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Can You Out-Train Your Genes?

Can You Out-Train Your Genes?

During a personal training session, you’ve probably heard a client say, “It’s just not in my genes.” They think they can’t lose weight or eat any carbs or become more athletic simply because of their genes. 

But people simply can’t blame only their DNA. 99.5% of your genes are the same as everyone else’s; it’s that .5% that makes you unique. Our genes determine traits like hair color, height, and things our body may handle better or worse than others, such as losing weight or gaining muscle. So, let’s learn more about how genes affect you and your clients’ health and fitness. And, more importantly, what—if anything—you can do about it.

How to Use Genetics in Your Favor

Our genes account for 40% of our body’s potential. The other 60% is completely within your control through lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc. Yes, your client’s genes may trend toward easy weight gain, but that doesn’t mean weight loss is impossible. Here we will discuss a few of the things our genes can tell us about health and fitness traits associated with weight loss, nutrition, and athletic performance. 

Reconfiguring Weight Loss 

We all know someone who can spend almost no time in the gym and lose weight, and then we see the people working out diligently every day getting minimal results. That is where genetic predisposition plays a role. 

When it comes to weight loss, the biggest reminder a personal trainer can give clients is YES, they can lose weight. 

DNA affects the type of exercise that’s best for you to lose weight. Our genes also help us determine how long we may need to exercise to hit those weight loss goals. Weight loss is individualized, so while yes, we can out-train our genes, we must know how. Knowing what our genes say about us makes achieving those weight loss goals that much easier. 

Health and wellness genetic testing helps us refine our clients’ training by answering questions such as the following:

  • How long do you need to spend doing cardio?
  • Does your body respond better to moderate-intensity or high-intensity workouts? 
  • How many days per week should you be doing cardio exercise? 
  • How often should you be doing resistance training? 
  • Should your resistance training be at a lower weight for more reps or vice versa?

At the end of the day, if the client follows what their genetics shows them, they will be set up for success in their weight loss goals.

Crafting a Better Diet

Nutrition is a tricky area for personal trainers to help clients with in that it typically ends up being a lot of trial and error. Along with that trial and error can come a lot of frustrations for clients, and clients who give up before ever figuring out what diet plan works best for their goals. 

Diet and exercise are both highly individualized. And DNA plays just as large of a role in a person’s diet as it does in their exercise plan. 

A person’s genetic profile can give insight into some of the following:

  • How their body uses macronutrients 
  • How protein or carbohydrates affect their weight loss goals 
  • If they need to increase their protein intake or their carb intake
  • If they’re choosing the correct carbohydrates to meet their body’s needs
  • If they need to be on a reduced-fat diet for optimal success

These factors can be the key to their weight loss journey being successful and how quickly they achieve their goals. 

Enhancing Performance 

Athletic performance is one of the major areas you will hear people inquire about if they can out-train their genes. As with weight loss, the answer is yes! 

Athletic performance can get even more in-depth with a genetic profile, detailing the predisposition of a person to be better at power or endurance activities. This is based on the genetic profile of whether they have a majority of slow-twitch or fast-twitch muscle fibers. Which, remember, only makes up 40% of a person’s potential. That leaves a 60% opportunity to out-train their genetics. It may take a little more effort and time, but they can still achieve those goals.

This portion of a DNA test can help clients understand what types of exercise they need to build muscle mass or gain strength. It will not tell them if they will be a good athlete, or if they will be good at one sport over another. However, it will help decipher training motivation styles and more:

  • Do they need some sort of competition or do they get motivation from training just to train?
  • What sort of injury risk are they at? 
  • What does their recovery look like? 
  • Do they need to put in extra effort to help their body recover to make those strength gains? 

All of these can be important for those with athletic aspirations as well as the weekend warrior who just wants to be competitive in what they love to do. 

Unlock Your Clients’ Potential with DNA

Whether a client has a weight loss or a performance goal, a genetic profile can unlock a client’s potential, taking away tedious and time-consuming steps of trial and error. It also shows the client what their genetic predispositions and how to work with that to hit their goals. This leads to happier clients consistently hitting their goals! 

Are you ready to build increasingly effective training programs to help clients hit goals faster? Learn more about genetic testing and how it helps you as a personal trainer. Check out ISSA’s Genetics-Based Program Design course and start your unique journey today!


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