Why home genetic testing doesn’t work

For decades, professional bodybuilders have sworn by genetics as the factor most responsible for success. Others, however, have rightly noted that performance-enhancing drugs have substantially contributed to professional physique development in the past decades.

Still, genetics are the overriding regulator of size, density, hardness and other muscular qualities, even if you use steroids and other performance-enhancing products. In fact, you could say that there’s been a shift in our understanding of the body. We’re now in the era of genetics.

This was recently confirmed by the development of new home genetic-testing kits that have hit the market, promising individualized “genetic supplementation.” Be wary of these products! Although legitimate genetic testing is being done, nothing is yet available to consumers. The science simply isn’t that developed yet.

Recent research at the University of Sydney confirms that many interacting genes are involved in athletic performance, and that the presence of one single gene isn’t meaningful or predictive of present athletic performance or future performance expectations.


Your genetics are important, but they’re not the only game in town. The bottom line, at least for now, is that the science isn’t yet sufficiently developed to offer meaningful and reliable home scientific genetic tests. In other words, if you’re thinking about getting a genetic test – especially if it’s online or through the mail – don’t. Save your money and buy some protein instead. Those genes will make good use of it!


Trent RJ, Yu B. The future of genetic research in exercise science and sports medicine. Med Sport Sci. 2009;54:187-95. Epub 2009 Aug 17.

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