSIG, TCF7L2, LEP, IRS, have also been found to contribute to this condition. However, this does not necessitate a certainty of obesity in carriers. Studies have found that corrective lifestyle measures can alleviate obesity even in people with a genetic predisposition.

Environmental Causes for Obesity

Apart from genetics, a variety of environmental factors have also contributed to this rapid increase in obesity. The most prominent of them being unhealthy food choices and decreased physical activity. The increase in access to junk and processed food has led to unhealthy snacking and food habits. Home-cooked meals are maybe visited once a day with the remaining meals consisting of take-outs or packaged food. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle with minimum to nil physical activity greatly adds to the rise of this condition. Another factor for concern is the lack of regular sleep patterns. Working night shifts and staying up late hours in the night have also shown to contribute to an increasing waistline.

Correcting Obesity: The Basic Fail in Typical Weight Loss Programs

Weight management through standard diets or weight loss plan is a key strategy to reduce the risk or more effectively manage metabolic diseases.

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However, the vast majority of weight loss solutions either do not work or work temporarily as they are not sustainable over the long term. The global weight loss industry is estimated to be around USD 600 billion. However, a recent 10-year study by King’s College London determined that an overwhelming 99% of people attempting to lose or maintain weight loss will fail in the long run, indicating that the vast majority of the money spent on weight loss treatments is wasted.

A key reason for failure is a one size fits all approach. Diet plans are standardised on a few core ideas such as high protein, high fats or low carbs, and are extended to as many customers as possible to maximise the market reach. Here, it is assumed that everyone’s body is the same on the inside and hence the same recommendations should work for all. This assumption turns out to be misguided. Genetics impacts all aspects of our lives including how we metabolize foods. Some people are capable of eating all they can and are able burn off the calories, while some people struggle to manage their desired weight despite their best attempts. This is because the underlying genetics is different for all individuals. So far, the tools to understand an individual’s genetics were unavailable. However, over the last decade, with significant advancements in science and technology, these tools are now both available and affordable.

Handpicked article for you: Is Dr. Rhonda Patrick Diet For You? Analyze Your DNA Raw Data To Find Out Your Nutritional Needs!

Sustainable Weight Loss with Genetics and Lifestyle Modification

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In a recent study by Stanford University, people who followed a diet program tailored to their genetics were shown to lose as much as 2.5 times the amount of weight compared to people who followed a “standard” diet advice. Understanding one’s genetic profile can help individuals understand their body type and tailor their diets to foods best suited to them. A healthcare professional can use insights from the genetic test to then create a personalized diet to help individuals optimize their metabolism, and achieve their weight objectives, while reducing associated health risks.

Weight loss doesn’t just make one look and feel good, but greatly improves the day-to-day quality of life too. Energy levels, mood, temperament, immune system – all get a boost while reducing the risks for several health and metabolic conditions. In fact, healthy lifestyle choices have also found to help control certain conditions like Type 2 diabetes, PCOS and other lifestyle diseases. Not just for the obese or sedentary, proactive individuals should also consider undergoing a genetic test to understand their body’s unique metabolic profile to customise weight management program as per their lifestyle and genetics.

However, it is important to note that genetic testing can guide your effort correctly, but not replace it. Focussing on the overall nature of sustainable weight loss, Dr. M. Lakdawalla of CODS (Centre for Obesity and Digestive Surgery) India, says, “While genes do play some role in causing a predisposition to obesity, I would not say that they are entirely to blame. A paper published by Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health states that ‘Active adults who carried the obesity-promoting gene had a 30 percent lower risk of obesity than inactive adults who carried the gene’. Worldwide, we have seen an increase in obesity over the past 30 years - it cannot entirely be put down to genetics. There are several factors that play a role - unhealthy lifestyles, rising stress levels, physical inactivity, rise in conditions such as diabetes, etc.”

Genetics is not just about physical differences among individuals. IT influences all aspects of human physiology and impacts several aspects of our health including, how our body responds to fats, carbohydrates, proteins, gluten, lactose, salt, and vitamins. This understanding will continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the years ahead. One thing is for certain, that the era of "standard" diets, nutrition, and medication is over. Evidence from several scientific studies indicates that what we consume as food and medicine need to be tailored to the individual's genetic type.

