My DNA results are in!

By guest blogger, Chris Laing, director of Fit School

A few weeks ago, my wife, Karen was interested in having her DNA profile analysed as she starts to rebuild her body after having kids. So we got her tested and the results are in. I thought I would share them here so you have an understanding about where we are with advancements in health and fitness testing.

Before you get your results, it is advisable to have a think about what you think the results might show. They rarely show up something that you genuinely never knew or felt. Unless you are living a really unhealthy lifestyle. Here are what the we are testing for.
  • Carbohydrate sensitivity – also know as the fat gene
  • Fat sensitivity
  • Detox ability
  • Caffeine sensitivity
  • Salt sensitivity
  • Lactose tolerance
  • Coeliac risk
There are a few others such as antioxidant needs, vitamin D and calcium, but I’ll stick to topics above.
Here is what Karen felt prior to her results.
  • Used to live off carbs in her management consultancy days, but was fatter and unhealthy (her words not mine)
  • Tried low fat diets but left her feeling hungry and craving sweets
  • Craves dark green veggies
  • Gets the shakes if she has too much coffee
  • Her dad has high blood presssure which would put her at risk of hypertension from excess sodium
  • If she has too much dairy, it upsets her stomach
  • Whole wheat doest’t agree with her.

So here are Karen’s test results:

Karen has a low sensitivity to carbs, which means she can cope with them pretty well. You’ll still put on weight if you are into a calorie surplus, regardless of how well you can cope with carbs, but carbs definitely aren’t her enemy.

Karen also has a low saturated fat sensitivity. Her body uses saturated fats for energy better than the average person or someone who has a high fat sensitivity. So a low calorie and low fat diet will not suit her and it is no surprise that she was hungry when she tried it. nearly 40% of her diet can made up of fats. 10% of these can come from saturated fats. So it is advisable that she adds some to her diet as saturated fats help absorb fat soluble vitamins and hormones.

Karen has the deleted version of a gene responsible for detoxification. So it is advisable that she increase her dark green veggie intake to compensate. This would explain her craving for dark veggies.

Karen’s salt sensitivity is raised which puts her at risk of hypertension with a high sodium intake. As mentioned earlier, hypertension is in her family. We know this to be genetic so it’s no surprise. However, risk doesn’t mean the gene will be expressed. If you try to stay fit and healthy, you may not even get hypertension.

Karen is one of the lucky people who actually gets a positive health benefit (lower cholesterol) from moderate intake of alcohol. Her body breaks down alcohol more slowly than me which means her body can cope better with the toxic element of alcohol.

Karen has an intermediate ability to detoxify toxins such as carcinogens from food and smoke. It also helps with caffeine removal. So her body might struggle with more than 1 coffee per day.

Karen has what is known as lactose persistence. She can cope well with dairy, but she might not cope as well in later years. Again, this is listening to your body.

Lastly, she has a potential risk of coeliac disease. It still is only risk, but she does get digestive discomfort with whole wheat and spelt. At the moment she just avoids them, but at some point may want to get an antibody test to see if there is anything going on.

There were a few vitamin and mineral recommendations which are more than she currently takes, but there was nothing that she didn’t expect. So you might be asking what is the point of being told things you currently know?

Having the things you have always thought, written down in a report is incredibly powerful. Especially for compliance. I never advise Karen on anything to do with health and fitness and vice versa. Couples giving advice to one another on the whole doesn’t work as your relationship gets in the way of any objectivity. However, as the test is objective, we were able to have a non judgemental discussion. She has since been making the tweaks to her diet. It helps that she is happy to. I don’t need to mention lowering risk of heart attack or better protection from cancer etc. This is a report that stays with you for life and is what your body needs to function optimally. So I’m hopeful that people who often struggle to stick to a healthy diet, will be able to connect with how their body works. You’ll not need to worry about inflammatory newspaper headlines because they might not apply to you. Also, you can redefine what the word ‘healthy’ means for you. Low fat might be healthy for you, but unhealthy for someone else. Quite often it’s how the information is relayed to us, that makes us stand up and take notice.

