Can a DNA test help you pick the best workout?

- We exercise and try to eat to healthy, but are we getting it right?

A new DNA too; claims to help take some of the guesswork out of getting in better shape.

It's called DNAFit.

East Lake graphic artist and long distance runner Tina Tait and Lilburn veterinarian and mother of 4 Francoise Draper decided to give it a try.

The concept is simple.

You collect a saliva sample.

Then, you ship the sample to the company's lab in England.

Then, they send you personalized fitness and nutritional advice

based on your genetic makeup.

"I'm really interested to see what it says, I really am," Tina Tait says.

She trains for marathons and half-marathons and relies on running to keep her weight under control. 

But, Tait says, when she's tight on time, she will skip strength training or her yoga classes, and she suspects that might be hurting her running.

"I feel like it makes me really weak, and it makes me feel tired really fast,"  she says.

Francoise Draper's challenge is time.

Between her job at the clinic and the kids, she needs a quick, reliable way to get results.

"It will be neat to see what I should be doing," Draper says.

Draper, who is recovering from a knee injury, enjoys walking her dogs and doing anything outdoors.

"I prefer to be outside, which is why I love running," she says.

Both women are hoping DNAFit can help them make the most of their time and energy.

Emory Healthcare Internist Dr. Sharon Bergquist says there is huge interest in DNA testing, and what our genes can reveal about us.

"But, in reality, genetic testing isn't at the level where it can predict the best workout for you, or the best diet for you," Bergquist says.

She says we've made progress, but the small subset of genes we've identified can't yet give us the big picture.

"So, yes, I would view it more an interesting, informational, entertainment, but not for medical use, or to direct what you're doing in terms of your habits towards exercise or nutrition," Bergquist says.

When their test results come back, both Tait and Draper are pleased.

"I really like it," Tait says, looking at her results.  "I was really surprised, actually, at how thorough it was. I was expecting a one-page report I couldn't read.  But, this is really easy to understand."

Her takeaway?

As she suspected, she needs a better balance of cardio and strength training.

Tait says she also needs to do more cross-training, to help prevent injuries.

There is a lot of information to sort through, and she likes that.

"This is the first time I've ever had a DNA test done, and I find this really fascinating," Tait says.  "Your regular doctor can't tell you these things, they can tell you generally how to exercise and how to eat for a healthy lifestyle, but they can't break it down like this."

A consultant from DNA calls Francoise Draper to go over her test results.

Among other things, he recommends she increase the intensity of her exercise, to challenge her body.

Draper says she's reconsidering her workout.

"Since my time is limited, the fact that I'm predisposed for intense workouts, like sprints, relax, sprints, relax, I think that's definitely going to be easier for me to do," she says.

On its website, DNAFit notes genetic information is only part of the bigger health picture, which should also include goals, and the right lifestyle and environment.

The tests cost between $199 and $299.

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