dna fitness testing

Best DNA Test for Fitness & Diet Plans: Which Test Is The Best?

Thinking about getting a DNA test to help with fitness and diet planning?

You’ve come to the right place. 

Consumer DNA testing has exploded in the last few years. More and more people are curious about their heritage and the family secrets their DNA holds.

We are now beginning to use DNA tests to learn more about our health, including genetic diseases we are at risk of and whether we might pass on certain conditions to our children.

But there’s a lot more that a DNA test can uncover beyond your ancestry and health risks.

Fitness and diet DNA testing is a new field that uses DNA test results to inform and personalize diet and fitness plans.

These tests are based on the yet to be completely proven theory that DNA can reveal your body’s optimal diet and fitness needs.

To be clear, there isn’t yet enough scientific research done on whether you can completely tailor a diet or fitness plan based solely on your DNA.  This is why all of the tests below include more than DNA test results.

Regardless of which test you buy, it is important that you consult with your doctor, your nutritionist and/or your trainer before taking actions based solely on a DNA test result.

OK, with those caveats out of the way – let’s see what the state of the science CAN tell us.


What is a DNA Diet / Fitness Test?

dna fitness testing

Your DNA holds telltale clues that a lab can use to pinpoint your ancestry, trace your mother’s or father’s line, and even match you to unknown family members.

Companies like 23andMe can now use these genetic markers to approximate your risk of getting various genetic diseases.

A Diet and Fitness DNA test is just the latest way of using genetic markers to inform and guide your life.

But instead of checking DNA for ancestry information or health risks, DNA fitness and diet tests look at different DNA markers that are related to your metabolism and other medical conditions to guide your training and nutrition.

DNA fitness testing starts with the exact same process an ancestry or health test uses. You spit in a tube or take a cheek swab and send your DNA sample in to a lab for testing.

Some companies like DNAFit also accept raw data from other DNA testing websites such as 23andMe and MyHeritage.

The lab then tests your DNA for specific genetic variants.

If you have a variant associated with lactose intolerance, the report will tell you that.

If you have a variant associated with increased strength and endurance, the report might recommend a change in your workout routine.

And if your DNA shows that you metabolize certain types of foods better than others, the report will recommend a specific diet.


What Can You Learn From a DNA Fitness and Diet test?

dna fitness testing

Here are some of the things you can learn from a DNA-based fitness and diet test:

  • The best foods and diet for you. The report might tell you that your body is better suited to a Mediterranean diet or that your body responds better to a low-fat diet.
  • How your body responds to different types of food. Finding out how your body responds to carbs, proteins and, fats can help you lose weight more quickly and get fitter.
  • Whether you are at risk of lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance or intolerance to other types of food .
  • Your fitness traits. The test might explain why you take longer to recover, why you find running easier than weight training and why you gain muscles slower than most people.
  • The best workout plan for your body. Based on your DNA, the test report will recommend which fitness plan will get you the best results.
  • Best workouts to avoid injury. Some tests also tell you how you are genetically predisposed to certain injuries and how to modify your workouts to reduce the risk of injury.
  • How to improve athletic performance. Some tests are aimed at professional athletes. The reports contain in-depth data and information on how to optimize areas like speed, endurance, and strength.

As I mentioned before, be careful about what you decide to do based solely on these results.

The science on how DNA and diet/fitness are connected is still young.

Your report will contain a lot of useful information, but it may also include information that is wrong or misleading.

So before you completely overhaul your diet or workout plan, talk to an expert.