Later in the year, I’ll post about Karen’s exercise DNA test too.

If you are interested in getting a better understanding of your body, please contact fitschoolessex@gmail.com.

Chris Laing is a personal trainer specialising in luxury, comprehensive lifestyle/fitness training packages. Chris is co-director of Fit School with his wife Karen, Fit School offers accessible group training programmes including ladies only training camps, online detoxes, P.E. classes and Pilates (including pre and post natal Pilates) in Essex.

 

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Are you predisposed to be fat, fit, fast or ill – what your DNA says about you.

It’s all in your genes.

By guest blogger, Chris Laing, director of Fit School

The health and fitness industry normally trots along spurting out fads and hype to anyone that will listen. But every now and then, the industry makes a stratospheric jump in information that will genuinely be of benefit to everyone that listens. Cue: genetic testing.
Genetic testing is nothing new. We test for congenital diseases, DNA damage and we can see genetic differences in people (albeit less than 1% variation that separates you from me). In fact we are genetically similar to a banana! However, these variations are what determine whether we live life as a banana, or a human.Gene variation plays a big role in who we are and we now have the technology to determine how we work through our own individual genetic variations. I believe this is currently the most powerful tool in individual health and fitness customisation. If you know what directly affects your health, you can kiss the scaremongering headlines goodbye, for good.
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How does your body cope with saturated fats, or carbohydrates? Do you have the fat gene? Does milk work for you?  All these things can now be tested to see if your DNA and your lifestyle are in harmony for optimum health.

This isn’t about being told you are ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Or being told that you need to stop drinking and live a virtuous life of mountain spring water and vegetables. I found it to be quite the opposite. I found it really empowering and quite cool to see how I work.So my genetic profile brought up some things which I already knew. Milk could be an issue, which it has been since I was a teenager. I don’t clear coffee from my system very well (hence my shakes after a strong coffee). I have a possible predisposition to hypertension, especially with excess sodium. My dad had high blood pressure, so this is pretty accurate. When completing a medical health questionnaire, people tend to be red flagged if there is a family history of high blood pressure. So it’s common sense that there must be a genetic element at play.What does it mean to you? Finding out your genetic profile will not tell you that you will live to 100 or you’ll get ill next week. It simply tells you how your body works and joins up the dots. It will tell you how genes are expressed or not in relation to managing risks for optimum health. It will once and for all confirm things that you’ve felt but couldn’t really explain. Finally, it will give you stepping stone to define for yourself how you want to be healthy.
The main test can tell from your DNA things like your body’s ability to process alcohol, toxins and gluten. You might find you have a high risk of certain chronic diseases but by tweaking your diet, based on this information you can minimise your risk. Put simply, the tests will enable you to supercharge your diet for your specific genetic makeup in order to live well and support your health.
This isn’t a patch test you can do at home or drop into the chemist for but then this is DNA testing which has only previously been available to elite level athletes and there are only a handful of professionals in the UK who can interpret your results. Fortunately I’m one of them.
If you’re interested, drop me a line. There’s no obligation.
I am however offering a £25 discount to the first eight people who get in touch and book in. I will go over your results myself and relay the findings via an on-line group.This will enable me to explain your report and help to create a programme going forward. Everyone will receive a meal plan, recipes and nutrition guide.The price for the first 8 people is £180 (£205 after) for the basic test, £225 for full test (£250 after). Please e-mail fitschoolessex@gmail.com,Chris.

Chris Laing is a personal trainer specialising in luxury, comprehensive lifestyle/fitness training packages. Chris is co-director of Fit School with his wife Karen, Fit School offers accessible group training programmes including ladies only training camps, online detoxes, P.E. classes and Pilates (including pre and post natal Pilates) in Essex.

 

Back pain: A long term project

Here’s a post from our Fit School pages, written by Fit School co-director Chris Laing.

Most people will experience back pain in their lives. It can vary from an ache, to full on debilitating agony. Long term pain of any kind can lead to depression and many people feel their lives are adversely affected by back pain.

