A fitness mobile application which functions as a DNA-based training programme, ELXR, launched in Singapore in early August and it aims to take fitness and sports-based apps to a whole different level. The app, a first-of-its-kind in Asia, is aimed at analysing one’s unique genotype and current fitness level to deliver the most optimised training regime. Users can discover their fitness potential through a genetic analysis and ascertain their overall current fitness through the app’s required modality assessments.
ELXR’s Founder, Steffan Fung giving the opening speech during the media launch
The fitness programme on app curated based on data built by sports professionals, academics and psychologists. For the DNA analysis, ELXR has exclusively partnered with Genesis Healthcare, Japan’s largest private genetic testing, research and data company – with the most extensive private genetic database based on a global Asian population. It was essential for the fitness programme on the app to have benchmarks based on relevant data, as this would ensure that the workout regime was tailor-made to be achievable.
The Wellness Insider caught an exclusive interview with the app’s creator, Steffan Fung, for his take on how ELXR aims to revolutionise the fitness world.
Q: What inspired the creation of ELXR?
From the trainings which I conducted voluntarily many years ago, I have been looking for ways and means to change and touch more lives. Everyone’s disposition is different. By gaining insights into your own body, you can now train with science and data to your absolute potential. My belief in kaizen has allowed us to break new grounds time and again. Combining the cutting-edge technology of genetics and the ELXR app, we now present to you a game changer in the sports and fitness industry in Asia.
Q: Who is your target audience?
There are two types of subscription tiers for two different groups of people: the Excel tier is for those who want to train more effectively with science and data and the Evolve tier is for those who want to stay active and fit. The app is suitable for anyone with varied fitness goals. One can choose to just get started on becoming fit, become more powerful, have better endurance or be fit overall. We are here to help anyone who is fitness-minded or just starting out on working towards their ultimate fitness goal – all based on their genetic and physical predisposition. We want ELXR to help motivate the user to be fitness-conscious, anytime, anywhere and with anyone.
Q: What can we expect from the DNA test? How does it differ from existing body composition and fitness analyses?
We will group the user’s muscle fibre type into three different categories – Power, Balance or Endurance. The genetic tests provide an insight into your pre-disposition. DNA test is meant to work in tandem with your body composition and fitness analyses, which looks at your current fitness level.
Q: What genetic factors are you looking at?
We investigate and analyse the ACTN-3 genotype to assess the amount of α-actinin-3 protein that is produced by your body genetically. This special protein is expressed only in fast twitch muscle fibres. If a user has two functional copies of the ACTN-3 gene, therefore more fast-twitch muscle fibres than slow, he or she is suited for power-based activities. One functional copy of the ACTN-3 gene shows a balance between fast and slow twitch muscle fibres. If one does not have a functional copy of the ACTN-3 gene, it means there are more slow-twitch muscle fibres than fast, signifying that the user is suited for endurance-based activities.
Q: Does it cater to individual fitness needs? For example, will it generate targeted information for a marathon runner who wants to build stamina versus someone who wants to build muscles or someone who wants to lose weight?
Depending on the type of goals that a person wants to achieve, we will be able to make recommendations to the type of exercises a person can do based on his or her current fitness level.
Q: Does it also tell you what sort of injury you may be at risk of while exercising?
No, ELXR aims to show you your potential with its carefully curated fitness programmes – based on expertise by veteran fitness coaches, inputs by the sports community from various countries in Asia and also consultations with professors, academics and psychologists from both local and overseas universities. We also recommend breaks apart from the exercises and prompt users to update their fitness level on the app every three months.
Q: Does it just cater to fitness needs or does it also provide recommended nutritional choices and diet plans?
Just fitness needs for now.
Q: Generally speaking, most of us know that we should minimise our intake of saturated fats and sugar, eat more vegetables, or do interval training if we want to build endurance. So how does this additional DNA information enhance what we already know about fitness and nutrition?
ELXR provides an insight into your pre-disposition, allowing one to open their eyes to information normally only exclusive to the professional athlete. With access to this information, you are more motivated to know that there are activities which you are built for. Even if you are not built for certain activities and you wish to try them out, this app will also provide you with tips on how you can achieve your goal.
Q: Genetic information alone simply isn’t enough to make us change our behaviour and improve our lives. How does ELXR aim to motivate people once they have this genetic information?
We have a unique offline community engagement function to build an inclusive sports and fitness community. Apart from helping individuals rediscover their fitness potential, we also strive to build a tight-knit community among sports and fitness aficionados, using the app’s location-based function to connect like-minded individuals who share similar fitness goals and workout tips or just want to get to know one another. With our experience through our offline fitness operation, Superfit Global, we have come to realise that the community and social elements help to motivate and encourage more people to work out together, hence why we decided to incorporate this function into the app.
Q: Any plans for a desktop app or syncing it with a FitBit?
No plans as of now.
Q: What does the future hold for ELXR?
As of now, we would love to have feedback from our ELXR users, so as to improve the ELXR app and user experience.
ELXR comes in three available subscription tiers: Essential, Evolve and Excel. Each tier has specific variables required for a training programme to be created, with the aim of simply allowing a user to achieve his or her fitness goals. ELXR is free to download for the Essential tier and will cost S$0.40 cents per month for the Evolve tier. Users can download it from both the Apple App Store and Google Play.
For more information, please visit www.the-ELXR.com.
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Photo Credit: ELXR Launch Event and Pexels