The onset of muscle fatigue has hampered many athletes from achieving their maximum potential. Lactic acid buildup is a byproduct of anaerobic metabolism. Under normal activity levels, the body mostly relies on aerobic metabolism and hence lactate (another name for lactic acid) buildup is not a major concern. However, with increased activity levels, specifically, when the metabolism switches from aerobic (oxidative) to anaerobic (glycolytic), as in power activities performed at high heart rates, lactate levels quickly build up, which, if not cleared from muscles, cause fatigue and a burning sensation.

But how quickly lactic acid is cleared and how quickly a person feels this fatigue is also influenced by your genetics, especially the MCT1 gene. This article provides insights into how individual differences effects the lactic acid clearance rate and muscle fatigue.

How your muscles become fatigued?

During short term power (anaerobic) exercise, our body uses substances such as ATP and creatine phosphate (CP) within the first 7 seconds to produce energy. This signals the body to start glycolysis, a process to utilize the glycogen (stored glucose) to produce energy. When glycogen is broken down to release energy, which allows the muscle movement to continue. During this process, a substance called lactic acid is formed. Small amounts of lactic acid operate as a temporary energy source, thus helping you avoid fatigue during a workout. However, a buildup of lactic acid during a workout can create burning sensations in the muscle & limits the muscle contraction, resulting in muscle fatigue. For this reason, it may be desirable to reduce lactic acid build up in the muscles. However, if you are a bodybuilder, lactic acid buildup has been shown to be highly anabolic- meaning, good for muscle building. Body builders routinely workout to feel the “burn” in their muscles.

Genetics and muscle fatigue resistance

Monocarboxylate transporters (MCT) regulates the transport of lactate and many other substances and removes lactic acid from the muscles. MCT1 gene influences the amount of MCT you produce. The more you produce, the quicker is the clearance rate, thus the delay in the onset of muscle fatigue. Individuals with faster version have shown to produce higher levels of MCT, making them more suitable for endurance based exercises than individuals with slower versions producing lower levels of MCT.

Simple ways of reducing lactic acid through diet:

Adequate magnesium levels in your diet will help the body deliver energy to the muscles while exercising, thus limiting the buildup of lactic acid. Foods rich in magnesium include legumes like navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and lima beans and seeds such as pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds  and vegetables like spinach, greens, turnips. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It helps the body to break down glucose and thus can help to limit the body’s need for lactic acid. Food sources of these fatty acids include fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, from nuts and seeds like walnuts and flax seed and from plant based oils such a olive oil, canola oil, rice bran oil. B vitamins: help to transport glucose throughout the body and help provide energy to the muscles. Food sources of B vitamins includes leafy green vegetables, cereals, peas and beans, fish, beef, poultry, eggs and dairy products.

BOTTOM LINE: If you are an endurance runner, excess lactic acid buildup is undesirable as it leads to fatigue. If you are a bodybuilder, you need lactic acid buildup as its highly anabolic and good for muscle growth.

Discover your genes and align your training with your genetic type. Try Xcode’s fitness genetics test which can tell you whether you carry faster, slower or both versions of the MCT1 genes . Write to us at info@xcode.in

Increasing nitric oxide (NO) has become the new secret weapon for athletes and bodybuilders. It is used as the primary ingredient in various dietary supplements to support the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscle and also use them to facilitate the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid buildup which reduces fatigue and recovery time.

Whilst exercise and diet can impact your Nitric Oxide levels, your genes also play a role. Specifically, your NOS3 gene can suggest whether you should be supplementing your diet with Nitric Oxide boosting foods and supplements. Or whether you have a natural advantage in terms of Nitric Oxide levels produced by your body, hence giving you a power based training advantage.

