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The Short Version: FitnessGenes is harnessing the power of genetic testing to empower people seeking better personal health. FitnessGenes does DNA testing geared toward helping people understand their health and fitness. After a simple at-home sample collection, customers receive a report that covers 160 genetic points of interest, which are sorted into 12 categories. FitnessGenes gives each customer a personalized report plus recommendations and interventions they can take to improve and maintain good health in each category. FitnessGenes gives customers an invaluable tool for understanding their bodies on a whole new level.
In my family, a reference to the “genetic lottery” is anything but sincere. I remember my first time filling out a health questionnaire for myself, and when I got to the section about family health history, my mom literally took a seat beside me and began a rambling list. Ping-ponging from one side of the family to the other, my mom spouted off diagnoses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, depression, and alcoholism.
As my dad would say, tongue firmly in his cheek: “You hit the jackpot, kid.”
Family health history is important because it can tell us what to look out for when it comes to our own health. Our family members’ challenges and experiences can give us guidance on what we should look for when it comes to our own health, plus what we can do to improve and nurture it. But what if you could take it a step further and look into the actual genetic components that influence your health?
You can, and FitnessGenes is making it simple. FitnessGenes provides 160 DNA reports that offer insights into genetic markers to help them meet their specific fitness and nutrition goals. FitnessGenes delivers customers personalized and research-backed reports relating to weight loss, building muscle, endurance performance, hormone health, and more.
Dr. Samantha Decombel is the co-founder and CEO of FitnessGenes. She talked to us about the service and how people can be empowered through understanding their genetic predispositions. “DNA testing is essentially looking at predispositions,” she explained. “It’s looking at risks in the future and giving you insights into the traits you’re more likely to develop over time.”
Like family health history, DNA reports give crucial insights into personal health and can tell you what to look out for. People get DNA reports for many reasons, but Dr. Samantha said customers come to FitnessGenes to get information about their genetics as it relates specifically to health, fitness, and preventative care.
“We’re very much in the preventive health space,” Dr. Samantha said. “We give people recommendations, particularly around food, exercise, and lifestyle, for things they can do in their daily lives that will impact their long-term health, as well as help them achieve their short-term goals.”
Some DNA reports may look for genetic predispositions to life-threatening or chronic diseases, but Dr. Samantha said that FitnessGenes’ reports are not diagnostic. “There are so many different types of genetic tests,” she said. “We’re not doing anything medical or diagnostic. We all know about the genetic testing for breast cancer genes. FitnessGenes isn’t doing that. We’re on the preventative side of things.”
FitnessGenes is an equally popular choice among serious athletes and casual gym-goers who want to take a more personalized approach to their health. And what’s more personal than DNA?
“We’ve been around 10 years now, and we’ve seen a lot of companies come and go in that time,” Dr. Samantha said. “One realization we had, really early on, came after dialogue with our customers.”
Dr. Samantha said customers wanted more than just a DNA report. “They would say, ‘This is really fascinating and all, but what do I do with it?’ They wanted to know how they could use this information to get better results,” Dr. Samantha told us. “That’s when we realized that a really key aspect of the product would be the recommendations and guidance we give to customers with their reports.”
With this realization, FitnessGenes developed a well-rounded team of genetic researchers and health experts. “So our team is literally split in half,” Dr. Samantha said. “Half of the team is building the reports, and the other half is building recommendations based on the reports.”
FitnessGenes offers two DNA products that both include fitness and health reports, personalized insights and recommendations, and lifetime access to new report releases. The DNA Data Upload is a great choice for people who already have their DNA data from an accepted DNA provider. They can upload their data to FitnessGenes and receive fitness-focused reports.
If you don’t already have your DNA data, the FitnessGenes process begins when your DNA Analysis Test is delivered to your doorstep. Once a customer receives their kit, they can create an account with FitnessGenes, where they’ll register their kit’s barcode. Once they’ve given a saliva sample and sent it back to FitnessGenes’ lab, it usually takes about four to six weeks to get the DNA reports back.
“You get over 160 genetic reports separated into 12 categories,” Dr. Samantha said. “You can see all your reports, broken into categories, on your dashboard.” FitnessGenes’ categories are weight loss, muscle building, endurance, hormone health, heart health, brain health, inflammation, biological aging, appetite control, blood sugar levels, sleep health, and mineral and vitamin requirements.
Dr. Samantha said many FitnessGenes customers have weight loss as their top fitness goal. “In Western society, we’re surrounded by low-quality, ultra-processed foods. Our genetics haven’t changed, our environments have,” she said. “I think that when people have an understanding of the conditions under which they will put on weight, it helps them learn how to take action.”
It’s no surprise that weight loss is a complex process. “Weight loss is not just one thing,” Dr. Samantha explained. “It’s made up of a number of subcategories: your physical appetite, the hunger you feel, your physical and emotional responses to hunger, and then there’s things like metabolism, micro and macro nutrients, and hormones.”
FitnessGenes reports attend to each small detail of a customer’s genetic makeup that could affect their fitness and performance and then breaks it down into digestible language and categories. “We’ve made these categories to help people sort of hone in on the areas where they might have increased risks around appetite, hunger, and weight loss,” Dr. Samantha explained.
FitnessGenes is all about powering customers with the details of their own bodies. “It’s relative versus absolute risk,” Dr. Samantha said. “We’re not looking at the absolute risk of someone developing a condition. We’re looking at the general population and then saying you’re more likely than the rest of these groups to develop this particular physiological trait, and here’s what you can do about it.”
Dr. Samantha said customer demographics vary, from high-performance athletes to people looking to improve their heart health. “We get a lot of people who use our products to improve their 10k time, or endurance performance, or use it to improve their gains in the gym,” she told us. “It really comes down to what someone’s individual goal is. If heart health is important to someone, they will find really valuable data to improve their heart health.”
The same goes for sleep health, brain health, inflammation, and the rest of FitnessGenes’ categories. DNA testing can show you where your health risks could be, but it also can show you where your strengths lie. While FitnessGenes DNA reports take a preventative approach, the main idea of preventative healthcare is proactivity. FitnessGenes reports and feedback aren’t all about what people need to avoid or get rid of, but what people should move toward to find improved health.
“Our reports aren’t going to tell you what you’re going to die of or what age you’re going to live to,” Dr. Samantha said. “Because these things just aren’t fixed. These things, in large part, are driven by your lifestyle. We want to empower people with the knowledge of what interventions they should start taking now.”
FitnessGenes is about empowering people with crucial information about their bodies. Our DNA contains the instructions for everything our bodies are and do. Chromosomes carry our DNA in cells, DNA is responsible for building and maintaining our bodies, and genes are the parts of our DNA that give us all the things that make us unique. All put together, they make up our bodies’ instruction manuals.
“I think part of our aim with the business was to try to keep families together longer,” Dr. Samantha said. “I lost my dad at a young age, he was only 57. He died of esophagus cancer about 20 years ago, and it was obviously a lifestyle-related disease. I feel like we weren’t able to help my dad, but we are able to do something for my mum by sharing this information with her. And if we can do that for more people, that’s what we really want as a company.”