Best DNA Tests for Fitness & Diet Planning

Test Kit Best For
DNAFit DNA Test Kit
sibling dna test
Diet and Fitness planning


Check Price on Amazon
Vitagene DNA Test Kit

sibling dna test
Diet and Fitness planning


Check Price on Amazon
Pathway Genomics FiT iQ™

sibling dna test
Diet and Fitness planning


Check Price on Amazon
Azumio DNA Test Kit

sibling dna test
Nutrition & Diet Planning


Check Price on Amazon
ORIG3N Genetic Home DNA Test Kit

sibling dna test
Understanding your fitness potential


Check Price on Amazon
Arivale DNA Test Kit

sibling dna test
Losing Weight


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FitnessGenes

sibling dna test
Budget Diet & Fitness Plan


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DNAFit DNA Test Kit (Fitness Diet Pro 360) powered by Helix

dna fitness testing

DNAFit is one of the leaders in DNA-based fitness and diet testing. The company was launched in 2013 to provide personalized fitness and nutrition solutions based on DNA.

The Diet Fitness Pro 360 package is offered in collaboration with Helix, which is often described as the app store of DNA services.

Helix is a company that tests your DNA once through a process called exome sequencing. This is a highly accurate way of studying the DNA to find specific variants.

Then, they allow your sequenced DNA to be used in many different DNA tests – which means you only need to provide one sample to get a wealth of knowledge from it.

Helix’s approach to DNA testing is much more reliable than genotyping, a cheaper alternative used by most DNA testing companies.

Once Helix has your raw DNA data, they’ll send only the parts that DNAFit needs for their Diet Fitness Pro 360 service.

What You Get

Fitness report: an explanation of how your genetics influence your workouts. Also includes information on your predisposition to certain injuries as well as recovery response.

Custom workout and diet plan: This includes DNA-based diet guidelines and a personalized training program that takes advantage of your fitness traits to optimize your workouts.

Nutrition report: A finer look at how your body interacts with various macro and micronutrients, including proteins, carbs, vitamins, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol, and others.

Phone consultation: You get a complimentary half-hour consultation with an expert who’ll help you go through your results.

Pros
  • Provides some useful insights on diet and fitness.
  • Results are based on the highly accurate exome sequencing process. This increases their reliability.
  • Simple and clear explanations for each result – not just meaningless charts and jargon.
  • Includes free phone consultation.
Cons
  • Long turnaround (4-6 weeks).
  • Pricey.
Check Price on Amazon

Read Our Review

 


Vitagene Health + Ancestry Personal Genetic Test Kit

dna fitness testing

Vitagene’s health + ancestry test sounds a lot like the similarly named 23andMe test. But the similarities end there.

While the ancestry part is close to 23andMe’s ancestry test, the health part is very different.

Instead of genetic diseases, Vitagene helps you understand how your DNA influences your diet and fitness.

The company uses genotyping, which is faster and cheaper. But the results are not as reliable as those gotten from sequencing.

If you are looking for a budget diet and fitness DNA test, Vitagene is a good choice. The ancestry report is a nice bonus.

What You Get

Genetic diet traits: Over 30 nutritional traits including carbohydrate metabolism, fat metabolism, cholesterol, and blood pressure. These traits can help you refine your diet to achieve better results in areas like weight loss and overall health.

DNA diet menu: Personalized meals selected from over 700 recipes. The meal calorie counts and ingredients are tailored to your DNA profile.

Exercise report: Insights on how your body responds to different exercises, your body type (power vs. endurance), blood pressure and exercise and muscle cramps. The report recommends the best exercises for your particular body type and fitness traits. You also get personalized exercise plans.

Ancestry report: A breakdown of your ancestral regions plus a handy map showing your ethnic composition.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Personalized recipe and exercise suggestions
  • You can download your raw DNA data
  • Includes an ancestry report
Cons
  • Long turnaround (4-6 weeks)
  • Ancestry report is pretty basic. 23andMe and many other companies provide a more comprehensive ancestry analysis.
Check Price on Amazon

 


Pathway Genomics FiT iQ™ Weight Loss + Diet DNA Test

dna fitness testing

Pathway Genomics (formally known as Pathway OME) is a company that focuses on advanced personalized precision medicine.

The company provides genetic tests for weight loss, diet, and metabolism among other areas.

