About about two years ago, I hit a plateau in my fitness journey, and I couldn't seem to reach my goals no matter what I did until I tried a test that seemed to put all the missing pieces together.
I'd been back in the gym for a while and not getting the results I wanted.
So, I decided to try a DNA test looking for clues in my genes. Dr. Michele Neil-Sherwood of Functional Medical Institute told me, "The genetics are like that map that tells us as clinicians where to go for the patient."
Her husband, Dr. Mark Sherwood, agrees, "We are able to get their individuality out of genes and craft their personal nutrition program and craft an exercise program that is going to produce the results we want."
When the report came in, the doctors helped me understand the results.
"Here you see a lot of exercise. It's the most exercise I've seen on anybody's report quite frankly," said Dr. Mark.
I need to get in 30 MET high intensity hours per week. Meaning, I need to get my heart rate up even higher for longer periods of time.
So when I'm checking the gym monitor, I want to be in mid yellow or higher.
Dr. Mark explained it as, "Those are Metabolic Equivalent Task is what it stands for, but we're talking about when someone works at high intensity for maybe 30 minutes, they might have a metabolic burn for an hour and a half. The higher the intensity, the longer the burn."
So this is what I have to do to build muscle and burn fat.
"Thirty hours per week is like exercising six days a week perhaps even seven for at least an hour doing something."
I also needed to switch my food to a Mediterranean diet. As Dr. Michelle reminded me, "The most important medical decision that you make everyday is at the end of your fork. We make that decision 365 days a year, 24 hours a day."
According to Moua, "We were doing high intensity workouts, but for you, it wasn't high enough. We were going hard, fast, quick but you needed that next level."
And within about a month, my body started to change.
Moua told me, "It was quick because I knew exactly what to do."
In all of this, I also wanted to check in with an outside source, so I contacted the Chairman of the School of Forensic Sciences at Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Robert Allen - Chairman Of The School Of Forensic Sciences OSU Tulsa, "The test was spot on for you. Somebody else who maybe had some genetic background that this didn't test, that none-the-less influenced how these enzymes operate, might not get the same result. Is it worth $300 bucks, I think, yeah it probably was for you," said Allen.
I feel better than I have in a long time. Everyday a little healthier and a little stronger.
Moua told me his thoughts on the test, too, " Let's just say, you're having a hard time trying to figure out where you need to go for your fitness, why not do this?"
And Dr. Mark wants everyone to know, "It is so much more than weight loss."
According to Dr. Michelle, "The DNA is really a blue print. It's the blue print for a life plan for each individual."
For me, the focus is consistency and feeling healthy.
Just to put it all in perspective, I'm down almost 10 points in body fat. Now, that number does fluctuate some depending on illness, sleep, work, stress and other factors that can affect my schedule. But I've managed to keep between seven and almost ten points in body fat off for about two years now.
I just keep trying to learn more every day.
As for cost, I paid $349 dollars for my testing. The analysis came in a report of about 50 pages.
The doctors at Functional Medical Institute and Dr. Allen all say genetic testing is the future of medicine, and soon, we may even see babies given their genome at birth telling them things like what to eat, what medicines will or won't work for them, just about anything you can think of.