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DNA at the Gym

A DNA-guided training program can help athletes meet their potential, Reuters reports.

The DNAFit program examines gene variants associated with response to training and nutrition. Base on that, it then determines whether the user would respond better to high or low intensity resistance training and the user's sensitivity to carbohydrates, alcohol, salt, and saturated fats.

As they report in Biology of Sport, University of Central Lancashire studied the effect of this training program in a cohort of 28 young male athletes and 39 young male soccer players. Half the men were assigned to a training program based on their genetic analysis — participants with a power bias were given high intensity programs and those with an endurance bias were given a low intensity program — and half were assigned to a training program that didn't match what their genetic analysis suggested.

At the end of the eight-week study, the researchers tested the participants using both a counter movement jump and aerobic cycle test to find that those who followed the genetically guided training program exhibited greater improvement.

Reuters notes that British Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford is a fan of the program.

"The sport is facing a lot of challenges at the moment with doping scandals and revelations coming out but ultimately my belief system is that everyone can be great and what you need to do is go in depth to find out how you train best, how you recover best and how you do everything to the best of your ability and DNA testing I think is the future of that," Rutherford says.

The test is $140, Reuters adds.