Epigenetics The future of fitness

We have recently reached a new paradigm of genomic precision health and wellness. It is predicted that precision medicine will be an $88 billion market by the year 2022. The application of this precision health & wellness model is vast and has recently (in the past 5-8 years) presented huge opportunities in the genetic-based fitness performance and nutrition realms. With it being such a young science, there are still very few healthcare professionals that are trained in interpreting the human genome for all the applications it can be used for. We currently are able to take a saliva swab and understand your ancestry, prevalence for certain chronic disease risk factors, and now to interpret your DNA for fitness performance and nutrition. And yet, only a few companies and professionals are truly utilizing this data to its full capacity.

The European Society of Human Genetics

A study done by the European Society of Human Genetics showed that people who follow a diet based on their genetic profile lose 33% more weight and build more lean body mass. This is only the beginning of what a genetic-based program can do for individuals. By looking at a personal human blueprint, studies can associate a gene Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (ie: SNP) related to physical activity behavior, muscular strength and power, cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance performance, body weight and adiposity, insulin and glucose metabolism, lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, and hemodynamic traits.

By analyzing SNP’s as it relates to fitness performance and nutrition, the science of muscle fiber recovery, activity induced inflammation, endurance vs. power, oxygen utilization, creatine kinase, and the list goes on, can be optimized. Thus, taking the guesswork out of these variables that often leave the sports industry perplexed.

Today there are companies offering basic genetic fitness and nutrition analysis (ie: DNAFit, GenoVive, etc.). What they offer is for the masses and is typically nutrition focused. What seems to be missing is someone, or some company to take the lead in genetic-based fitness performance. This field is still very new, yet has clear science to validate it and the interpretation of SNP’s is extremely tedious yet offers precision and personalization that has not been available to date.

The Opportunity

Taking performance to the next level is something Nike does like no other. Nike+ Running and Nike+ Training Club is built around performance optimization, which seems like a natural fit for the next level of integrating genetic-based performance tools for the end-user.

"Nike's mission statement is to bring innovation and inspiration to every *athlete in the world" -Mark Parker CEO Nike Inc.

Brand Perspective

Integration of a new paradigm of genomic fitness performance into the current enormous Nike brand and member base is something that needs to be looked at with multiple possibilities.

  • The limited number of professionals in the performance genomics field gives Nike an advantage on a few levels. It creates exclusivity with the Elite Nike Athletes as there are limited experts running genomic-based programs for fitness performance. It also will give Nike the advantage of being the first to integrate this advanced, and cutting edge, science into their current scaled fitness app business so to bypass the requirement for a large number of genetic-based performance experts.
  • Tapping into Nike sports marketing would give an opportunity for Elite Nike Athletes to have their highly sophisticated personal genetics-based performance plan created and testimonials used for mass media marketing (ie: TV ads, Commercials, Videos, etc.).
  • There is a huge opportunity for scalability amongst the One Day and Everyday members through leveraging the existing technology in the Nike+ Running and Nike+ Training Club apps. Integrating basic performance-based SNP’s into the current Nike+ Running/ Nike+ Training Club back-end would allow for individuals to optimize their current training by taking them to a level that is unique to them. This could potentially be rolled-out in waves so to get the work out faster without seeing a drop-off in tech performance. (Ex: First wave = select few of Gameday members, Second wave = 3500+ Everyday members, etc.)


Genetic-based Performance Nutrition can be applied to all of Nike’s target audience: Game Day, One Day and Everyday. When applying genomic performance options, the same categories can be applied. Within each category, we can then ultimately optimize performance by looking at genetics viability isolating multiple factors: recovery, risk for injury, sleep, muscle type, stress markers, VO2max, fatigue markers, nutrition and supplementation/vitamins/minerals.

Game Day:

For the Elite Nike Athletes an extensive Athletic Performance Gene Template would be created that could be applied to each athlete. This ultimately could be a Nike branded template with in-depth results and recommendations built-in so to minimize the need for one-on-one interactions.

One Day & Everyday:

Allowing for a select number SNP’s specific to exercise performance and potentially added basic nutrition to be utilized in Nike+ Running or Nike+ Training Club app, a seamless yet user-friendly end result could easily be achieved.


As Nike begins to scale a genetic-based fitness performance program, the opportunity for dynamic content arises. Due to genetics and epigenetics being such a young science, we are learning daily of alternate ways to apply the research. This may sound uncertain, yet from a scientific standpoint, it actually gives rise to advanced program creation based on newer findings and limiting any risk factors that may be associated with initiating a new technology.

One extra step will be required for all users in order to apply an added genetic-based performance program – a saliva swab DNA test. People around the world are doing these tests frequently, mostly to get ancestry results and therefore many different companies can be leveraged for testing. Accessing the data can be made seamless and be done in a timely manner.

Elite Nike Athletes:

We have been able to isolate genes that are specific for sport performance. What that equates to for the Elite Nike Athletes is ultimately increased competitive advantage. Nike would be able to leverage the stories they tell via their strong sports marketing approach, hence boosting current member usage of Nike+ apps, as well as drive a new member base.

The Team

Ryan Lauderdale Nike Master Trainer CSCS
Michelle Ricker RDN

Interpreting genetics and making it applicable to science based athletic performance takes experts. With Ryan having been apart of the Nike family for well over 5 years as a Master Trainer and Michelle having been the Director of Nutrigenetics & Nutrigenomics for a company and running a successful genetics-based nutrition & fitness practice, they both could prove to be a huge asset for Nike to integrate genomics into its incredibly successful fitness platforms. Her experience in wearable devices with leading the launch of bodybugg, has given Michelle insight regarding the how’s and what’s of taking complex algorithms and transforming them into a functional user experience. His experience with scalability of large Nike events, having executed projects for several categories within Nike Inc., and being a featured contributor to Nike digital platforms (N+TC, Nike Trainers Hub, Nike.com) has given Ryan great insight on the execution Nike's unique perspective from concept to marketplace.

We feel there is a huge opportunity for Nike in this new paradigm of genomic health, wellness & performance and together we will be an industry leader.

Created By
Ryan Lauderdale


📷:http://news.nike.com/news/milan-furniture-fair Content: Michelle Ricker RDN Michellericker.com ... Ryan Lauderdale RypenFitness.com

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