DNA Fitness: Will DNA Testing Help My Workout Routine?

Being able to identify genes and adapt ourselves, in this case our workout routines, to those genes in the aim of “unleashing our hidden potential” would have sounded a lot like science fiction 40 years ago.


Yes, we are able to do that and businesses exist for those purposes, however the predictive part of it is still no little more than science fiction.

What Is DNA Fitness Testing?

DNA Fitness Testing services advertise themselves as being able to identify special genes that are known to affect our physicality. They then classify you according to the identified genes, and make suggestions in workout routines and even diet.

Scientific? Some Say It's Non-Sense. But Is It Really?

However, a lot of different customer testimonies claim that most of the tests just don’t make sense.

Many of these testimonies come from people who are already very athletic and have achieved a lot in their respective sports.

These DNA Testing aren’t necessarily making stuff up - the science is legitimate.

tin hat

But this is also where the shortcoming lies, because identifying genes that relate to athleticism is still a very new item in molecular biology.

One predictive way is tracing back up your family line. If they were very fit, odds are you would be too. However, claims can be just as vague and unfounded. This can even downplay hard-earned work.

The very simple answer to achieving your best in whatever sport or workout routine, is hard work.  

The Problem With Predictive DNA Testing

Molecular Biology has achieved a lot in the past 50 years, like the Human Genome Project, and more recently found out a gene related to obesity.

human chromosome

The Human Chromosome

The problem is, although we do know what genes to identify, the number of known genes and what they do is too few and still too vague. There is a long way to go in this area of “predictive” DNA Testing to help out our workout routines.

In specific cases, there are men and women who have documented on the Internet about how underwhelmed they are with the results from DNA Fitness Testing. Note that these people were hoping to discover methods that might help improve their already impressive abilities in their sports.

The Endurance and Power Gene

This is because there are about only two genes (excluding their subtypes) shown in results of these tests. ACE I/D is for endurance, and ACTN3 R577x is for power-related performance.

So these are what you would expect to see from DNA Tests, along with workout and diet suggestions. There are subtypes of those genes that just stem back to the same things.

strength vs endurance

Strength vs Endurance

For example, if you’re a power lifter and you’re told that you simply have a gene for endurance and power-related performance, this wouldn’t help out or influence much of an improvement.

These just go to show how unreliable these DNA Tests are as of now. Research is going on, but the misguidance of advertising and business interests overwhelms.

Scarily enough, there are even instances where parents or trainers of young kids look into these tests in the hopes that their kids might be potential sports phenoms. Please do not do this.

Microevolutions, Genetic Claims, and Actual Hard Work

Throughout time, our bodies have had microevolutions to adapt to our environment. Beards, skin color, etc.

Larger scales of these are why Andeans, Nepalese, Tibetan, and other mountain people are able to not get light-headed and run out of breath despite the high altitude and low oxygen. Their blood has micro evolved to bind to more oxygen. Which is why high altitude training exists, so that going back low ground you use oxygen more efficiently.

kenyan runners

2012. Runners train in Ngong, Kenya. Image by Michael Steele/Getty Images

What makes this different and more reliable than DNA Testing is that there is a traceable bloodline.

These could be wrong as well. Two European led research wondered what made Kenyans excel in long distance running sports. Their results show that the average physique has helped out, with lower mass per height index, and that Kenyans come from a high-altitude ancestry.

This forgets that Kenyan runners are celebrated back home. That this special appreciation is what drives them to success. That there is a lot of hard work and dedication that has gone through to becoming the best runners in the world.

It would be rude to downplay effort through genetics, and that is the truth. To be able to excel in your workout and sport, you simply have to work hard for it.

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