Optimizing Your Health

The CrossFit Open is now over and what a year it was been. In one year I went from the 70th percentile to the 99th. How was this possible? Certainly hard work, but our bodies are only capable of so much without the tools to empower excellence.

For years I walked around feeling pretty good. At Virginia Military Institute I ran nearly every day, played rugby, lifted weights several times a week, and towards the end of my cadetship logged around 150-200 miles a week on a road bike. I was by all measures healthy and fit. I could run a 5:30 mile and regularly scored a perfect 300 on the USMC Physical Fitness test. But physically and mentally it was a struggle. I never really felt energized. My food choices sucked, I never got more than 4 hours of sleep a night, and the stress was a lot to handle.

Fast forward a decade and it was much the same story. I was doing CrossFit 4-5 days a week, running regularly, and by all definitions “healthy.” However, there was still an ever-present fog. I made reasonably healthy food choices; I had a CSA that provided lots of veggies, organic meat and cheese, etc and I never drank soda. I consumed a fair amount of alcohol but always made it to the gym to “burn off” whatever bad choices I may have made on a weekend.

In my mind I was doing everything right. Maybe drinking a little too much, but for the average Washington DC professional, well below the median. I was exercising regularly, I was eating good food. For 4 straight years I had competed in the CrossFit Open. For four straight years I was in the upper middle of the pack. No where near elite, but no where near the bottom. At the gym, I was regularly near the top performance wise. However, I just didn’t feel amazing. I felt sluggish a lot, especially after meals and in the middle of the day.  I thought I knew a lot about nutrition but I really had no idea what was in all these powders and what effect they had on me, nor how much my body would actually process and absorb. I now know I was definitely uneducated about exactly what these powders were doing, but they had a gigantic ripped spokesperson so they had to be exactly what I needed right? Spoiler alert, they’re not…

12 months ago, I decided to get serious about my health. I started eating cleaner than I ever had, cut out bread, started taking a multivitamin and quality supplements. I certainly saw some benefits but I quickly plateaued. I was still missing something but I had no idea what. I was following all of the traditional nutritional advice. It turns out my dietary needs were a little unique because of my genetics. Elise  (the brains behind OptiGenetix) analyzed my genetic profile and used this information to custom tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to my individual needs. The genetic analysis showed me where I had unique mutations in my body’s DNA and how I could alter my lifestyle and supplementation regiment to give my body extra support to override the mutations and free up energy for recovery. One example: I apparently have a “double homozygous MTRR mutation causing an upregulation of the gene.” Which sounds terrifying. But apparently it’s an easy fix. Because of this mutation my B12 (and major energy source) was being depleted from my body faster than normal. I have now taken the steps to add lithium to help utilize B12 and take a specific type of B12 (there are 4 types) as part of my supplementation plan every day.

Within 3 weeks the daily fog was gone. Within 6 months I had noticed significant improvements in “engine” workouts, those that require significant periods of extended anaerobic effort to the point where I was almost always the top finisher in daily workouts. In the 2018 CrossFit Open I finished the prescribed workouts in top 1% of global finishers. It is important to note, I didn’t change anything about the way I workout. I was just able to do the same workout routine faster, more completely, more effectively, and with more energy than I ever had in my life.

My body was simply missing or unable to process and absorb many of the things it needed to function optimally. The solutions are remarkably simple. I went from feeling “fine” to feeling amazing, with more energy and focus than I have ever had. The transformation has been unbelievable, and it’s all thanks to the analysis from Optigenetix. Next year I turn 35. And I’m happy to say that I am the best shape I have ever been in with more still to come.