Updated on
May 16, 2024 by Kristina Perunicic

5 Best DNA Tests for Athletes in 2024

If you’re an athlete looking for a DNA test kit, you likely seek insights into your genetic predisposition towards fitness, nutrition, and recovery. Understanding these can optimize your training and performance. However, the market is saturated with options, and it might be challenging to find a test that suits your specific athletic needs.

In my quest to find the most suitable DNA kit for athletes, I evaluated numerous products based on their accuracy, depth of genetic insights related to sports performance, ease of use, and the quality of actionable recommendations provided. From this extensive testing, I’ve shortlisted the best DNA kits specifically tailored for athletes.

Among these, LivingDNA stands out as the top recommendation for athletes. It excels in offering comprehensive insights into muscle composition, aerobic potential, and nutritional needs. LivingDNA’s detailed reports and actionable advice make it an invaluable tool for athletes aiming to leverage their genetic information for enhanced performance and personalized training strategies.

Get The Best DNA Test for Athletes

Short on time? Here are the best diet and fitness DNA tests

  1. Living DNA – Best overall DNA test kit for athletes thanks to its comprehensive reports on diet, exercise and vitamin needs, as well as actionable tips based on that.
  2. 24Genetics – Great specialized sports DNA test that can tell you a lot about your aerobic capacity, injury risk, recovery and more. 
  3. SelfDecode – Good for getting ongoing health reports on what you need regarding nutrition and exercise. 
  4. CrossDNA – A fantastic specialized DNA test for athletes where you can choose between three options based on the level of activity that you do (from basic to professional level). 
  5. InsideTracker – Provides ongoing meal and exercise plans and actionable tips. 

See how each test compares

Our Best DNA Tests for Athletes Reviewed

1. Living DNA – Best Overall Test for Athletes

  • Our #1 at-home diet and fitness DNA testing
  • Reports on vitamin response, food metabolism, and exercise
  • Actionable diet and exercise tips
  • Results in six to eight weeks

Price from$139.00
Our score9.4

LivingDNA stands out for athletes due to its comprehensive features tailored to their needs. First, its Wellbeing Kit, combined with the Ancestry & Wellbeing Kit, assesses how genetics influence nutrition, exercise, and wellness traits. These include vital information on vitamins, lactose tolerance, recovery speed, and endurance traits, offering actionable advice and personalized exercise recommendations based on one’s genetic makeup. 

The process of using LivingDNA is streamlined for user convenience. From ordering the kit to receiving results, the company makes the journey user-friendly, offering additional resources like a free 7-day email course to deepen the users’ understanding of DNA and its impact on their lives.

LivingDNA’s blend of detailed genetic insights, emphasis on privacy, and user-friendly experience makes it a top choice for athletes seeking to leverage their genetic information for improved performance and health.

Get Started With LivingDNA

2. 24Genetics – Great Specialized Sports DNA Test Kit

  • At-home DNA test for athletes
  • Individualized diet strategies and meal plans
  • Tailor-made exercise strategies
  • Results in 4 weeks

Price from$218.00
Our score8

24Genetics offers a DNA Sports Test designed to maximize athletic performance by tailoring training to your genetic makeup. This test helps you understand your physical potential, aiding in training efficiency, injury prevention, and even motivation for those new to sports. It emphasizes that genetics play a significant role in how your body functions, impacting your athletic capabilities.

The process involves sending a saliva sample using a kit provided by 24Genetics. Their lab performs a comprehensive analysis using advanced algorithms and genetic studies, resulting in a detailed report delivered via email. This report covers various aspects such as your Sport Profile, Muscle Profile, Metabolic Profile, Cardiovascular Profile, and Injury Risk, offering a holistic view of your athletic potential.

Notably, 24Genetics underscores that lifestyle also influences your genetic predispositions, reinforcing the importance of a balanced approach to training and health. They provide global shipping and ensure anyone, regardless of age, can take the test, making it widely accessible.

Finally, 24Genetics prides itself on the depth of its analysis, evaluating around 700,000 genetic markers to produce what they claim to be the most comprehensive sports genetic study available. This extensive analysis provides athletes with valuable insights that go beyond basic genetic predispositions, potentially transforming training regimes and performance outcomes.

Get Started With 24Genetics

3. SelfDecode – Best for Ongoing Reports on Your Health

  • Upload raw data from other DNA tests
  • Ongoing and additional reports available
  • Easy-to-understand data
  • Results instant or within 6 to 8 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9

SelfDecode provides a comprehensive approach to understanding your genetic makeup and its impact on health and wellness. It allows athletes to upload their raw DNA data or order a DNA test directly from the platform. Once your genetic data is in the system, SelfDecode offers personalized health insights and recommendations. This process is designed to help you make informed decisions about your training, diet, and supplements, directly impacting your athletic performance and recovery.