According to the British Pain Society, around 10 million people in the UK suffer from back pain on a daily basis which affects their lives. And this can be expensive to UK businesses, with the TUC reporting that British businesses lose an estimated 4.9 million days a year due to employee absenteeism due to work related back pain. It’s a big deal!

Known factors that cause back pain are bad posture both sitting and lying down; lifting something incorrectly; and general stiffness and tightness in the muscles above and below the painful site (however it can be as far away as your big toe). There are also many unknown factors that can cause back pain, it isn’t an exact science.

It can be a terrifying thing to experience, but you mustn’t lose hope when it comes to pain management. Once you experience pain, you need come terms with it. This is the hardest thing. You need to accecpt that it is a part of you and will be for some time. Until you get to this point, you will be constantly looking for that one good crack or stretch to sort it out. Quick fixes rarely work with back pain.

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Here is our guide to back pain management:

Any back pain requires a long-term management programme. Take it on a month by month basis and see if things are improving.

Get your situation assessed by a professional. Only they will have an idea about what could be causing the pain and how to manage it better.

Assess everything that could be contributing to your pain and do what you can to manage it.  The main culprits are: posture; your driving position; your sitting postion; your working position (maybe get stand up desk); and your sleeping position.

You need to put aside some money to pay for treatments or ergonomic aids to assist with the pain. You might eventually want to get a new bed to help with the pain. A good mattress doesn’t cost the earth but it isn’t cheap either.

Know and understand which exercises to do on a regular basis. Having a few physiotherapy sessions will not solve your back issues. People often stop doing their exercises once the pain has stopped. If you stop feeling pain, the issue isn’t fixed. You just don’t feel the pain anymore and it can come back at any time.

Let go of what you think you should or shouldn’t be doing. I used to scoff at people doing Pilates or Yoga. However, since experiencing back pain, I incorporate Pilates exercises into my daily routine. One thing that your back needs is regular movement. This is why Pilates and yoga are a great way to help manage back pain. However, you need to ensure that you address other factors too.

We often get asked questions about this, so we are creating a daily exercise routine to help people who are mainly sedentary but experience back pain. It will help manage back pain better and stop back pain ruining your life. If you are interested, get in touch and we’ll contact you when the programme is up and running. Ignoring back pain, taking pain killers or resting it for a bit is not the answer. Nor is doing bootcamps (this is another topic for another day)! So before you try any of these, try addressing some of the factors we have mentioned above.

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ABOUT FIT SCHOOL:
Fit School is run by Chris and Karen Laing. Chris has been Personal Training since 2002. He re-trained after he completed his degree in Business Studies as he was fascinated with the human body and how your health is affected by diet. 

Chris was always fascinated with body transformations and fat loss and was about to learn more about it as In 2008, he was hired to train and present a celebrity fitness DVD for Claire Richards. Claire was also getting married so he had 3 jobs in one! 

For years, Chris and Karen were saying that gyms need to focus on creating programmes for people that deliver results, but gyms weren’t interested. Chris and Karen came up with Fit School, a system for people to get results through group exercise programmes which isn’t gym centred.
Fit School creates a structure for people, where they only need to turn up and enjoy themselves.

Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.
TWITTER: @fitschoolessex
FACEBOOK: ccfitschool
WEBSITE: http://www.alittlefitter.com

Fit School: Ladies only training camps. Are you ready?

Fit School is looking for willing recruits who want to get in shape. Here’s how it’s going to work:

 

Fit School’s ladies only training camps. We don’t do bootcamps like you know bootcamps!

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I’ve been getting lots of enquiries about bootcamps, the ‘guaranteed to beast you’ workout that’s taken over the outdoor fitness market. They are fun and can create a great post workout ‘endorphin’ high.

 

For the last 12 years in fitness, Karen and I have focused on results. From our knowledge, the results obtained from the majority of bootcamps aren’t in the same league as the results we have achieved. Especially if you’re only attending them just once a week. Of course there are some fantastic bootcamps out there which do deliver a fun experience and results. The main feature of these great bootcamps is multiple training sessions per week and a nutrition plan. But there are also lots of bootcamps which don’t.

