Precision Fitness: How Genetics Influences Weight Loss and Exercise

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Precision Fitness: How Genetics Influences Weight Loss and Exercise

Date of Content: November 3, 2023
Written by: Jess Gayo
Reviewed by: Maarit Tiirikainen, PhD



Why is Weight Loss a Big Deal for Many People?

While society still has a very long way to go when it comes to accepting all different body types, inclusivity has been the highlight of many brands and organizations today.

This is great news because everyone is fighting different battles when it comes to their bodies. However, there have been rising concerns in recent years about extreme weight changes, which can have serious health repercussions. 

Weight change can be intentional or unintentional. Weight loss can be a significant concern for many individuals due to its profound impact on overall health and well-being.

Beyond aesthetic considerations, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for preventing a host of medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Excess weight can strain the cardiovascular system, lead to insulin resistance, and contribute to inflammation in the body.

Moreover, societal norms and cultural ideals often place a premium on a lean physique, influencing individuals to pursue weight loss for social acceptance and improved self-esteem.

The media’s portrayal of idealized body images further amplifies the pressure to conform to certain standards, intensifying the desire for weight management.

However, it is important to remember that not all weight loss is beneficial. Diets can occasionally drive your body to the limit, leading to the degeneration of muscle. You want to minimize muscle loss and enhance fat reduction because muscles are vital to your general health and help you burn more calories during the day.

The journey toward weight loss often involves adopting healthier lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, promoting long-term well-being.

weight loss genetics/ 23andme weight loss

Can You Really Lose Weight via Exercise?

A key element of any successful weight loss plan is exercise. Regular physical activity burns calories, which contributes to the creation of a calorie deficit and is necessary for losing extra weight Many types of exercise, such as strength training routines and cardiovascular activities like cycling or running, enhance muscle mass and metabolism, two factors that are crucial for managing weight.

Strength training increases lean muscle mass, which in turn increases the body’s total capacity to burn calories. Cardiovascular workouts raise heart rate and burn calories during the activity. Exercise also promotes a healthy balance that assists weight loss by regulating hormones linked to metabolism and hunger.

Exercise increases the efficacy of weight management initiatives, even though it might not be enough to cause noticeable weight loss without dietary changes. A balanced, calorie-controlled diet and exercise go hand in hand. 

Beyond only helping you to lose weight, regular exercise also improves your mood, your cardiovascular health, and your energy levels. Exercise is essentially a vital and versatile strategy for reaching and keeping a healthy weight.

What Affects Weight Loss and Exercise?

Several factors influence the relationship between weight loss and exercise. Results of weight loss are also influenced by body composition, genetics, and metabolism. Personalized methods that take into account a person’s preferences and health status are also important components of a successful fitness and weight loss plan.

Genetic Factors

Genetic markers associated with weight loss and exercise are diverse, reflecting the intricate interplay between genetics and individual responses to lifestyle factors.

Although the results of exercise or weight reduction are not determined by a single gene, a number of genetic variants affect different aspects of metabolism, fat storage, and muscle response. Knowledge of these predictive indicators can help create individualized strategies for successful weight control.

FTO Gene

FTO gene is the short name for the “fat mass and obesity-associated” gene. An increased risk of obesity has been associated with several variations in this gene. Some FTO variations may make people more likely to acquire weight and make it harder for them to lose it (such as the SNP rs8050136). Lifestyle changes, such as consistent exercise and a well-balanced diet, can lessen the effect of FTO-regulated differences on weight, even in the presence of genetic factors.


The PPARG gene (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma) is involved in lipid metabolism and adipocyte development. This gene’s variations may affect how the body uses and retains fat. Given that certain variations are linked to an increased risk of obesity, heredity plays a significant influence in the development of obesity. Moreover, people with PPARG gene variants can still benefit from regular physical activity when it comes to managing their weight.


One research studied a gene called INSIG2 and a specific genetic variation (SNP) associated with obesity. The study suggests that the INSIG2 gene variation influences fat levels in young women and affects the response to resistance training in men. This supports the idea that this gene variation is linked to obesity measures and plays a role in regulating fat.

