FEEL as if you’re doing all the right things to be healthy and lose weight but it just doesn’t seem to work? Well, perhaps you’re not doing the right things for you. Personalised medicine is the future of health, and this exclusive quiz will keep you ahead of the curve.
The quiz is the brainchild of Adelaide-born health scientist Matt Riemann, who was diagnosed 11 years ago with a rare genetic neurological disease.
After being told there was little current medicine could do, he began looking into epigenetics, the study of how lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and stress impact our genes.
The research didn’t just turn around his own health, it led to the development of the ph360 program (ph360.me).
Launched in 2014 in collaboration with scientists at universities around the world, including the University of Queensland and Stanford in the US, the program aims to improve participant’s health, weight, energy and fitness levels through epigenetic analysis.
“Your body contains 25,000 different genes that influence how it behaves for example, how much muscle you gain, how much fat you store and the make-up and efficiency of your digestive system,” Riemann explains.
“But only a certain number of genes are active at any given time. This test identifies which foods, exercise and other lifestyle behaviours will help you switch on the helpful genes that take you towards your goal, and switch off the bad genes that don’t.”
The quiz pinpoints which of six main health types you are. Each one requires a different approach to diet and exercise to achieve optimal results and the most enjoyment from making a change. Read on to discover which health type you are.
Simply respond to the statements by ticking which of the six boxes you feel represents you best in that particular situation (if you can’t decide on just one, you can tick multiple answers to the same question).
Look at the column that contains the most ticks, then refer to the bottom line — this is your health type. If you have an even number of selections in two columns, you’re a mix of these types. Combine the summaries of each to discover your best health needs.
As your name suggests, you’re the most naturally active of the health types. You rarely sit still, you love change and you do things quickly. A natural athlete with a fast metabolism, you respond well to exercise. You gain muscle mass quickly and if you stick to a healthy eating plan you also lose weight quickly. Your mood and energy is very much impacted by your environment — if you’re tired or craving comfort food, changing your surroundings will revitalise you.
Add regular movement throughout your day — for example, take a lunchtime class then walk part of the way home in the evening. “The type of muscle fibres you have mean your body responds well to sudden, short bursts of activity. You’re more of a sprinter than a marathon runner,” says Reimann, adding that interval training appeals to your need for novelty. Try doing a morning interval session several days a week.
You like a challenge, so team sports or games such as tennis will spur you on.
“Your faster metabolism creates more oxidative stress in the system than other health types, so you need lots of antioxidants,” Reimann explains.
Consume daily servings of superfoods such as acai berries and green tea.
Higher levels of protein are also essential for you, particularly after intense exercise. Aim for at least one portion of animal protein every day and add plant-based proteins such as tofu and beans to other meals. Most of your plate should be filled with protein, then carbs/vegies and minimal fats.
Your liver and gallbladder can be weak, and higher intakes of saturated fats can stress them. Get healthy fats from avocado, nuts and seeds instead
Guardians are oval in shape, with big bones. You find it hard to lose weight, and any muscle you do build can often be hidden by fat. The good news is you’re consistent and enjoy routine, so once you adopt healthy habits you’re likely to stick to them. You do, however, tend to put others first and your health needs can easily be sidelined — so the most important health change you can make is to put yourself first.
You have large bones and muscles that make you a natural at weightlifting. Make strength training your main workout, aiming for three to five sessions a week.
You don’t enjoy being hot, so choose a naturally cooling exercise such as swimming, or join an air-conditioned gym.
Push yourself. “Your natural inclination is to conserve energy for later,” Reimann says. “You’ll need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, though, if
you really want to see results.”
Minimal added sugar is essential for you.
“The Guardian’s shorter, oval-shaped body type is strongly associated with the development of diabetes. Your pancreas is your weakest organ and sugar stresses it,” adds Reimann.
Limit your fruit intake, too, with no more than three pieces a week. Snack on vegies instead.
You thrive on a heavily plant-based diet, but many Guardians struggle with initial hunger pangs.
“Give it a chance — the feeling will pass, your cravings will diminish, and you’ll start to feel satisfied with less,” Reimann says. Ideally, aim to fill your plate with mostly vegetables, a little protein, some healthy fats and minimal carbs.
Excess kilojoules go straight to your middle section. Eat three small meals spaced evenly throughout the day, and avoid snacks.