 

We like to safeguard our results. That’s why Fit School won’t be offering a weekly bootcamp. Instead, we are starting our ladies only training camps. We are going to guide a group of ladies through a fitness experience which is shaped around what bootcamps were designed for: RESULTS! We can’t take on lots of people and we don’t want to run them every week throughout the year. Instead we will have three camps each year and they will be our premier product.

 

Bootcamps were originally designed for army recruits who were already fit. Therefore they  needed to be intense. However, people are now doing bootcamps who aren’t fit, at an intensity which probably isn’t ideal. Even more worrying is the number of women doing bootcamps to lose their baby weight. No pelvic floor exam and no inury screen. Now I’m not averse to an intense workout and in due time, you will probably experience some of these. However, I’m a big fan of buidling up your body and gradually building the intensity in a way that it can cope with. Think of this like a … School! Just like our name implies, we create a syllabus, not individual fitness sessions. So we want to take a group of ladies from the beginning, right the way up to a ‘bootcamp’ intensity.

 

We’ve already planned out some routes/hikes/treks which we will be taking you on. This isn’t going to be just a weekly exercise session. For this reason, we need to know if you are serious about getting into the best shape you have ever been in. That’s why we are going to run a free trial for six weeks.

 

With a free trial, we won’t have to pay any council fees for using public spaces (we’re a very above board business), so we can pass on this saving to you. If we have to use rooms or halls, there will only be the charge to cover the rooms. The prices we have been quoted are around £27 per hour, so if we need to use them, our volunteers just need to cover this. I hope we don’t need to use them, but it is a backup with all the bad weather we have been having.

 

We do like to support food banks, so all we ask is to make donation of your choice direct to the food bank in Harlow. http://www.mrct.org.uk/foodbank.htm

 

Also in return, all we need are video testimonals and some before and after pictures which we can use on our marketing information.

 

So if after reading all this, you feel that you can commit to two exercise sessions with us and two at home, and make nutritonal changes then send a brief e-mail to us at chrislaingtraining@gmail.com stating your reasons why you want a place.

 

Fit School with Chris

Fit School with Chris

Biscuit SOS – how to beat the mid-afternoon munchies.

Fesh Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rapsberries and Hot Chocolate

Peckish? Is your 3 o’clock appointment with the biscuit barrel ruining your good intentions? If so, you’re not alone. From lack of protein, to sleep deprivation, dehydration or just your body’s own clever chemical hunger warfare sending your brain ‘feed me’ signals, the mid-afternoon munchies are sabotaging svelte waistlines everywhere. It’s time we did something about it. Here’s my how, why and emergency guide to the mid-afternoon munchies.

THE GHRELIN GREMLIN

Think of your body like a finely tuned eco-system. It fights for equilibrium. You get thirsty or feel sleepy, that’s just your clever body looking after itself.

The same goes for hunger. Our tummies produce hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin makes us feel full but the ghrelin gremlin is all about hunger. Like most of our hormones, they regulate themselves during our restorative sleep hours. So a lack thereof can wreak havoc with our hunger signals.

Scientists know that sleep deprivation will increase ghrelin levels in the body. The 2008 study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, found that just one night of sleep deprivation can lower leptin levels and raise ghrelin levels.

The ghrelin gremlin peaks in the afternoon and signals the brain to eat, and to eat high calorie foods. Hence our visits to the vending machine or corner shop.

Scientists have also discovered that ghrelin is not good for waistlines. A study published in 2009, in the International Journal of Obesity, found that ghrelin favours an accumulation of fats around the tummy and also in the fatty tissues around our organs, especially the liver. Specifically those areas that put us at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So if the gremlins strike, aim for healthy, happy fats which are much easier for your body to use as fuel and help prevent the unhealthy fat gain around your tummy.

REGULATE

If you are finding yourself hungry in the afternoons it’s also worth analysing your morning food intake. Did you skip breakfast? Did you nip out of the door with little more than a slice of toast and jam? In order to regulate your appetite and blood sugar levels, the best thing you can do is have protein with every meal. A boiled egg, nuts with your yoghurt or a tuna sandwich will all serve your dietary needs better than a teensy rice cake!

