Until recently, biometrics was most commonly associated with the use of physical or behavioral characteristics (such as fingerprint or voice patterns) especially as a means of verifying personal identity. However, today, through affordable tools like Fitbit, the Oura ring, and lab tests, clients and health and human performance coaches can track daily activity, pulse rate, sleep pattern, heart rate variability, glucose tolerance, and much more.
A dramatic drop in the cost of genetic testing, e.g., 23 and Me, and associated reports from Promethease, DNAfit, and Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s Found My Fitness Genetic Report, provides health and human performance coaches and their clients with information, as Dr. Patrick says, “on the way our bodies absorb, metabolize, and utilize nutrients, and determine how effectively we eliminate xenobiotics (substances foreign to the body) and even potential carcinogens. By understanding the mechanisms by which these genes work and analyzing data generated. . ., scientists can now understand what impact SNPs (a change in one nucleotide DNA sequence in a gene that may or may not alter the function of the gene) may have on disease risk and longevity in relationship with certain gene-environmental contexts. Once researchers understand how specific genotypes can affect how our genes function, this enables development of the most favorable nutritional and lifestyle strategies specific to a person’s genotype.”
Among other things, health coaches and their clients can use biometric tools to determine the best types of fitness regimens, and the timing of training, rest and recovery. Tests can reveal the client’s endurance/power profile, i.e., whether their genetic type favors endurance activities (e.g., long distance running, cycling) or power activities (e.g., sprinting, weight lifting), their tendency toward injury, aerobic potential (VO2 Max), and their nutritional needs, i.e., the need for certain vitamins and micronutrients, as well as recovery speed.
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In advising about nutritional needs, health coaches can also use the information to provide clients individualized dietary guidelines: foods to use and avoid. These genetic tests provide the coach and client with information about many sensitivities: carbohydrates, alcohol, caffeine, salt, and saturated fat. Coaches can determine if their client has a higher or lower than average need for omega-3, cruciferous vegetables, and vitamins D and B. They can determine lactose intolerance as well as the client’s detoxification ability.
Health coaches can help their clients make the most of their Fitbit-type devices, lab and genetic testing. Some of the data provided is complex and requires training to understand and apply. Pacific College’s health coaches are trained to be familiar with biometrics and help clients access and use it.