You may have heard about genetic testing and how it’s now available to fitness trainers and athletes at all levels. It might sound all a bit science fiction and intimidating, but it really has entered the mainstream these days. 

In fact recently took a test and was fascinated to see what results and revelations it might throw out. The test involved sending off an example of my spit to Musclegenes, who analyse its genetic contents and then email back a very detailed report. The secret of my sports gene would be revealed.

The service they offer is an ever expanding one, and at no extra cost they update you on further genetic factors pertinent to your test when the new tests come online; for example caffeine response.


So I guess you’re wondering how I got on?

Here’s a brief overview of my result

It is certainly detailed and potentially very interesting, however in my case it pretty much backed up what I knew. But in itself that is quite comforting and shows the degree of accuracy.

I possess an RR allele rating for speed; those two copies of the relevant gene make for enhanced sprint capability rather than endurance.

In terms of fat burning I was CG (one fat burning and one power allele); apparently this is an unusual combination and is one that’s found again in power athletes.

Now in terms of endurance I was DD, which indicates – and you’ll be getting the thread by now – a strong affinity for anaerobic training. This response naturally indicates a predominance of fast twitch fibres.

Parisa & John Shepherd

* Picture – Author John Shepherd with WatchFit CEO Parisa Louie.

In terms of metabolism I scored AV, reflecting an “intermediate” metabolism and this result showed an: “insulin sensitivity below average” – which means I should avoid excess sugar and starchy carbs, for example. Duly noted!

I also had a KR pairing for hypertrophy indicating a propensity for low body fat and muscle gain. I also had for my age good levels of testosterone, which is good for muscle mass maintenance.

Is the test worth it?

I’d say so. I am an veteran athlete and my elite competitive days are some years behind me. However this remained fascinating and will be particularly for a young athlete looking to find out literally what they’re made of, it could be invaluable.

This kind of testing comes into its own because the results can be used to inform the type of sport or event, as is the case with athletics, that they’d be most suited to. Your sports gene is a very strong guide to your sport.

And with this knowledge in place the training and nutritional requirements can also be specifically tailored. All of which means that athlete and coach/trainer is better informed about key factors and this enables a greater potential for getting it right in training and therefore performance.

Sports science tests that were once the preserve of the elite participants, not so any longer. They are now available for the masses and that is a good thing for both coaches and sportsmen and sportswomen. the sports gene

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