The FiTiQ testis designed to help customers improve overall health and wellness.

The report includes insights into how your body responds to different nutrients and exercises plus recommendations for how to optimize your diet and fitness.

The process works much the same way as that of any other DNA testing company. They will send you a swab kit that you then send back with a sample.

Results take 4-6 weeks.

Unlike other DNA tests that are more cautious about making weight loss promises, Pathway Genomics explicitly says that their recommended DNA-based diet will help you lose weight.

As I mentioned, be careful with such bold promises. Talk to a doctor before you decide to switch to a low-carb or low-fat diet.

What You Get

Eating behavior traits: Explanations for traits like a sweet tooth, snacking, food desire, and satiety.

Food reactions: How your body reacts to different types of food including carbs, proteins, fats, caffeine, lactose, and alcohol among others. This can help you improve your diet to increase energy levels, sleep better and improve overall wellness.

Weight loss: How your DNA affects your metabolism and weight loss.

Personalized diet: The report provides a personalized diet that matches your genetic profile.

Exercise recommendations: DNA-based workout recommendations to optimize weight loss, muscle building, and athletic performance. Also includes insights to help you with endurance training, loss of body fat, and strength training.

Pros
  • An in-depth report is full of helpful information on diet and fitness.
  • Clear explanations for different results.
  • Includes diet and exercise recommendations that might help with weight loss.
  • Though the official turnaround time is 4-6 weeks, many customers say they got their results much sooner.
Cons

• The report includes some generic information that you probably already know about yourself.

Check Price on Amazon

 


Azumio DNA Test Kit Powered by Helix

Diet, Workout Plans, Lactose and Gluten Tolerance, Iron Intake, Cholesterol and a 1-Year Calorie Mama Subscription

dna fitness testing

You also need to buy the Helix sequencing test to get your diet and workout report from Azumio.

If you have purchased a Helix Kit before, even if it is for another test, then you do not need to buy another one.

This product by Azumio focuses on optimizing nutrition and fitness. The report will tell you which foods you should eat and which workouts will be most effective for your fitness goals.

Azumiois a health and fitness company that uses computer vision and machine learning technology to help its customers improve their diet and fitness.

They are best known for their Calorie Mama app that needs to snap a photo of your food to do a calorie count.

This kit comes with a full year’s subscription to Calorie Mama.

When you order, Helix will send you a sample collection kit. Spit into the tube and send it back to Helix for full Exome Sequencing.

Results will be ready in 4-6 weeks.

What You Get

Custom fitness and nutrition plans: Personalized plans based on your DNA profile. Includes recommendations on the carb, saturated fats, sugar, iron, and Omega-3.

Genetic predisposition to food intolerance: This includes tolerance to lactose, caffeine, sugary beverages, alcohol and gluten.

Genetic risk of injuries: Learn your predisposition to arthritis, Achilles injury and ACL injury among other types of injuries.

Note that you’ll need to download the Calorie Mama app to see these insights from your test. The test report is only accessible through the app.

You can make use of all the other app features using your 1-year subscription.

Pros
  • Personalized nutrition and fitness advice.
  • Includes 1 year subscription to calorie mama.
  • Uses Helix’s highly accurate sequencing process.
Cons
  • You can only access your report and insights through the Calorie Mama app.
  • Long turnaround (6-8 weeks).
Check Price on Amazon

 


ORIG3N Genetic Home DNA Test Kit for Fitness

dna fitness testing

Orig3n is a biotechnology company that focuses on regenerative medicine to treat rare genetically inherited conditions affecting the liver, heart and the neural system.

They also provide DNA tests to help customers learn more about their bodies. They have packages for running performance, child development, behavior, nutrition, and beauty.

This particular one is for fitness.

They test for 27 genes that affect muscle strength, cardiac output, training response, exercise recovery, and other areas of fitness.

Their DNA fitness testing involves a simple swab. They’ll send you the swab kit after you complete your order.