Simple ways to increase your nitric oxide:[hr height="30" style="default" line="default" themecolor="1"]

  1. The most common way to increase nitric oxide is through exercise. As the heart pumps with more pressure to supply the muscles with blood, the lining in your arteries releases nitric oxide into the blood, which relaxes and widens the vessel wall, allowing for more blood to pass through,a process known as Vasodilation.
  2. Another way is through diet, by including foods rich in arginine, citrulline, folic acid, nitrates and nitrites that help stimulate Nitric Oxide production. Arginine can be found in nuts, fruits, meats and dairy, and it produces citrulline inside the body. Citrulline is recycled back into arginine by certain enzymes, producing even more nitric oxide. Foods containing antioxidants such as garlic, soy, vitamin C, E and Co-Q10 and alpha lipoic acid help in the normal functioning of the enzymes needed for the conversion and thus help to produce more nitric oxide. Beets, greens, kale, legumes are some of the foods containing folic acid.
  3. Your genes may also impact your NO levels. If you carry certain type of NOS3 gene, you may have higher natural levels of NO, which may in turn result in increased testosterone and growth hormone, beneficial for power based activities.
  4. Losing weight will help improve your nitric oxide levels.
  5. Getting adequate sunlight may also trigger the skin to produce more nitric oxide.

[idea]Other factors such as aging, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high cholesterol, fatty diets, and lack of healthy foods may result in nitric oxide deficiency. Thus, increasing your nitric oxide levels can help increase your energy, vitality and overall wellness.[/idea]

Genetics and NOS3 gene[hr height="30" style="default" line="default" themecolor="1"]

The NOS3 gene produces the Nitric Acid Synthase 3 enzyme, which facilitates the production of nitric oxide (NO). The type of NOS3 gene that you carry influences the production levels of NO. Increased enzyme activity may result in higher production levels of NO. Although the NOS3 gene has been associated with athletic endurance performance and elite power athletic status, research into the NOS3 gene has shown that the one version of this gene has been found at a higher frequency in Polish power based athletes. Studies into Spanish power athletes also showed similar results.

Discover your genes and align your training with your genetic type. Try Xcode’s fitness genetics test which can tell you what versions of the genes are in your DNA.Write to us at info@xcode.in

Since the start of Olympics in 776 BC, running has always been a remarkable event in the world of sport. This Rio 2016 is no exception and set to be another epic feast for running fans. The fundamental dimension of the Olympics is all about “Citius, Altius, Fortius” which translates to “Faster, Higher, stronger” and running itself abides by the same principle.

In the past, stories of sprinting successes by people of Jamaican heritage sparked interest in the genetic advantage that Jamaicans and people with West African ancestry might have, especially when it comes to raw muscle power.

The adaptations of the human body and its role in Olympics

[hr height="30" style="default" line="default" themecolor="1"]All of the diversity that is visible today among the 7 billion people on earth is the story of human genetic adaptation to their environment. For example, if the ancestors of certain people lived in hot and humid regions with significant sun exposure, they will have stronger skin pigmentation- which protects them from cancer causing UV rays. An example that is relevant to sports performance is that of ancestors who lived at higher altitudes above sea level. These places have lower levels of oxygen than what is found at sea level. As a result, their bodies have adaptations that make them efficient at extracting more oxygen out of the air they breath. All other things being equal, a person from higher altitude will have an advantage over someone from a lower altitude. Similarly, various other adaptations can be seen that offer specific advantages in various aspects of life. Of course, adaptations are only part of the story. The sheer human will to train and outcompete is the other part.

Role of ACTN3 gene

[hr height="30" style="default" line="default" themecolor="1"]

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Credits: www.notchandpost.com

ACTN3 gene is the most widely studied sports performance related gene. The ACTN3 gene encodes instructions for making a specific muscle protein, ?-actinin-3, found exclusively in fast twitch muscle fibres. This protein is essential for greater strength & to protect against muscle damage which provides the benefits needed in speed or power based activity, such as sprinting or weight lifting.
There are different versions of ACTN3 gene and which version you carry determines how
much of the alpha-actinin-3 p
rotein you produce in your fast twitch muscle fibres. Some people have a fully functional version
that produces lot of alpha- actinin 3, commonly called the R allele.  This is associated with a boost in muscle strength and sprint performance.
And some people have a non- working version of the gene, commonly called
the X allele that prevents it from making this protein and such people lack this protein in their muscles.  Lack of this protein does not cause any harm to the body, but it does affect the level of athletic performance. It is probably close to impossible for someone who lacks this protein to reach the elite levels of sports performance especially in power based act
ivities, except for very rare cases.

