Walk right for your metabolic type
Breakthrough science reveals how choosing a strolling style right for your specific DNA profile can boost calorie burn and speed toning to help you slim in record time
The tiny tweaks that will send your metabolism soaring
When you lace up your sneakers and head out to your gym or neighborhood park for a slimming stroll, you might check your pulse to make sure your heart rate is in the ideal fat-melting zone, or change up your pace to speed up calorie burning. But chances are, you’ve never given your DNA a second thought. We hadn’t either… until we heard from Sharon Moalem, M.D., Ph.D., author of The DNA Restart, that our genes hold the key to fast-tracking exercise results. “We all evolved in different environments and inherited genes to match those environments,” explains Dr. Moalem. “And just as our DNA determines whether or not our skin burns in the sun, our best diet and exercise plan is genetically determined. If you have certain genes, you will benefit more—or less— from certain types of activities.”
Genetic scientists have identified three key genes that control how the body responds to exercise. The gene PPARA influences muscle development and growth, while the genes ADRB2 and ADRB3 regulate fat storage, the breakdown of fat for fuel and the body’s stress response. “For each gene, individuals can carry one of many variants,” explains Keith Grimaldi, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at the genetic testing company DNAFit. “Which variant you carry influences how you respond to exercise.” For instance, women with a gene variation that makes them prone to develop fast-twitch muscle fibers might see better results from an exercise program with high-intensity bursts, while women with the genes for slow-twitch muscles fibers respond better to steady-paced exercise.
Doing the “wrong” exercise for your specific genes can stall weight loss. “If you go to a trainer or choose a random exercise program that’s not tailored to your genes, you may get frustrated that a certain type of exercise isn’t effective,” says Dr. Moalem. Case in point: When researchers at Queens University in Canada had subjects complete 30 minutes of steady-paced exercise four times a week, 52 percent of participants didn’t see any improvement in their aerobic capacity (a measure of how efficiently muscles use oxygen to break down fat for fuel) after three weeks—and some were actually found to be in worse shape than when they started.
Adopt a walking approach tailored to your genes, though, and wow! When the Queens University scientists had the “non-responders” in the steady-paced group switch to a high-intensity sprint program, 100 percent of them saw results.
And in a separate study in the journal Biology of Sport, subjects who adopted an exercise program based on their genes lost 129 percent more body fat and 43 percent more belly fat than those on a standardized fitness plan—plus, they saw three times greater gains in muscle growth and aerobic capacity. Those who completed genetic-based workouts also saw a 10 percent reduction in heart-harming triglycerides and greater improvement in blood-sugar control. All told, these effects are helping women who walk right for their DNA lose up to 11 pounds every week! To uncover the plan that will help you whittle your waistline, take the quiz below, then read on for your targeted walking Rx.