You may also be genuinely hungry? Sometimes a craving for high calorie food is just your body’s way of saying ‘EAT’ – so rather than reaching for a cake, eat something more substantial instead.

FIVE RULES TO BEAT THE MID-AFTERNOON MUNCHIES

1. Aim for at least seven hours sleep a night.

2. Eat breakfast – if you skip it then make sure your first meal contains a balance of proteins and good fats.

3. Eat protein with every meal and every snack – that might just be a few nuts (see below).

4. Drink at least two litres of fluid a day – if you feel hungry, try a drink first (you might just be thirsty).

5. Consider an omega oil supplement – it helps in the battle against unhappy fats.

EMERGENCY GHRELIN GREMLIN BUSTERS

If the hunger has already kicked in, here are a few suggestions for damage limitation:

1. Drink a herb or fruit tea, or a fresh vegetable juice – it can take away the sweet craving and quench your thirst.

2. Have a square of dark chocolate with a few nuts.

3. Eat oatcakes with nut butter or avocado.

4. Have an apple with a small piece of cheese.

5. Have some granola yoghurt.

Why Women Get Fat (from my sexy new guest blogger)

Here’s one for you all from my hubby, who has managed to succinctly sum up some of the adipose challenges we lady folk face daily.  Over to you Chris (please excuse wanton exploitation of my husband’s assets in my choice of image):

“Happy Father’s day to all those who were able to celebrate this great day where I was allowed to take a nap on the couch. Best gift my wife has ever given me.

So the next section is why do women get fat. The simple answer is because they are meant to. Body fat is connected to your metabolism. When you lose it, your body knows about it and tries to control fat levels. We all have a genetic set point. A point at which your body will do anything to maintain your fat level. That is why unless you have expert guidance, you will put it back on. Women need more body fat than men because it is linked to fertility. If women have low body fat levels (15%) then this can impact fertility. One trainer who I measured actually had these issue. She was 10% and already had irregular periods.

If you were to analyse the fat cells from the legs of men and women, they would have a similar number of fat cells. However, what makes them fill up is a receptor called alpha-2. Alpha-2 receptors mobolise fat in the body and women have been found to have around nine times these receptors in their hips and thighs. It also has a poorer blood supply. One reason is to pack calories away and leave them there for emergency fuel during pregnancy. So women need to expect to have some curvature of their hips and thighs. However, what accelerates this process is the following:

  • Croissants, pastries with coffee.
  • No resistance training.
  • Poor sleep.
  • Steady state cardio.
  • Low fat diets.
  • Chatting with your mates at the school gates.

So hopefully you understand that fat is essential and with this knowledge, you can have a carefully scripted response for when your partner or female friend asks you if you think they are fat. This will hopefully explain why it is much harder for women to lose fat from these areas. So does that mean that it is impossible? Absolutely not. There are lots of things women can do to lose fat from these areas. Here are a few:

  • Eat more good fat especially Omega 3 found in oily fish or flaxseed.
  • Stop eating sugar.
  • Stop eating processed foods.
  • Perform interval training.
  • Start lifting weights that create a sweat.
  • Eat good sources of protein.
  • Eat 2 different dark green vegetables with every meal (or a green drink).
  • Get better sleep.
  • Stop chatting with your mates at the school gates.

Dark green veg has a chemical called Indole 3 carbinol. This actually binds to fat and helps to transport it out of the body. You can find this in most dark green vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, kale and watercress are really good sources. Some of you may have heard my talking about alkalising your meals. This is a similar concept. The body fat range for healthy women is 15-30%. Most women who I measure think they are at least 5% lower than what they actually are. One lady stopped training with me because she didn’t believe that over half her body weight was fat. Denial is a wonderful thing.

I would seriously suggest that you know roughly what your body fat levels are. They correlate to health and can show you early signs of hormonal issues or common preventable diseases. I will have told you your body fat level at some point. However, it is useful to know how to discuss this if someone you know brings this up.

This is a brief summary on a very big topic. If you want to know more let me know before I see you next and I’ll go over it further.”