When it comes to elite athletes and performance, finding even the smallest edge can be the difference between becoming a champion and missing out on a medal.
The margins are fine and athletes will do anything to get to the top, in some cases by taking it too far.
In many cases it’s like business. We’re always seeking to find the most efficient ways to get maximum performance, and many of us too take that into our work outs.
One method being adopted to help enhance performance is being developed through DNA testing. Genetics play a major part in how we perform in sport, and by analysing the very route of it, athletes are seeing brilliant results. And you can too.
DNA testing is a booming business at the moment and one of the biggest lifestyle trends, with dozens of kits now available online to take yourself at home. You’ll find many reviews championing them for all manner of reasons, with a growing number now using them and taking their results into sport.
Traditionally, we’ve used them to find out about our family history. They can tell us a lot about who we are, perhaps illnesses we risk, and generally if we’ve got any long lost family. Yet very few keen sports people are using these tests to the maximum, as they really can shape your training plan and meet the goals you’re reaching for.
Two Premier League soccer sides have been using DNA testing to improve their players performance, using the results to uncover a number of things such as endurance, injury proneness and tailor diets to suit a players genetics.
Discovering how injury prone a player is can shape the intensity of a training programme, something of which can be adopted into anyone’s workout regime. After all, nobody wants to be doing more harm than good.
You can gain an awful lot from just a few of your gene variants being tested. For example, you can find out how your muscles react to varying levels of workout, while how your genetics are made up can make you more adept to playing some sports than others.
Jenny Meadows, the famous British 800 metre runner became the first athlete to reveal her genetic background and discovered an awful lot about her body she would have otherwise not known.
The star of the track missed her home Olympics in 2012 due to an achilles injury, essentially failing to make a dream come true. Just two years later, when she took part in genetic testing, it was revealed that she had genes that made her prone to this injury.
She said, “Before the Olympics I put a really hard winter in because I thought I had to do something really special to win a medal.
“It was a high-risk strategy and unfortunately I got injured. If I’d known that I was susceptible to getting injured, I would have gone a different way.”
Had she known that beforehand, she could have altered her training schedule, by doing less miles on the road and more in the pool or on a cross trainer, to lessen the risk of this happening.
Luckily for her, the tests revealed she was also ideally suited to the 800m, with genetics unveiling she had 50% speed and 50% endurance in her make-up.
It’s this that can be incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to improve their sporting prowess. For example, if you’re genes are more suited towards speed, you’re likely to achieve more in sports that require sprints, such as the 100m, short-track speed skating or track cycling, while people built towards endurance can look towards the marathon or road cycling.
The DNA test can improve your lives tenfold, particularly when it comes to sport and with them more accessible than ever before, if you’re looking to take your performance to the next level it’s well worth taking one.
It’ll help you avoid injury, put you on the right performance path and help you create a training plan and diet that will place you closer than ever before to personal bests. If it’s good enough for some of the world’s best, it’s certainly good enough for you!