We know fast-twitch muscles make sprinters and slow-twitchers are distance types. It’s also obvious that you want to pick parents who live a long time. But can genetic testing give you a leg up as well? British sprinter Craig Pickering says yes. Writing in Athletics Weekly, Craig argues: “It is worth reiterating here that the idea behind genetic testing is not to change your end goal. If you’re a sprinter, but you didn’t have the RR ACTN3 allele, your genes wouldn’t tell us that you couldn’t be a sprinter. Instead, we would look at training recommendations that should allow you to get the most out of your training, by playing to your genetic advantage. Similarly, injury predisposition testing information can be used to provide specific exercise interventions within a prehabilitative training programme, even without current symptoms.”
An interesting aspect for coaches and support staff to consider is that compliance to an exercise and diet programme is greater in individuals who have been placed on a programme that matches their genetic requirements. In essence, genetic testing is another tool in the armoury that allows for a well-informed training programme that is specifically designed to maximally benefit an athlete based on their genetic make-up.
So here’s a way to craft an advantage: Cough up the money for genetic testing, and follow its suggestions. (The injury-prevention angle sounds promising.)
USADA can’t stop you. But is this advantage a fair one? (It goes only to those who can afford it, after all.)
Also unfair is that retirees have more time to train than us full-time worker bees.
BTW, Craig Pickering has a dog in this fight. He works for DNAFit, which tries to sell people on genetic testing.
So how much does genetic testing cost? DNAFit sells packages that range from $119 to $400. Other outfits have similar products, such as Genetic Performance and Atlas Sports Genetics.
Has anyone gotten their genes tested? What resulted? Anyone thinking about this?
Is it fair?
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