I learned early on that one way for me to control my body weight was through exercise. As long as I kept running and biking, I was happy with the way my body looked. This worked okay for decades, although, I was always very prone to overuse injuries. Crossfit helped me to be very, seemingly strong, although, I admit - I bulked up a lot! And then, got injured. And, since moving to Longmont, Colorado - I have found that I just can't run like I used to, and, running isn't controlling my weight like it used to either.
I see people posting or talking about how lifting heavy weights is a must (almost shaming those who don't lift heavy weights), or how running long distances is the key to longevity and health, or how yoga will fix all ailments. What happens is that people get results from one type of exercise and then tend to assume this is the best exercise for everyone and shoot their praise from the rooftops. The truth is that when it comes to specific strength training or cardiovascular training, THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH FOR ALL HUMANS. It really comes down to our genetics.
If you have ever run a 23andme or Ancestry health test, you have access to information about your individual genetic variations called SNP's (short for Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms). Some of these SNP's have been very well researched with regard to how we respond to exercise. Keep in mind that SNP's can be turned on and off like a light switch - so the goal is to keep them in the happy position.
Understanding my SNP's have helped me to see that I need to really moderate sprinting and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises because I will produce something called creatine kinase faster than someone who was actually designed for sprinting. Creatinine kinase is a measurement of muscle breakdown and inflammation, and cortisol in our system. This might not seem like a big deal, but then if you go over and look at my inflammation genes, you will find that I naturally produce more IL6, an inflammatory cytokine that is stimulated during a variety of situations, including exercise. Guess what IL6 also does? It INCREASES FAT TISSUE AND SLOWS THE METABOLIC RATE. It is also associated with depression, mood disorders, and can lead to tendon and joint problems. And, prolonged increased cortisol can turn on 90% of our genes in a way that is not favorable.
I also code for a gene in a way that can lead to an increase in fat tissue around the muscle when lifting heavy weights - so no wonder I looked bulky when doing CrossFit!
When looking at the totality and interaction of my genes, I am designed for moderate weight exercise, with moderate reps. And, moderate interval training, and a little endurance training. But, if I overexercise, I will likely produce more IL6, which can then turn on genes that might lead to increased fat cells, breathing problems, or even cancers. And lifting heavy weights - not a good idea for me. I have already discovered that through my experience, but my genetics confirms this.
Now, I got away with exercising like crazy in my teens, twenty and thirties (although I was plagued with injury). But, now that I am in my forties, I have to workout smarter, and eat smarter in order to quell the inflammation and maintain a healthy weight.
I am learning to walk or run slow, or skate, do intervals (smartly), and lift the right amount of weight for me. Rev6 is a great way for me to stay within the confines of my heart rate goals and move in a way that is healing for my body, while also building tremendous strength. Because Rev6 isn't just another exercise program, but, rather, a movement system that heals the fascia and nervous system - everyone really can benefit. Some may still need to lift heavy weights a bit, some may still need to go for their long runs - but, these activities can be done better when the fascia is healthy and the muscles are more coordinated.
I still plan on slaying my mountain bike until I can't any longer! But, having the knowledge that I am susceptible to inflammation and injury from too much intense exercise, gives me the power to take control. I can take the right precautions when I do (caring for my fascia, eating the right way, loading up on the right kind of inflammation modulating supplements, being careful with timing, keeping my heart rate under a certain level, etc.).
This is just the tip of the iceberg of how you can use your genetic information to optimize your health. There is SO much more, and it really does take someone trained in the interplay of these genes to help guide you through it. I left out A LOT of information about metabolic genes, injury susceptibility, detoxification genes, micronutrient genes, estrogen genes, etc. for simplicity.
If you have your 23andme raw data, you can work with me to analyze your genetic information and help you understand the smartest way for you to workout. I will run your data through a report called GeneRx developed by Dr. Penny Kendall-Reid, a fellow naturopathic doctor. Dr. Penny Kendall-Reid and her husband Dr. Stephen Reed (an Orthopedic Surgeon) have been studying the research on SNPs for over a decade and have created this report to support doctors in helping their patients.
If you are interested in learning more, feel free to schedule a call with me!