A British startup has just developed a system designed to ensure that your physical training or sports activity matches your goals, by combining an analysis of your DNA with personal physical data monitoring.
‘Quantified Self’ tools – sensors and software applications – are designed to help people get to know more about themselves by providing them with quantified information about their bodies and vital functions. Combining these physiological measurements with genetic testing provides a basis for people to optimise their physical activity. This is the central concept espoused by Bristol, UK-based Genetrainer, which expects very soon to offer training plans and personalised advice on your exercise regime in accordance with your DNA profile. Initially the service will be offered via the Genetrainer website, with a dedicated mobile app coming on stream further down the road. Exercise tracking will then help you monitor your progress in relation to your original objectives. The system is designed for everyone from ordinary people who want to ensure that the physical or sports activities they engage in are having the right effect to performance athletes in search of the most suitable training methods.
A ‘genetic’ training plan to suit your goals
To begin using Genetrainer, you will first of all have to undergo a ‘personal genome’ test with 23andme, a US-based company which specialises in DNA testing and can, for example, monitor propensity to over 240 medical conditions and health traits. Genetrainer will then retrieve the results directly from the 23andme site. Factoring in other data, such as your heart rate, sleep patterns, and weight, Genetrainer then works out a personalised exercise/training plan matched to your performance or health goals. “Our service doesn’t replace a coach, who is there to give highly technical advice,” stresses Genetrainer co-founder Patrick Dura. “But we’ve seen many high-level athletes who’ve spent years testing out all the various types of training, when a DNA analysis could have given them highly precise, very fast results.” For example, if your aim is to lose weight, Genetrainer says it can determine whether you will react more quickly to working out with weights or cardio-fitness exercises in order to burn calories, and can suggest specific types of exercise to optimise your results.
Genetrainer can also be used in conjunction with other ‘quantified self’ portable devices and apps, for example with Withings, a ‘smart body analyser’ which connects to your smartphone and measures weight, body mass and heart rate. Another compatible health and fitness product is Polar, a smart watch which measures the number of calories burned during an exercise session and, when combined with a chest-worn transmitter, tracks in real time cardio frequency and heart rate recovery. “We will also draw up charts so that users can get a feel for the progress they’ve made and so remain motivated to carry on exercising and staying fit,” adds Patrick Dura.