ACTN3 Gene

The makeup of muscle fibers, particularly the fast-twitch muscle fibers that are responsible for explosive movements, is influenced by the alpha-actinin-3 (ACTN3) gene. Athletic performance and the reaction of the muscles to exercise are influenced by genetic differences in ACTN3. Individuals who possess unique versions of ACTN3 may display variations in their capacity to gain muscle mass and react to particular forms of exercise, underscoring the significance of customized exercise regimens.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates hunger and has a role in neuroplasticity. Genetic differences in BDNF may affect how an individual responds to exercise and how they eat. Certain BDNF variations may cause individuals to respond differently to exercise in terms of weight reduction and satiety.

LEP and LEPR Genes

In order to control appetite, leptin (LEP) and its receptor (LEPR) are essential. Genetic differences pertaining to these genes have the potential to impair an individual’s capacity to manage appetite and energy balance via altering leptin levels and signaling. Exercise is one lifestyle intervention that can help regulate leptin levels and enhance weight management.

Other Genetic Markers

Other genetic markers in LifeDNA’s Weight Loss and Exercise Report also include the ADRB3 gene (SNP rs4994), and the LPL gene (SNP rs328).

Knowing these predictive genetic markers lays the groundwork for individualized fitness and weight loss plans. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is largely dependent on lifestyle choices, even though genetics plays a role in individual predispositions. Taking a comprehensive approach that takes into account both hereditary and environmental factors can maximize the efficacy of weight management initiatives.

Environmental Factors

Along with genetic predispositions, environmental circumstances have a major impact on weight loss and exercise success. These outside factors influence people’s lifestyle decisions, access to resources, and living conditions in general. To effectively encourage a healthy weight and an active lifestyle, it is imperative to comprehend these variables.

Dietary Patterns

Dietary decisions are influenced by the accessibility and cost of nutrient-dense food sources. While the availability of whole grains, fresh produce, and fast access to food promotes a balanced diet, the prevalence of highly processed foods and so-called “fast food” can lead to weight gain. Eating habits are also influenced by societal conventions and cultural customs, which highlights the importance of campaigns and education to encourage better food options.

Physical Activity

Physical activity levels are strongly influenced by the built environment. Exercise and outdoor activities are encouraged when there are parks, recreational centers, and safe, well-kept walkways nearby. Environments devoid of this infrastructure, on the other hand, can inhibit physical exercise and promote sedentary behavior.

Socioeconomic Status

A key component of managing weight is economics. Higher socioeconomic level people frequently have easier access to gym memberships, healthier dietary options, and leisure activities. Differences in obesity rates may result from lower-income people’s difficulties in getting access to wholesome food or participating in physical activity.

Workplace Culture

The type of work one does can affect one’s degree of physical activity. Lack of time for exercise can be attributed to sedentary occupations and long workdays. Employers who put a high priority on worker health by providing chances for physical activity during breaks, ergonomic workstations, and wellness programs can have a favorable impact on personnel’s weight management.

Social Support and Influence

One of the most important influences on lifestyle decisions is the social environment, which includes friends, family, and the community. Social networks that provide support can promote healthy behaviors, such as consistent exercise and a balanced diet. On the other hand, peer pressure and cultural norms may encourage harmful behavior, emphasizing the necessity of community-based solutions.

Technology and Screen Time

A more sedentary lifestyle can be attributed to the widespread use of technology and screen-based activities. Less physical activity is linked to excessive screen time, whether it comes from computers, mobile devices, or televisions. Promoting screen time limits and encouraging technology use for fitness can have a good effect on managing weight.

Stress and Mental Health

Stressors in the environment might affect one’s drive to exercise, as well as one’s eating habits. Environments with high levels of stress might cause emotional eating and a decrease in physical activity. Stress management techniques, like mindfulness and mental health assistance, are essential elements of a holistic weight reduction strategy.

Accessibility to Healthcare

In order to combat obesity, it is important for people to have access to healthcare services, such as weight control programs and preventative care. It may be difficult for communities with poor access to healthcare to get timely interventions and advice on losing weight.