Once you send the sample back, it takes about three weeks to get your results back. You can access your results via a link that will be included in the notification email.

They also have a free app where you can access your results.

What You Get

This is a fitness-only test, so the report will only include insights into how your DNA affects your fitness.

The report consists of an explanation of specific areas they analyzed including metabolism, muscle recovery, strength, speed, endurance, joint health, and overall performance.

They report on a total of 27 genes includingSOD2 (cell repair), TRHR (lean body mass) and ADRB3 (energy output).

Unfortunately, the report does not provide detailed recommendations of what workouts are best suited for your DNA profile; just basic suggestions.

You’ll have to create your comprehensive workout plan based on the report.

Note that the report does not contain recommendations on what food to eat. For that, you’ll have to buy a separate nutrition package.

Pros
  • Comprehensive reporting on various fitness aspects.
  • Relatively quick turnaround time.
  • The report is easy to read on any device.
Cons
  • Pricey considering it is a fitness-only test.
  • No in-depth workout recommendations or plans.
Check Price on Amazon

 


Arivale DNA Test Kit Powered by Helix

Personalized Weight Loss Coaching

dna fitness testing

This package is focused on weight loss. If you are looking for DNA fitness testing to recommend the best exercises, this is not the best test for you.

The Arivale DNA test report will tell you the type of food your body responds to best.

As with other weight loss DNA tests, I advise caution. Talk to your doctor first before making a significant change to your diet.

You’ll have to buy a Helix test to get this package. If Helix has already sequenced your DNA, you can go ahead and order the package. There’s no need to get a new test.

What You Get

Weight loss recommendations: these personalized suggestions are based on your DNA. The report will also tell you whether you’ll lose more weight on low fat or low carb diet.

Phone consultation: One on one consultation on the phone with a registered dietician.

30-day coaching: In addition to the phone consultation, you can keep chatting with the dietician for up to 30 days after the test results are out.

Pros
  • Personalized weight loss recommendations.
  • Free phone consultation and 30-day chats with a registered dietician.
  • The report is easy to read.
Cons
  • The report is a bit shallow. For the price, they should have included more information or at least personalized meal plans and recipes.
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FitnessGenes

Genetic workout and diet plans

dna fitness testing

FitnessGenes is a company that uses DNA to help people get fitter and healthier.

The basic package includes DNA fitness testing plus a weeklong genetic workout plan. If you want longer workout and nutrition plans, you’ll have to buy their other packages.

They have a package for fitness, getting lean, weight loss, and muscle building.

They’ll send you a kit for collecting a saliva sample. Send it back to them in the prepaid box and wait 2-3 weeks for your results.

You can access your report in the private members’ area of their website.

They test for a total of 42 genes (which explains the fairly high price tag) associated with things like endurance, speed, power, recovery, alcohol metabolism, sleep, caffeine, overeating, and lactose intolerance.

You can see the complete list here.

What You Get

Twenty-two personalized insights: Important insights into what your DNA says about your fitness and nutrition.

Thirty-two personalized actions: Actionable suggestions to help you get fitter and eat better.

In-depth gene analysis: You can read an analysis of every single gene they tested.

One week genetic workout plan: A complete workout plan to help you achieve your fitness goals. Longer premium plans are available.

Nutrition guide and recipes: Get to know how your body responds to different types of foods and nutrient. The report also includes recommended recipes based on your DNA nutritional analysis.

Pros
  • In-depth nutrition and fitness DNA analysis.
  • Personalized workout and diet recommendations.
  • Free one-week workout plan.
  • Free recipes.
Cons
  • Expensive.
  • You have to pay more to get a longer workout plan.
Buy Now

Read Our Review

 


Uploading Your Raw DNA Data

dna fitness testing

23AndMe Raw Data browser

Most companies require that you provide a sample for DNA testing. But a few allow you to upload raw DNA data if you have already tested with another company like 23andMe or AncestryDNA.