Studies have indicated that people lacking the R allele of ACTN3 may have an advantage in endurance based sports. Such people also seem to have higher proportion of slow twitch muscle fibres and reduced fatigue which is advantageous in endurance performance.

 

 

Want to know if you have the “gene for speed?” Xcode’s fitness genetics test can tell you what versions of the ACTN3 gene you have in your DNA. You can also learn about how your genes may influence other traits, including your risk for certain diseases.

 

Our unique genetic profile can make some of us more suitable for endurance activities, others for more intense sprinting activities or power training.

Genes involved in ‘endurance type of activities’ minimize muscle fatigue during prolonged period of mild to moderate intensity exercises, while genes involved in ‘sprinting’ relate to power, rapid bursts of energy, and optimum energy utilisation for activities of shorter duration. Depending upon the expression of Endurance/ Sprinting genes a person is categorized as adaptive for either of these.

There are two different types of muscle fibres which are important for these activities, each type being regulated by specific genes. Type I or slow twitch muscle fibres are mainly responsible for improving endurance. In contrast, Type II or fast twitch muscle fibres allow us to perform rapid, high intensity exercises.

It is a proven fact that regular exercise assures health benefits and improves your fitness level. It is noteworthy that genes determine your adaptability for the type, intensity and duration of activity (endurance/sprinting) based on your capacity for aerobic metabolism, extent of muscle fatigue and the time required for its recovery and slow/fast twitch muscle contraction. Therefore, based on specific variations within these genes in a person’s DNA, the type of exercise (endurance/sprinting) suitable for that person can be determined.

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Upload your DNA raw data to Xcode Life. The Gene Fitness Report analyses endurance, weight loss or weight gain with exercise, and more than 15+ such traits.

Stretching is one of the most fundamental components of a fitness or exercise regime.

Performing stretching exercises before any fitness activity allows the body to become more flexible and less prone to injury. Stretching after exercise is also equally important. It allows the muscles to get back to their normal form and helps reduce muscle soreness and pain.

Flexibility is attributable to the protein collagen that surrounds cells. In fact, 25-30% of whole body protein is collagen! There are different types of collagens, each regulated by different genes. Collagen type V is important for flexibility. The more the flexible you are, the less you need to stretch before and after exercise. However, the presence of flexibility can lead to reduced exercise performance since more energy is required for muscle stabilising activity.

Flexibility is an indispensable aspect of fitness as it reflects the propensity for exercise-associated muscle injury. Your degree of flexibility and risk for tendinopathy as determined through genes are helpful in deciding the type and duration of your pre and post stretching exercises which would make your fitness regimen more comfortable for you to follow.

Stress is one of the routine terms used by most of us, in the present day. Right from a 5 year old to a 50 year old, everyone is accustomed to some type of issue that causes stress. Stress has extreme after effects. But, do we really want to partner with Stress our whole life?

Stress is either physical or mental. Physical stress occurs when our body experiences severe strain. Worry, fear and anxiety the main reasons of mental stress. Both forms of stress have serious effects. It is highly important to detect and manage stress in the early stages in order to lead a healthy life.

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Factors that brings out the stress spark

Once you’ve decided to get rid of stress, it is important for you to find out the factors that prompt it.

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A poor diet

Eating unhealthy food or eating very small portions than what is actually required, influences stress as the body does not receive the right amount of nutrition.

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Poor physical work

People, who don’t shake it right, suffer severe stress.

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Attitude

A recent research states that people with a negative attitude experience more stress than the ones who think positively.

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Relaxation

Improper sleeping patterns and lack of interest in other activities that render relaxation, causes stress.
Now that you’ve looked at the factors of stress, it is crucial for you to understand how to manage and eliminate stress.

