MEA­SUR­ING UP

Set­ting your fit­ness goals

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Cover Story - merid­i­an­val­ley­lab.com

Almost two weeks into the new year, for many of us the ini­tial fer­vour of good in­ten­tions is al­ready start­ing to wane. One prob­lem is that it can be con­fus­ing, as well as dif­fi­cult, to stay on course with so much con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion out there about what re­ally con­sti­tutes good health. A one-size-fits-all ap­proach rarely works, so if you’re se­ri­ous about im­prov­ing your well­be­ing this year, you need to fo­cus on ex­actly what makes you tick. I got my year off to an amaz­ing start with a healthy hol­i­day, tai­lor-made to my body, so ev­ery ex­er­cise, ev­ery plate of food and ev­ery nap was ex­actly what I needed. And how did I know this? Test­ing. But you don’t have to be go­ing on hol­i­day to give your­self this kind of MoT. To limit the guess­work and help me meet my fit­ness and health goals this year, I visit the new Work­shop Gym­na­sium in Knights­bridge, west London, for a con­sul­ta­tion with the founder, Lee Mullins. He ex­plains why he likes new clients to un­dergo his “Frame­work” as­sess­ment test se­ries: “Very of­ten peo­ple aren’t get­ting the re­sults they want given the amount of time and en­ergy they are in­vest­ing in their life­style. “But th­ese tests re­ally help. We pro­duce a re­port, which de­tails where a client is at in terms of the way they’re mov­ing, their body com­po­si­tion and their meta­bolic health and fit­ness. We can then write a 12-week pro­gramme for fat loss or per­for­mance, based on that.” We be­gin with a body fat test, done by tak­ing mea­sure­ments in 12 sites on my body with calipers. Then I’m screened to as­sess any im­bal­ances and pos­tural is­sues, then we move on to a food in­tol­er­ance test. Just a fin­ger prick and some blobs of blood on a card and within seven to 10 days I’ll get a re­port about how my body re­sponds to 95 dif­fer­ent anti­gens. “You can be told to have eggs and av­o­cado and spinach for break­fast, but if eggs don’t work for you, they don’t work for you,” says Mullins. “Bloat­ing and the body’s abil­ity to re­cover from train­ing can be caused or hin­dered by in­tol­er­ances. If you’ve got an al­lergy or an in­tol­er­ance to some­thing (which can also cause tired­ness, achey joints or headache), it will def­i­nitely hin­der your body’s abil­ity to re­pair, or re­duce fo­cus, and can af­fect your im­mune sys­tem. “Peo­ple are wak­ing up tired con­stantly, are run down, have no en­ergy. They go through their whole lives not know­ing – it’s re­ally sad.” Now for the best bit: I lie on a bed and am told to re­lax. After 15 min­utes’ breath­ing into a mask, the snazzy ma­chine next to me pro­duces a printout de­tail­ing my rest­ing meta­bolic rate. That’s the amount

of calo­ries I need for my or­gans to func­tion well, each day, be­fore I start gal­li­vant­ing around. Next it’s time to es­tab­lish what those calo­ries should be made up of. A saliva swab from the inside of my cheek is taken to gather my DNA. This is sent to a lab and in a month I’ll find out how much fat my body can ab­sorb. This helps Mullins work out what pro­por­tion of car­bo­hy­drates, fats and pro­tein works best for me. And what about ex­er­cise, I hear you ask? That same DNA test will also give an in­sight into what type of move­ment my body loves, be it high-in­ten­sity work or longer, slower, calmer stuff. Of course, no­body can force me to do what I’m told, or to keep my hand out of the cookie jar. What­ever tests you take, you still need willpower and de­ter­mi­na­tion. Yet with in­creas­ing num­bers of pro­fes­sion­als of­fer­ing test­ing and support, it’s clear that help is at hand for those who want to per­form and live at their peak. One warn­ing, how­ever: it can get ex­pen­sive, par­tic­u­larly when you have the ge­netic tests. Do we re­ally need them? Wouldn’t we fare almost as well if we stuck to what we surely now know, which for most of us in­cludes mov­ing more and cut­ting out pro­cessed food, es­pe­cially the de­mon sugar? Rob Ty­nan, founder of the Fit­ness Ad­ven­ture Travel company, which rec­om­mends clients un­der­take test­ing be­fore em­bark­ing on the well­ness hol­i­day of a lifetime, doesn’t think so. “New Year is like Ground­hog Day for most peo­ple be­cause they don’t make a mon­e­tary in­vest­ment into their health,” he says. “Th­ese tests are about sit­ting down with a world-class pro­fes­sional who can tell you about the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of your ge­net­ics. “Knowl­edge is power – the more you have, the more likely you are to achieve what you want.”

Kick-started: Lucy be­gins the year with a healthy hol­i­day, filled with ac­tiv­i­ties tai­lored to suit her body after a well­be­ing and fit­ness anal­y­sis

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