Check the company’s requirements before you upload raw data. Some accept raw data only from specific companies.

Something else to keep in mind when uploading raw data: make sure you upload the right file. It will most likely be in a .txt format.

Do not upload your DNA report from another company (which will most likely be in a .pdf format). That’s just the summary. What you need is the unfiltered raw data.


Comparison of DNA Diet/Fitness Tests

 OverviewPrivacy PolicyProducts offeredResults turnaroundRaw data accepted fromNo. Of Fitness TraitsNo. of Genetic Variants TestedNo. of years of serviceReport StructureRecommendationsSupportCustomer baseCostRaw DataScientific ResearchWebsite Features
DNAFitOffers SNP genotyping from salivaNon –disclosure of dataNutrition, Fitness2 weeksAccepted only from 23andme4 Fitness Traits455 years(2012)Reports cover certain important traits. Well structured and easy to understandRecommendations provided based on genetic informationEmail, chatGlobal299$- 199$
Raw data cannot be downloadedScientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curatedEasy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details
VitageneOffers SNP genotyping from salivaNon –disclosure of dataNutrition, Fitness4-6 weeksAccepted only from Health & Ancestry DNA Test30 nutritional traits N/A4 yearsReport includes a breakdown of your ancestry, as well as diet, exercise, and supplementation plans. Recommendations provided based on genetic informationEmail, chatGlobal$49-$149Raw data can be downloadedScientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curatedEasy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details
Pathway GenomicsOffers SNP genotyping from salivaNon –disclosure of dataNutrition and fitness, Skin report2 weeksDoes not accept raw data from ancestry DNA companies(Pathway Fit)Fitness Traits- 10
(FIT IQ) Fitness Traits - 6
65 10 years (2008)Reports cover certain important traits. Well structured and easy to understandRecommendations provided based on genetic information, personalized diet chartEmail, chatGlobalPathway fit- 299$
Fit IQ- 124$
Raw data cannot be downloadedScientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curatedEasy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details
AzumioOffers SNP genotyping from salivaNon –disclosure of dataFitness and nutrition6-8 weeksDo not accept genetic data from outside sources.N/A30 7 years(2011)Reports cover certain important fitness and nutritional traits. Well structured and easy to understandRecommendations are based on population-wide studies. Email, chatGlobal$34-$125Raw data cannot be downloadedScientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curatedEasy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details
ORIG3NOffers SNP genotyping from cheek swabNon –disclosure of dataNutrition, Fitness3 weeksDo not accept genetic data from outside sources27N/A4 yearsReports cover certain important genetic variants with insights and tips.Recommendations provided based on genetic informationEmail, chatGlobalStarts with $29Raw data cannot be downloadedScientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curatedEasy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details
ArivaleOffers SNP genotyping from salivaNon –disclosure of dataFitness, nutrition and Entertainment4-6 weeksDo not accept genetic data from outside sourcesN/A1003 years(2015)Reports cover certain important fitness and nutritional traits. Well structured and easy to understandRecommendations provided based on DNA test resultsEmail, chatGlobal$99-$199Raw data cannot be downloadedScientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curatedEasy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details
FitnessGenesOffers SNP genotyping from saliva
Non –disclosure of dataGenetic test + training for varying periods of time
2 weeks
Does not accept raw data from ancestry DNA companies
10-12 traits
40
4 years (2013
Reports cover certain important traits. Well structured and easy to understand
Recommendations provided based on genetic informationEmail, chatGlobalVaries from 499$- 199$
Raw data cannot be downloaded
Scientific research backed by publicly available scientific literature; expert-curated
Easy to navigate, blogs, detailed product info, contact details

 


Mixed Results Are Common

dna fitness testing

The whole idea of using DNA to recommend the best workout and diet plans is way ahead of where science currently is.

As a result, DNA reports are not always 100% accurate or reliable. Some of the insights included are just approximations, and others are just generalized ideas that apply to most people.

