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.

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,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.



Can coconut water make you more beautiful and cure your hangover?

Elixir of youth. Hangover cure. Labour and birthing aid. Sports drink. Drink of choice for the Hollywood starlet. Coconut water is fast gaining reputation as the ‘super drink’ of choice, with its many benefits now being backed up by scientific studies.

As a coconut water fan, I jumped at the chance to go to an event hosted by Vita Coco on Wednesday to learn more about the science behind it. I also got to sup on various delicious flavours of coconut water (although I have to confess my favourite is still straight up, natural).

1. Yes it could be considered something of a beauty elixir – amongst other Hollywood A-listers Madge, Gwinny, Ri-Ri and Sienna are huge fans. Coconut water is naturally rich in antioxidants, recently backed up by laboratory studies. It contains plant chemicals cytokinins, which have shown anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic effects, vitamins B and C and the minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosporous and sodium.

2. Coconut water is naturally isotonic. To be considered isotonic, a drink needs to contain 5-6% sugars. Coconut water is 5% naturally occurring sugars. An isotonic drink is quickly absorbed by the body making it both thirst quenching and more importantly rehydrating. So at times of need, such as after sports or illness, during labour or in the post natal period (or a big night out), an isotonic drink can be more effective than plain water. A recent study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in December 2012, found coconut water to be as effective in rehydrating athletes as conventional sports drinks.

According to, coconut water is a universal donor and is identical to human blood plasma.  It has the same level of electrolytic balance that we have in our blood and apparently, during the Pacific War of 1941-45, coconut water was used to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers. Coconut water was also reportedly used as an IV drip in WWII.

3. Coconut water is chemical and sugar free. Unlike conventional sports drinks which contain a cocktail of sugars, sweeteners, artificial flavourings and basically chemicals which can be very acid forming in the body, coconut water contains no nasties. Recent studies have shown runners who suffered with gastric issues from conventional sports drinks reacted much better to coconut water as a rehydration drink with fewer tummy complaints.

4. Coconut water is rich in potassium. Recent WHO guidelines state we should all consume 3500mg potassium, daily. It’s a vital mineral for controlling blood pressure and heart disease. One 350ml of pure coconut water contains 50% more potassium than a banana!

5. One 35oml portion of Vita Coco also contains your entire RDA of vitamin C!

6. Anecdotal mum research fact (on my test subject of one) – coconut water is much easier to get down a poorly baby/toddler than conventional rehydration salts!

You can buy Vita Coco (my favourite brand, since it’s ethically produced and not from concentrate) in Waitrose, larger supermarkets, Holland and Barrett and online via Amazon at

Sports Nutrition expert Anita Bean

Sports Nutrition expert Anita Bean