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Managing Stress

Stress levels differ from person to person. With the past experiences you’ve had with stress, figure out how much stress you can really handle. Once you find this out, keep track of it.

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Learn to manage time. Do the right things at the right time. Do not push yourself to some unrealistic promise of completing loads of work in a very short span of time.

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Eat healthy with the right portions. Do not skip meals. Acquire maximum nutrition.

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Adopt stress relieving techniques like yoga to maximize relaxation and stay stress free.

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Make exercising a habit. It prompts positive thoughts and surrounds you with a good energy.

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Develop healthy sleeping patterns.

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Start doing things that interest you apart from your routine work.

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Eliminating stress is unthinkable. But, you can manage it for sure.

 

 

I am your heart. I work really hard to keep you alive. Every minute I pump out 5 litres of oxygen rich blood to every cell in your body so you can think, move, speak, work and live. In return all I ask is that you keep me healthy. Not many people around the world do that. In fact approximately 17.3 million people die every year because heart disease. By 2020, it will be the leading cause of death around the world.

So let’s have a conversation. Heart to heart. Here are 7 natural ways you can prevent a heart attack.

 

1. Eat Healthy

Look towards healthy foods that help lower cholesterol. Eat vegetables and fish that have lots of good fats. Don’t eat as much red meat, choose lean meats instead. Eat a serving of nuts (walnuts, almonds etc.) every day. Drink less of carbonated beverages and drink natural fruit juices without added sugar. Get 4-5 servings of fresh vegetables. Feeling like having a snack? Skip the chips and salty foods and munch on some fresh carrots instead. Search and build your own book of healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Trust me, your heart will thank you for it.

2. Exercise

With more of us having less active jobs than ever before, a lack of exercise is a big risk factor for heart disease. On the bright side, it also means that exercising regularly in addition to eating healthy is one of the fastest ways to reduce your risk! Research shows that getting just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week can significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack. Can’t spare 30 minutes at a stretch? Sneak in three 10 minute sessions of brisk walking or exercise whenever you get a break.

3. Get adequate rest

We’re living in a 24X7 world. The computers and mobile devices that allow us to connect to the internet and each other whenever we want have also taken away proper sleep habits. We sacrifice sleep for work and for leisure without realizing the effect that it has on our body. Scientific studies have shown that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure and high cholesterol both of which contribute to heart disease. So put down that phone, turn off the TV and get some sleep.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking can double the risk of you having a heart attack. Smoking damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of them being blocked leading to higher chances of a heart attack. Women who take birth control pills and smoke are particularly at a higher risk to develop heart disease. Even smoking for a brief period of time damages the heart. Nicotine in cigarettes or chewing tobacco reduces the oxygen supply to the heart and increases blood pressure. So if you smoke, make a healthy start and quit today.

5. Drink alcohol in strict moderation

If you drink alcohol, be sure to strictly control how much you drink. Drinking alcohol excessively has been shown to increase the risk for hypertension, obesity and heart disease. Alcohol intake above moderate levels also increases cholesterol levels leading to formation of plaques and blood vessel blockage.

6. Practice Yoga and Meditation

Among other benefits, yoga and meditation have been shown to significantly reduce stress and have positive effects on mind and body. Yoga comprises of physical exercises as well as training to control the breath. In combination with meditation, yoga can improves many physiological functions and be extremely effective as a preventive mechanism for heart attacks.

7. Know your numbers and your risk factors

Lastly, always be aware of your health status. According to Barry A Franklin PhD Director of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan USA and an American Heart Association Volunteer “Regular cardiovascular screening is important because it helps you detect risk factors in their earliest stages”. See your physician regularly and get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked. Your genes can play a role in whether you are more likely to get heart disease. Know your family history and whether that puts you at an increased risk. In addition, an advanced program like Xcode’s Lifelong Wellness can analyze your genes for health risks and metabolic traits and give you a personalized nutrition and fitness plan that will put you on the on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

 

 

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