That’s why it is important to consult a doctor before taking any major action based on your DNA fitness testing results.

If you want to see just how confusing the tests can be, try testing with two or more companies.

Several people have tried, and the results were baffling.

They got very different pictures from each company with some aspects of the reports flat out to contradict each other.

To be sure, this is not an issue with DNA testing in general.

If you take an ancestry DNA test with different companies, the results will roughly be the same. What might be different is how they each have divided the world, and what they call various regions.

DNA fitness testing, on the other hand, varies wildly from one company to the other.

One report might tell you that you perform better at speed-focused sports activities while another says you are better suited to strength-based sports.

You might discover that you are a low-fat kind of person only for another test to tell you that reducing carbs is better for your metabolism.

Even tests that discover the same genes in your DNA might interpret them very differently.

The Main Issue: Research

The biggest issue, it seems, is the research that these companies rely on.

When it comes to ancestry testing, there is a lot of solid research on variants associated with different populations. That’s why your ancestry report doesn’t change much from one company to another.

There is also a lot of good research on genetically inherited diseases and the genes that cause them.

If you take 23andMe’s health test, you’ll discover you are at risk of roughly the same conditions that another DNA health screening will find.

But when it comes to fitness and diet testing, there is little proven research.

Many studies suggest there is a link between DNA and your fitness and diet, but we have yet to pin down the exact association between specific genes and your ideal sport or perfect weight loss diet.

Part of the reason is that there are so many other factors beyond genetics that influence weight loss, fitness, and overall health.

The available research is conflicting and in most cases, inconclusive. So diet and fitness reports, which rely on this research, are also often inconclusive.

Your report will contain some helpful insights. But it could also include unhelpful recommendations.

That’s why I keep emphasizing you work with an expert – a doctor, dietician, nutritionist or physical therapist –to modify your diet or workouts based on the report.


What The Science Says So Far

dna fitness testing

Even science itself can be a bit confusing when it comes to DNA-based diet and fitness tests. Again, the problem is conflicting and inconclusive studies.

But the general take for most experts is that the DNA diet and fitness testing is still an unproven ground. It has some benefits, but it’s unwise to rely only on a DNA test to inform your diet and exercise decisions.

Here are some of the main takeaways from various experts and studies.

  • There is some evidence that genetics can influence how your body processes carbs, proteins, and fats. But there is no evidence, that changing your diet based on this information helps with weight loss or fitness.
  • Research suggests that genetic variations among individuals do not result in a significant difference in the effect of specific diets and exercises. There very little difference in the amount of weight lost between two groups with different genetic variants following the same diet and exercise regimen. This shows that other factors like lifestyle have a much bigger impact on your weight and fitness than your genetic variants.
  • The effect of various genes varies widely from one population to another. Research involving Caucasian participants may not translate well to Asian or black people. And since most studies involve people with European origins, the little we know about DNA and diet/fitness may not apply to other races.
  • There are many other genes that labs don’t test for and whose effect on our health and fitness we don’t know. One known gene may cause some people to store more fat than usual, but we don’t know whether there are other genes that might also affect their fat intake.
  • A couple of studies have shown that providing personalized dieting and fitness information makes individuals more likely to make positive changes to their lifestyle and stick to them.

The Bottom Line

You can get some useful information from a DNA diet or fitness test.

But don’t feel that you have to get a diet or fitness DNA test if you want to lose weight or get ripped.

Most of these tests tell you what you already know (workout more, eat more vegetables, avoid caffeine at night, etc.) or things that you can’t translate into practical changes.

If you do decide to get a DNA test, be careful how you integrate the recommendations into your lifestyle.

Some suggestions like taking yoga to improve joint health or eating more Omega-3 foods are harmless and even beneficial.

Others recommendations like switching to a low-carb diet to lose weight can be dangerous for your health if you are not careful.

For the major stuff, ask your doctor before doing anything.