Helix uses your DNA to give your results to personalize your fitness and nutrition and help you reach your goals.
Over the past decade of my life, nutrition and fitness have been major aspects. They were always there – I grew up playing sports from the age of 5 to graduating college and my parents instilled us with healthy eating habits growing up. After college I picked up CrossFit, then tried out half marathons, triathlons, and full marathons. I went from being a pescatarian to eating meat to be able to gain muscle and get stronger.
It wasn’t until last year that I really dove into the topic of what my body was capable of doing and how I could fuel it to perform the best. I saw that eating healthy played a huge role in my performance and I really jumped into dialing in my nutrition. I did some research, studied nutrition, and hoped I was making the best choices.
But it’s so hard to tell if what you are doing is the best for you. Everyone’s body is so different, it’s hard to go off what worked for your friend or what you read on the internet. What works for them, might not work for you. You hear the saying that you can outwork your genetics, but what if you use your genetics to your advantage?
And that is where Helix comes in. They are able to guide you throughout your DNA discovery and can help you make more informed choices and decisions about your health, lifestyle, fitness, nutrition, and more.
What is Helix
Helix takes a saliva sample from you and sequences your DNA (around 22,000 genes) to help you learn more about yourself. For the most part, your genes don’t change, but your lifestyle can. And that is exactly what Helix is helping with – identifying the genetic variations that make you unique to help you make more informed choices and personalize your fitness + nutrition.
On average humans are 99.9% genetically identical. This means the vast majority of our DNA use the same order of letters. But it is those small differences in the 0.01% that make each of us unique. Genetic variations affect our response to diet and exercise. Helix and DNAFit can help us learn more about these variations so that we can identify how to excel in our journey towards achieving our own individual optimal health.
Helix sent me a Fitness Diet Pro kit by DNAFit. Fitness Diet Pro gives you the power to use your genetic information to explore personalized solutions to reach your fitness and nutritional goals. They aim to give you further understanding of your own macro and micronutrient needs and how your body may respond to power or endurance exercise and recovery.
How it works
It’s super simple. Helix sends you a kit in the mail, you give them a small saliva sample (just spit in a small vile), and then you send it back in the box they provide that has the postage already paid for. It honestly takes about 5 minutes to do and couldn’t be easier.
Then all you have to do is wait for your results (which was the hardest part!) to be emailed to you. In my case, the product that I got was Fitness Diet Pro by DNAFit. After the initial sequencing, you can then use your genetic results for any other DNA products found on the Helix Store. Before we get into the results, Helix is offering the first 25 people who use the code ‘HelixGME8’ 30% off their purchase from their site! So if this is something you are geeking out on, make sure to take advantage of their offer!
Analyzing My Results
To be completely honest, I was a little nervous to get my results back. Everyone knows that most people improve from exercise, but our body reacts to different types of exercises. What if it said that my body didn’t react well to HIIT training or endurance activities? Or that I shouldn’t be eating certain foods I love.
Training Intensity Response
Luckily my body responds well to both power and endurance activities and I showed an almost equal balance between the two.
These results have really gotten me excited about long distance running lately and hopefully training for another marathon soon. I now know that my body is equally suited to both types of activities and I realized it would be fun to increase my endurance activities while complementing it with CrossFit.
Based on my assessment, it shows that my recovery is slower than average. I was a little surprised by this as I think my body does pretty well with multiple workouts a week, but it is great information to have. It is usually recommended that 48 hours are taken between workouts, but it also depends on how hard you are working out. I’ll try pairing my CrossFit workouts with some lower impact workouts like running or yoga to help with recovery. And in order to complement this, DNAFit recommended that I should add some omega-3 fatty acids into my diet, which should be easy with the help of some fish oil (more on that below).
My genetic results indicate that I have an overall higher than average risk of a sports related soft tissue injury. This is another one I was a little surprised with. The only time I can remember being injured was during high school preseason for soccer in 10th grade. I pulled a muscle in my leg, but other than that, that is it. Again, it is good information to know as I plan my training schedule and as I get older.
Now this is where the fun starts! As curious as I was about my fitness results, it’s the nutrition results I wanted to see the most. By now we know that nutrition is a major factor in our health (probably more important than fitness) and I was so excited to see these nutrition insights.
Here are some of the main things I learned about my body’s reaction to certain foods:
Carbohydrates – Overall, these results pretty much fit what I have discovered over the past year or so. I have a higher sensitivity to carbs (specifically refined carbs) and am less well placed to deal with excess carbs. Since I am so active, my intake should still be somewhat high. I should try to focus on complex and fibrous carbs and reduce refined carbs. As of late, I have been eating a little too many refined carbs and my alcohol consumption has been higher than normal and have noticed a difference in my body composition, which makes sense.
Saturated Fats – my body has a low response to fat intake meaning that my body deals with fat intake better than others. This is great news as I eat healthy fats from eggs, ground beef, nuts, avocado, and coconut.
Detoxification – this result tests a certain gene (GSTM1) in supporting the body’s actual biological process that takes place in the liver as part of our everyday detoxification pathway. My results show that my body does not produce this gene, making it harder for me to detox. To help, I can add cruciferous (which I eat a lot of!) and allium (onions, garlic…) veggies to my diet. I can also avoid burnt meat and use acid based marinades for my meat. I am definitely going to keep that in mind going forward.
Antioxidants – my genetic test results indicate the possibility of a moderately reduced capacity to neutralize free radicals. This means that I need to make sure I am meeting my needs for vitamin A, E, C, and selenium.
Omega 3s – DNAFit also recommended a slightly increased intake of omega 3 above the average guidelines. The amount recommended is achievable through diet, but actually kicks my butt into action as most of the time I forget to take my fish oil supplement.
Lactose – I used to think that I was lactose intolerant when I went through a phase of not eating it (strict paleo). I now eat it on the regular and don’t have issues with it. Turns out I am right as I have inherited one copy of the version of the gene (T) that leads to lactase persistence and an ability to continue to digest lactose from dairy products.
I also received information on my body’s sensitivity to alcohol and caffeine and my vitamin B and D needs, which were super helpful on seeing what foods I need to increase to increase my vitamin intake.
Using DNA to Personalize Fitness + Nutrition
Overall, this information has been so helpful! I pride myself with eating lots of veggies, but due to my genes, I need to be focusing more on certain vitamins, antioxidants, omega-3s, and certain food groups. I also need to add more of certain food groups to my diet to help me detoxify and neutralize free radicals. While most people might think that is common sense, it has been a game changer to see that it is actually true for my genetic makeup, which will really help me take action.
It has also helped me realize that if my body is sore, it is still recovering and it’s okay to take an additional rest day. Some days I get so hung up that I should be working out, that it is actually doing me more harm than good. Rest days and recovery are just as important and my results show that my body needs them. Also, mixing my training is good for my body. Bring on the CrossFit, running, yoga (which I need to do more of), and other fun fitness activities.
If this is something that interests you, I recommend exploring the Helix Store and buying DNAFit’s Fitness Diet Pro kit. Not only will you learn how you can train and fuel your body based on your genetics, it will help you understand why your body reacts to certain things. Seeing the results has really opened my eyes and made me take a second look at my training and some of my nutrition for the better. And I think it would do the same for you!
To take advantage of trying out Helix, the first 25 people to purchase and use code ‘HelixGME8’ will receive 30% off!
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