Trying to lose weight? Trying to get in better shape? For many successful people -- and successful entrepreneurs -- health and fitness isn't a luxury; health and fitness actually play a major role in their success. If that's you, you're not alone: Americans spend $80 billion on health and fitness club memberships alone. (Yep: $80 billion.) 

So if you are trying to get fitter, that's great -- except for one important thing. Most people have no clue as to which fitness and nutrition plans are actually best for them as individuals.

Instead they guess. Or they do what "feels" right. Or they do what's trendy. Or they get generic advice from a book or an article or a personal trainer at the local gym who gives everyone pretty much the same tips.

And then they don't get the results they hope for -- and all that time and effort (and money) gets wasted.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Professional athletes have long followed highly personalized diet and training plans because they have access to results from genetic analysis and sophisticated diagnostics. Now, some companies are offering DNA testing for the rest of us, providing data that lets you optimize your diet and fitness training, based not on feel or hunch or trends, but on what is truly best for you.

In short, you can follow plans based on real data -- which means those plans will actually produce results.

I never recommend products or services without trying them first, so to see how genetic testing works I chose FitnessGenes, mostly because its co-founders, Dan Reardon and Sam Decombel, are entrepreneurs. (Who doesn't love entrepreneurs?) And because I've worked out with Dan.

The core FitnessGenes product provides a comprehensive online report showing your results across 41 different genetic variations. Some of these genes affect how you should train, some affect nutrition, some affect both. And you get diet and training recommendations based on your individual results.

I've tried it. It works.

Now FitnessGenes offers advanced programs, again based on your genetic results. So I decided to try the Muscle Build plan, because who doesn't want to get stronger and put on a little more muscle?

It's a 12-week plan, but since I can't seem to stop trying other people's workouts, I purposely followed it for only four weeks. I gave Dan a bunch of information (height, weight, body measurements, etc.) that he paired with my genetic results, and the result was individualized macro nutrition plans and workout plans.

Detailing the plans won't be useful to you, because they're based on me and therefore aren't particularly applicable to you. But generally speaking, I trained with higher weights and fewer sets and reps than normal; based on how I'm made, that's the best way to optimize muscle growth and protein synthesis. High volume training won't give me the same level of improvement.

And I also took more rest days than normal. (I hate rest days, even though they clearly love me.)

What was the result? I gained three pounds yet lost three-quarters of an inch off my waist, which isn't too shabby since I'm already fairly trim. I added size to my chest, arms, and thighs.

And I got stronger: At the start of the month, my one-rep max on bench presses was 255 pounds. At the end of the month I managed to bench 270 pounds, which for me is an all-time high.

Very cool. (Getting stronger is always more fun than getting bigger.)

Once again, that's the best part of genetic testing for health and fitness purposes. We tend to make decisions about our bodies based not on science or data but on what feels right or what feels easier. As with most things, doing what we want to do usually doesn't provide the same results as doing what we need to do.

When you actually know how you're made, you can follow a diet and exercise plan that is right for you, and feel confident that your effort will actually pay off. 

And if you still aren't convinced, think of it this way: You use data to improve your business -- why wouldn't you use data to improve your health and fitness?  

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Published on: Dec 20, 2017