Crusaders have naturally athletic-looking bodies, and your high thyroid function means you lose weight easily but may have difficulty building muscle.
You’re very determined, though, so hard work doesn’t faze you. You do well with routine, so setting a structure to your diet and workouts is a good idea.
Exercise increases the levels of the ‘happy hormone’ dopamine in your brain, so once you do get into a workout routine you thoroughly enjoy it.
Rhythmic exercise helps you relax and fight stress. Running, swimming, cycling and hiking are the best exercises for you — aim for four to five sessions a week.
Since you’re motivated by success and reward, track your progress so you can see how you’re improving.
You thrive in fresh air, so combining your workout with time spent outside will create an extra health and energy boost.
Find an outdoor pool, or run in the park.
Low acid levels in your digestive system mean your body can have trouble breaking down proteins. Avoid raw fish and, when you eat meat, have it cooked medium-well to well done.
Eat small meals throughout the day.
Try for breakfast at about 7am, a snack at 11am, lunch at 1pm, a snack at 3pm, and dinner at 6pm — this gives your digestive system time to reset overnight.
Fill your plate with easy-to-digest carbs and vegies and fewer protein and fats to avoid overstressing your system.
Avoid alcohol and excess sugar as they tend to make this type feel “less energetic and happy”, Reimann says.
Your genetic make-up is made to survive tough circumstances but this also means your body can store excess kilojoules, making it easier to accumulate fat.
Diplomats find it difficult to lose weight, and to achieve success you need to have a true desire to make a change.
Really look at your motivation for improving your diet and exercise habits. Find your ‘why’ and remind yourself of it if you waver to help you stay focused and disciplined.
Lifting weights comes easily and you can achieve great strength and muscle definition. Strength training should make up at least 75 per cent of your sessions.
You have a high pain threshold, so when you do feel pain you tend to avoid the cause, slowing down your results. Don’t use pain as an excuse to skip your workouts.
Exercise three to five times a week. Regular workouts stimulate the lymph system, which processes fluid in the body. Yours can be sluggish, so regular movement will reduce your risk of fluid retention and painful joints.
Fill your plate with mostly vegetables and stick to moderate intakes of animal proteins and grains.
Your body takes the longest of the types to digest foods, and meat can build up in your digestive system, leading to fermentation and bloating.
Eat three main meals over a 12-hour period. Avoid eating after 10pm to allow a long gap overnight for better digestion.
Avoid processed sugar and limit fruit to two pieces a day.
Emotional and pleasure eating can easily send you off track. Stick to activities and rewards unrelated to food.
Naturally lean, you have a fast metabolism, so any weight you gain comes off easily. You have an active mind and often forget to eat, or just grab what’s near.
“Your lean middle has a short digestive tract which can make your digestion sluggish,” Reimann warns.
“Your frame isn’t designed to lift large amounts of weight above your head. Keep weights light and do more repetitions instead,” Reimann says.
As well as weights, choose exercises that engage your mind such as Pilates and yoga. Three to five workouts a week will give you the best results.
You prefer dim lighting, and minimal noise and distractions, so pick a workout space that reflects this.
Plan meals to avoid convenience foods. Eat vegies, grains, moderate fats and lower levels of protein.
Drink a glass of enzyme-rich pineapple juice before your meals to aid digestion.
Healthy fats are important for you.
“You can have a low hormone output so fats will help your natural production of steroid hormones,” Reimann says.
Eat plenty of nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and oily fish.
You have a strong and sturdy body and you’re generally energetic. Your body loses weight very slowly, says Reimann, adding to “expect to spend at least three months on a plan before you see results”. The warmer months are the best time to make a change for you since sunlight increases your energy and motivation.
Find an exercise buddy. You love being with others so you’re more likely to succeed this way.
Focus on immediate benefits, such as better sleep and brain function, to stay motivated.
Work out five times a week, mixing weights and cardio equally. Bootcamps or circuit classes provide the intensity and social aspect you need.
Your energy levels can be low in the morning, which can see you turning to too many coffees or sugary snacks. “Choose a breakfast like oats to create sustained energy,” Reimann suggests.
You need a balanced diet that includes a little protein, lots of veg, a few grains and healthy fats.
Spend more time with health-conscious people. “Bad influences will lead you astray, so connect with people who are a positive influence on your goals,” Reimann adds.