Marketing and Advertising

Advertising that promotes unhealthy food options has the unfortunate power to change consumer behavior. Convenience and indulgence-focused marketing tactics have the potential to influence bad eating habits. By opposing these tendencies, regulations, and education initiatives can help create a healthier eating environment.

Understanding the effects of these environmental factors highlights the necessity of all-encompassing, community-wide programs to support physical activity and a healthy weight.

A framework for sustainable lifestyle modifications can be established by implementing strategies that take into account both personal preferences and the larger environmental context.

What Types of Exercise are Good for Weight Loss?

Effective weight loss involves a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility workouts. Incorporating a variety of exercise types maximizes calorie burning, promotes muscle development, and supports overall fitness.

Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardiovascular exercises are a great way to increase heart health and burn calories. Running, jogging, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing are examples of exercises that raise heart rate and increase the amount of energy used by the body. To help with weight loss, try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Short bursts of intensive exercise are interspersed with rest or lower-intensity activity during high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This method increases the afterburn effect, or the amount of calories burned after exercising, in addition to burning calories during the workout. HIIT is a quick and efficient way to lose weight.

Strength Training

Gaining lean muscle mass is essential for increasing weight reduction and metabolism. Increased muscle mass is a result of strength training activities including weightlifting, resistance band workouts, and bodyweight movements like lunges and squats. At rest, muscle tissue uses more energy, which encourages the continual burning of calories.

Interval Training

Interval training varies between increased effort and lower intensity or rest intervals, much like HIIT. This method can be applied to a variety of exercises, such as strength training, cycling, and running, to assist in increasing cardiovascular fitness. It enhances workout diversity and aids in weight loss by maximizing caloric expenditure.

Flexibility and Balance Exercises

Including exercises like Pilates and yoga improves core strength, flexibility, and balance. Even though they might not burn as many calories as intense exercises, these are nonetheless beneficial to general health. They also offer a comprehensive fitness program which might be essential for preventing injuries and enabling regular exercise.

Active Sports and Recreation

Playing sports or leisure pursuits like hiking, basketball, or tennis combines cardiovascular fitness with fun. These exercises not only help people lose weight but also increase their enjoyment of fitness, which raises the possibility that they will stick to a regular workout schedule.

Daily Physical Activity

Daily calorie expenditure can be increased by making little lifestyle adjustments like using the stairs, walking short distances instead of driving, or scheduling activity breaks during the workday. Over time, these activities—promoting non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT—can add up and aid in weight loss.

Never forget that a balanced strategy and consistency are essential for successful weight loss. Combining various workout routines that are customized to each person’s interests and degree of fitness guarantees a comprehensive and long-lasting strategy for reaching and keeping a healthy weight. To develop a customized workout program based on your unique needs and goals, speaking with a healthcare provider or fitness specialist is advised.

Ways to Help with Weight Loss

Achieving and maintaining weight loss involves a multifaceted approach that encompasses lifestyle, dietary choices, and physical activity.

Balanced Diet

A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for losing excess weight and keeping it away. Give special attention to whole foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. To control your calorie intake, pay attention to portion sizes. Include a range of foods high in nutrients to make sure the body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Caloric Deficit

Losing weight requires creating a caloric deficit, in which calories burned are greater than calories consumed. To attain a lasting and healthy deficit, track your daily caloric intake and partake in calorie-burning activities like exercise.

Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for weight loss. For a comprehensive exercise program, incorporate cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training. As advised by health officials, try to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week.


Water consumption should be sufficient for both weight control and general wellness. Water suppresses hunger, aids with digestion, and may speed up metabolism. To cut calories overall, switch from sugary drinks to herbal teas or water.

Mindful Eating

By observing your body’s signals of hunger and fullness, cultivate mindful eating. During meals, stay away from devices like TVs and cellphones and enjoy every bite. This strategy can help people develop a better relationship with food and avoid overindulging.

Adequate Sleep

Make getting enough good sleep a priority because getting too little sleep can throw off your hormone balance, making you more hungry and more likely to crave high-calorie foods. For the purpose of promoting general well-being and weight control, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Stress Management

Weight gain can be attributed to ongoing stress. To control your stress levels, try stress-reduction methods like yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. These exercises have a beneficial effect on hunger and metabolism-related hormones.

