Personalised health is the new buzz word in the health industry but what does it mean?
The information that is pitched by the media is anything but personal. Eat more protein if you want to lose weight, no carbs after 6pm, fermented foods are healthy for your gut, work out first thing in the morning to speed up your metabolism. All these mixed messages are hurled at us and it can be very confusing for the average person to work out what is good or bad for them. And can one strategy be right for everyone?
If 100 people followed the above protocol some would see and feel an improvement in their health, others may not see any change and a select group may even become less fit and healthy. Yes you read that right, they may get less fit, gain weight and become less well. Why is it that one person can eat a doughnut every day and not gain weight while another person just needs to look at a doughnut in a cabinet in a cafe and gain 5 pounds?
The answer lies in your genes because one size does not fit all when it comes to your well-being. I have been a personal trainer for over 17 years and up to a year ago I was applying roughly the same methods to all my clients with slight deviations dependent on their goals. I often wondered why some clients got amazing results while others struggled to make a real change. I have always ensured I kept up with the latest science and research so that I could offer my clients the best advise possible so when I stumbled up the science of Epigenetics it completely revolutionised the way I operate as a Personal Trainer and Health Coach.
The term ‘epigenetics’ describes the activity occurring around or above the genes. In brief, when the environment changes, the body aims to adjust to this new environment by changing the phenotype (the physical expression or characteristics) to make it more aligned with the environments requirements. The body does what it needs to survive in that environment resulting in genes being turned on or off.
Scientists and researchers have been developing an incredible platform that uses measurements of the outside of the body and an extensive questionnaire that can trace back to how your body developed in the embryo. This highly advanced system uses 15 layers of science to establish what is happening in your body right now and accompanies you along your stages of life to create your unique profile. By measuring the outside of the body it is possible to discover what is going on inside.
The information the platform delivers gives you specifics of your best foods, exercise regime, sleep schedule, climate, your brain function and even your ideal social interactions. I then guide my clients on how to navigate all the information available and put it into practice ensuring their unique priorities are put into action first.
My health and some of my client’s health has transformed dramatically. Two years ago I was suffering from Fibromyalgia and Inflammatory Arthritis and now I am symptom free and not reliant on any medications. I understand now what my body and mind need to be well and I am passionate about helping others do the same.
One of my clients was suffering from high blood pressure, under active thyroid and glaucoma as well as some mobility issues due to her weight. She now has dramatically reduced all her symptoms and medication as we have worked together on her unique plan for her genes.
Among the changes we implemented was timings for her exercise, food and sleep. Using Chronobiology (our internal clock) we discovered her profile recommended a slightly later sleep time and a later rise. The platform also showed she was not suited to early morning workouts as this could create extra stress on her body and restrict weight loss. Working out in the afternoon and ensuring she did not snack between meals as her profile suggested made an incredible difference to her energy and wellness as well as helped her shed pounds.
We are often told to eat more Broccoli for example, but one man’s food can be another man’s poison and for someone with thyroid issue Broccoli can reduce the activity of the thyroid so not considered healthy for some people. Many other foods can be classified in a similar way. Each body needs different nutrients dependent on what is going on in their body at that particular time. Women going through menopause for example, will require more of certain foods to help with symptoms.
Every type of body has different needs. The system recognises six general health types on a 360 degree wheel.
The mesomorph, Ectomorph and Endomorph all developed differently in the embryo and all have special requirements in order to be well. For instance the Activator,a pure Mesomorph needs to be able to vent frustration, be challenged and is better suited to interval type training.They are early birds so can leap out of bed at 6am to the sound of the alarm and feel amazing. They have the highest protein requirements.
In contrast, the Diplomat is a combination of Endomorph and Ectomorph needs time and the right space in order to be well. They are night owls so need a later bed time and a later rise. They should avoid all stress in the morning which includes exercise. They can take time to make decisions and their body is built to lift heavy weights and enjoy long duration walks on a beach or in the bush. Their protein and carb requirements are lower and some do well on a vegetarian diet.
You can see that if you force a diplomat to get up early and complete a HIIT training session they will not perform well as this would be a massive stress to their body. Similarly, if you force an Activator to stay up late night after night that will create stress in their body.
Each body has strengths and weaknesses and if we were to put them on the same diet or fitness plan their results will differ, which is why I no longer take on new clients without taking them through this Epigenetics platform as that would require a lot of guess work and could prove very challenging to get results.
I am very encouraged about the future of Personalised Health and the excitement it is generating in the health, fitness and medical world. A wide range of professionals attend the Personalised Health six week course, this included GP’s, nutritionists, acupuncturists, physios, personal trainers and psychotherapists.
Everybody should embrace the body they have, discover their natural strengths and learn to move in a way that’s right for them. Stop fighting your body and trying to be like someone else and instead discover what your unique body needs to thrive not just survive.
Rachel Marks is a Personal Trainer, Personalised Health Coach and NLP Practitioner and has been working in the fitness industry for over 17 years. She regularly appears on tv in New Zealand, presents at the national fitness conference and mentors other personal trainers.
She offers face to face meetings in Hutt Valley Wellington NZ and consults online via Zoom nationally and internationally. Initial consultations are free.
Tel: 0064 21 0232 2193