Could a DNA Test Help You Get Fitter? |
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When it comes to diet and exercise, there isn’t a one-sized-fits-all approach – and it’s all down to our DNA. Whether it’s a spin class or a bowl of pasta, our genes hold the key to how our bodies’ respond. So whether you’re looking to lose weight, find out how best to fuel your body or make the most of your workouts, it could be worth looking a little deeper. We put FitnessGenes, an at-home DNA kit, to the test…                               

What exactly can the DNA test tell you?

Your genes dictate whether you respond better to long-distance running, resistance training or HIIT sessions (or a combination of all three), whether you should be incorporating more rest days and how prone to injury you are. When it comes to nutrition, your genes could also suggest lactose intolerance, sensitivity to caffeine, carbs and saturated fats as well as whether you’d benefit from certain supplements. In short, the test could reveal what you’ve spent years trying to work out.

How do you take the test?

It’s surprisingly straightforward to use – you’re sent a testing kit, provide a saliva sample and send it back to the FitnessGenes lab in a pre-paid box. Around a month later, you’ll receive your results, which are accessible online through a secure members’ portal.

What kind of detail does it give you?

From specific genes that dictate your potential for strength, endurance, power, metabolism, speed and muscle strength to blood pressure, sleep cycle and even your circadian rhythm (whether you should workout in the morning or evening), the test gives an impressive picture of the inner workings of your body. Your results will even tell you whether you’d benefit from a lower carb diet, whether you’re sensitive to saturated fats (until now, we didn’t know this varied between individuals) and whether you have the gene to metabolise coffee (we were told we were a fast metaboliser of caffeine – no surprises there).

What did we learn?

We were pleased to see our results confirmed a few things we already knew – that we respond better to longer, endurance workouts over speed training and that we’re better off working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. However, we were told to mainly focus on HIIT and resistance training if we wanted to tone up, which was nothing groundbreaking. Although your results generate a custom-made training plan, we found it a little confusing and would recommend taking it to a PT to get the most out of it. Nutrition-wise, we were intrigued to learn we should be eating 1.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight – this is significantly more than we thought we should be consuming on a daily basis.

How accurate are the results?

Very. The team – run by medical professionals – test 41 genes (they even test them twice) and users fill out a detailed lifestyle form to guarantee more precise results.

Who would benefit from taking the test?

If you’re a keen gym goer intrigued to know more about how your body really responds to exercise, then it could be worth investing in the test. Similarly, those who frequently workout but find it tricky to lose weight could find the answers in their DNA – FitnessGenes is the only DNA company focusing on fat and weight loss as well as building muscle.

The bottom line?

While the data FitnessGenes provides is interesting, its real value lies in what you choose to do with it next. Whether you choose to take the info to your PT, or make the most of the site’s bespoke workout plans, this is expert knowledge at its best.

Want in? The FitnessGenes DNA Collection Kit is available now at, priced £129.


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