Social Support

Embrace a social network of support around you. On the weight loss journey, friends and family can offer support, accountability, and incentives. To meet people who share your interests, think about enrolling in online groups or group exercise courses.

Set Realistic Goals

Set attainable and reasonable weight loss objectives. Establishing manageable, incremental goals promotes motivation throughout the process and fosters a feeling of success. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how tiny, to help you stay committed to the end goal.

Professional Guidance

For individualized advice, speak with medical doctors, dietitians, or fitness specialists. They can assist in developing a customized strategy that takes into consideration each person’s demands while accounting for things like lifestyle and medical history.


Keep in mind that losing weight is a slow process, and long-term success depends on making durable lifestyle adjustments. A complete approach to weight management combines positive behavioral methods, frequent exercise, and healthy eating habits. It’s critical to view weight loss as a journey rather than a fast fix that leads to increased overall well-being.

LifeDNA’s Fitness Report on Weight Loss and Exercise

Weight loss fads are a thing of the past – or at the very least, they should be. LifeDNA pioneers this shift, utilizing advanced genetic insights to craft an individualized program tailored specifically to you. By delving into your DNA, we uncover genetic factors influencing weight loss, how your body responds to exercise and other environmental factors.

The LifeDNA Weight Loss and Exercise Report delivers a customized nutrition plan aligned with your unique genetic profile. It includes targeted exercise recommendations for maximum efficacy and insights into how your genes impact your metabolism, resulting in weight loss. Our ongoing support ensures your plan evolves with your changing body needs, rejecting the notion of generic weight loss tips.

Explore our related traits reports on the LifeDNA Fitness and Nutrition Reports covering aspects such as Weight Change, Body Fat Distribution, Hunger, Satiety, and Appetite, among numerous others linked to a healthy body weight and composition. With LifeDNA, you’re not settling for generic solutions; you’re choosing the power of personalization.

Embark on your LifeDNA journey today, embracing the profound impact of your DNA on your health and happiness. Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all and welcome a personalized path to your healthiest, happiest self. Your DNA holds the key, and LifeDNA is here to unlock it for you.


  • Due to body weight having such a dramatic effect on general health and well-being, it can be a major concern for many people.
  • In addition to being visually pleasing, keeping a healthy weight is essential for avoiding a number of illnesses.
  • Not all weight loss is advantageous. Sometimes diets can push your body to its breaking point, which results in muscle loss. 
  • The link between exercise and weight loss is influenced by a number of factors. Genetics, metabolism, and body composition all affect weight loss attempt outcomes. 
  • In order to achieve long-term well-being, losing weight frequently entails embracing healthy lifestyle practices including consistent exercise and a balanced diet.



Customer Reviews

Christopher Devlin
Christopher Devlin
LifeDNA Customer
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I am so impressed with this service. I have even discussed these recommendations with my health care providers and they are all impressed too! I can’t compare it with other services as I have only tried this but I recommend. Also I think I pulled my genetics in from ancestry too which was super convenient.
LifeDNA Customer
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Great source of information I was looking for a platform to make use of my existing raw data from Ancestry. I’m glad I found LifeDNA. I originally took a DNA test to learn about my roots and it’s great to know that my DNA could also play a big role in my health, diet, and even my skin. Overall, all the reports are incredible.
Shiraz Dole
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LifeDNA Customer
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It is crazy how I felt that I had a strong understanding of my bodies needs, but after having my DNA analyzed by the LifeDNA team, I realized that there was so much I still did not know.
Doc Sheila Lim
Doc Sheila Lim
LifeDNA Customer
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I got some pretty useful insight that helped me with my diet.

*Understanding your genetics can offer valuable insights into your well-being, but it is not deterministic. Your traits can be influenced by the complex interplay involving nature, lifestyle, family history, and others.

Our reports have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents on our website and our reports are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose any medical condition, replace the advice of a healthcare professional, or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes or if you have any other concerns about your results. The testimonials featured may have used more than one LifeDNA or LifeDNA vendors’ product or reports.