Genes Might Matter Even More Than We Thought
Whether you know it or not, this is a very exciting time in physiology labs. There’s a great article in this month’s Fitness Journal from IDEA that highlights a plethora of new research showing just how much our genetic makeup actually affects our response to exercise – and not just in terms of weight loss.
For example, strength training may produce muscle gains ranging from 0% to 59% – depending on the number of satellite cells (i.e., stem cells that circulate in the bloodstream and help repair muscle tissue) that a given person has.
Cardiovascular training responses among individuals have also shown to vary from a 0 ml/min to a 1,000 ml/min improvement in oxygen transport after 20 weeks of the same protocol.
And as far as sedentary weight gain is concerned, some individuals put on 10 lbs. while others pack on 30 lbs. after being overfed by 1,000 calories per day for 100 days. Abdominal fat gain can range from 0% to a whopping 200% increase during this same time period. Wild!
So what does this mean for our exercise programs? Well, we obviously don’t have the technology to tell us how well our genes are likely to respond to a certain type of training (yet). But given the evidence of inherent variability in individual response, we have even more reason to stray away from a purely scientific “one size fits all” approach to exercise and pay closer attention to what happens when we put our programs into practice. What’s worked for us in the past may be the best indicator of what’s likely to work in the future – but only for us.
Filed under: Did You Know?