Four Blood and DNA Tests for a Fitter, Stronger You

Getty Images / Kevin Curtis

Ever looking for a performance edge, more athletes are turning to DNA and blood tests to gain insight into their genes and optimize their game-day performance. With these tests becoming more readily available and affordable, we're ready to jump on the data train and get our own blood and DNA analysis, too. Here, we cut through the research to bring you the four best health tests on the market to fine-tune your training.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Test Your Blood, Get Fitter?

1. PathwayFit

  • Type: DNA test
  • Cost: $159
  • Who It's For: Those curious about how genetics may influence all aspects of health and wellness.
  • What It Includes: A report of 75 genetic markers that link to metabolism, strength, endurance, and ability to digest alcohol and lactose.
  • Strengths: Each result has a star rating denoting the strength of the underlying research, along with a URL to read more. The service also includes a diet plan and phone consultation with a registered dietitian at no extra cost.
  • Limitations: No fitness plans offered, and many of the recommendations are conventional and unsurprising.

2. FitnessGenes

  • Type: DNA test
  • Cost: $149 to start (added cost for custom plans)
  • Who It's For: Fitness buffs looking for personalized training and diet advice.
  • What It Includes: A report of 17 genetic markers considers strength, endurance, speed, and metabolism and provides general recommendations.
  • Strengths: Extensive info explains the importance of each marker. Several detailed workout and diet plans are available for an extra fee.
  • Limitations: It's unclear to what extent your genetics determine the variations in the workout suggestions, and it's difficult to gauge the strength of the research underlying various recommendations.

3. InsideTracker

  • Type: Blood test
  • Cost: $49 to $499
  • Who It's For: Nutrition geeks, especially those with dietary restrictions.
  • What It Includes: A basic version allows you to input data from a previous blood test; premium versions can test for allergies and measure 30 biomarkers including those for testosterone and liver health. For $100, the InnerAge test tells you how old you appear to be, based on the blood work.
  • Strengths: A user-friendly nutrition guide factors in up to 15 different dietary restrictions.
  • Limitations: Advice is mainly confined to nutrition. Menu suggestions can be odd. (A sample report suggests eating three types of fish in one day.)

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4. Blueprint for Athletes

  • Type: Blood test
  • Cost: Starting at $250 (available in select states)
  • Who It's For: Active types curious about how physiology influences training.
  • What It Includes: A panel of 40-plus biomarkers including basics like cholesterol and red blood cell count, as well as measures of inflammation, cortisol, testosterone, and other hormones. Web-based content explains the markers' influence on training and diet.
  • Strengths: Online videos are geared toward increasing athletic performance and tailored to specific sports.
  • Limitations: Much of the advice sounds like the same thing your doctor would say.

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