Biochemistry for the Personal Trainer
Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes of living organisms. Our human biochemistry regulates what happens on a cellular level. It regulates how much energy we have, how fast we recover and how well we sleep.
Biochemistry can be divided in three fields; molecular genetics, protein science and metabolism. Biochemistry has through these three disciplines become successful at explaining living processes. Biochemistry focuses on understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues, organs, and organism structure and function.
Biochemistry is about…
… three distinct topics:
1. The structure, production and function of biochemicals– such as macronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
2. The regulation of metabolism – which cellular energy production.
3. The transmisson of information – within and in between cells, through biochemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters
So much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Applied Biochemistry for Personal Trainers
Why should I care as a Personal Trainer or just someone who likes to train and be in shape? There two main reasons why everyone who is interested in optimizing wellbeing and performance should in interested in biochemistry and especially applied biochemistry
Biochemistry is what regulates how we function on a cellular level.
Applied Biochemistry is how optimize biochemistry and therefore cellular function through external intervention on areas such as nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle and training.
On of the first breakthroughs in using applied biochemistry was in 1820 when the supplementation of Iodine healed goiter. Taking this example of goiter, which as an enlarged thyroid a few steps ahead and looking at it from the perspective „how does that help me build muscle and loose fat faster?“ We can look a selenium, a trace mineral with multiple biochemical functions that are important for every Personaltrainer.
First and foremost, Selenium plays an essential role in hormone production. The thyroid gland uses selenium to convert thyroxine hormone (T4) into its active form, triiodothyronine hormone (T3). Studies have also confirmed that selenium is an extremely important nutrient for maintaining the quality of your sperm (1), as well as improving testosterone levels (2). That means fixing a selenium deficiency can increase thyroid hormone and testosterone levels and that way our metabolism, fatloss and musclebuilding. Selenium can come from supplementation or whole foods such as brazil nuts.
One can train hard and eat clean, if there is an existing selenium deficiency, it will diminish thyroid function as well as testosterone level and that way slow down progress.
Dozen micronutrients take part in cellular processes. Understanding which micronutrient effects which processes and how to assess and diminish individual deficiencies is crucial optimize biochemistry on a cellular level and therefore cellular function.
Understanding biochemistry, the functions and purpose of macro- and micronutrients as well as cellular pathways such as methylation and hepatic biotransformation, the functions of the immune system, regulation of protein synthesis, neurotransmitter production and the endocrine system in its theoretical base is crucial for any Personaltrainer who focuses on a holistic approach that builds on and goes beyond the „train hard and eat clean“ paradigm.
Throughout the last years I have been asked many times to put together a course that goes through the theoretical base of „Biochemistry for Personaltrainers“ in the practical and efficient format all YPSI Seminars are structured in. In September this year we will run this course for the first time. Its the A to Z of Biochemistry, cut down in precise segment on the different topics of biochemistry within only 3 days. The course is called „YPSI The Alphabet of Functional Nutrition“ as the A to Z of Biochemistry is the most important base for a functional approach to nutrition that builds on picking specific foods and nutrients to optimize biochemistry, for more results in and out of the gym.
1. Safarinejad, Mohammad Reza, and Shiva Safarinejad. „Efficacy of selenium and/or N-acetyl-cysteine for improving semen parameters in infertile men: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study.“ The Journal of Urology 181, no. 2 (2009): 741-751.
2. Oluboyo, A. O., R. U. Adijeh, C. C. Onyenekwe, B. O. Oluboyo, T. C. Mbaeri, C. N. Odiegwu, G. O. Chukwuma, and U. F. Onwuasoanya. „Relationship between serum levels of testosterone, zinc and selenium in infertile males attending fertility clinic in Nnewi, south east Nigeria.“ African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 41 (2012): 51-54.