The platform stands out for its AI-driven polygenic risk scoring, offering highly accurate genetic insights. This feature is crucial for athletes looking to optimize their health and performance based on genetic predispositions. SelfDecode integrates genetic data with lab results and lifestyle assessments, providing a holistic view of your health. This comprehensive approach is especially beneficial for athletes seeking to maximize their potential by understanding how their genetics affect various aspects of their health and performance.

SelfDecode continuously updates its reports and recommendations based on the latest scientific research, ensuring that you have access to the most current information. This ongoing support can help athletes adjust their training and nutrition plans over time, as new findings emerge and as their health goals evolve.

Get Started With SelfDecode

4. CrossDNA – Great Options for Different Levels of Exercise Intensity 

  • Analyzes 80+ traits
  • Three different sports tests
  • Actionable tips and plans
  • Results in 5-7 days

Price from$290.00
Our score6

CrossDNA offers specialized DNA testing tailored for athletes across various levels of exercise intensity. It focuses on a holistic approach by covering aspects that impact an athlete’s performance, including diet, health, and lifestyle. The test analyzes up to 80 traits, providing a comprehensive view of how your genetic makeup influences your fitness capabilities, recovery, and nutritional needs.

One of the standout features is its focus on diet and nutrition, evaluating your body’s response to different diets, your predisposition to certain nutritional deficiencies, and how these factors affect your physical performance. This information is crucial for athletes looking to optimize their diet for enhanced performance and recovery.

The health and sport category is particularly beneficial for athletes, covering a wide range of traits from muscle fatigue and recovery capacity to the risk of stress fractures and aerobic capacity. This detailed analysis helps in customizing training programs that align with your genetic predisposition to maximize performance while minimizing injury risks.

Get Started With CrossDNA

5. InsideTracker – Best for Reaching Your Optimal Nutrition Goals

  • Lab-based diet and fitness blood or DNA tests
  • DNA and blood insights add-on
  • Personalized nutrition and supplement reports
  • Custom online dashboard

Price from$49.00
Our score8

InsideTracker offers a unique approach to achieving your optimal nutrition and fitness goals by analyzing a comprehensive range of biomarkers related to health, fitness, and wellness. This platform stands out for its detailed blood analysis, offering insights into over 43 biomarkers that cover aspects such as inflammation, metabolism, bone health, and blood function. Such in-depth analysis is particularly beneficial for athletes aiming to enhance their performance through optimized nutrition.

One key area where InsideTracker excels is in its personalized nutrition information. By assessing your genetic predispositions and current biomarker levels, it provides tailored nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations. This personalized approach ensures that your diet and fitness routines are aligned with your genetic makeup, maximizing your health and performance potential.

Furthermore, InsideTracker’s tests are designed with athletes in mind, addressing common concerns such as iron deficiency—a condition that significantly impacts athletic performance. By evaluating markers like ferritin, serum iron, and hemoglobin, InsideTracker provides specific recommendations to improve these levels, thus aiding in better oxygen transport to muscles and overall performance enhancement.

Get Started With InsideTracker

Tips On How to Choose the Best DNA Test Kit for Athletes

I used these tips to determine the best DNA Kits for athletes, focusing on features that are crucial for enhancing athletic performance and health.

  • Comprehensive Genetic Markers. For athletes, understanding a wide range of genetic factors that influence performance, such as muscle composition and recovery, is essential. I looked for kits that offered a broad spectrum of genetic markers relevant to athleticism. These tests provide insights into muscle fiber types, endurance, power potential, and injury predisposition, helping athletes tailor their training and nutrition.
  • Accuracy and Scientific Validity. The accuracy of a DNA test is paramount, especially when it comes to making decisions that affect an athlete’s training regime and health. I focused on kits backed by solid scientific research and with a reputation for high accuracy. Tests that undergo rigorous validation processes ensure that the recommendations athletes receive are reliable and actionable.
  • Personalized Recommendations. Athletes need more than just data; they need actionable insights. The best DNA kits for athletes go beyond raw genetic information to offer personalized advice on training, nutrition, and recovery strategies. This aspect allows athletes to apply genetic insights directly to their training programs for optimized performance and reduced injury risk.
  • Integration with Other Health Data. Combining genetic data with other health metrics, such as blood tests and fitness tracking, offers a comprehensive view of an athlete’s health and performance. Kits that allow for integration with wearable technology and provide a platform for tracking various health markers offer a more holistic approach to athlete wellness and performance enhancement.
  • Privacy and Data Security. Athletes must trust that their genetic information is kept private and secure. I prioritized DNA tests that emphasize user privacy and data protection, ensuring that athletes’ genetic data are handled with the utmost confidentiality and according to stringent security standards.

Understanding The Impact of Genes on Athletic Ability

Genetics plays a fascinating role in shaping an athlete’s potential and performance. Specific genes have been linked to various aspects of physical ability, from endurance and strength to recovery rates and susceptibility to injuries. Let’s explore some of these genes and understand how they influence athletic ability.

The ACTN3 Gene and Muscle Power

The ACTN3 gene, often dubbed the “sprint gene,” produces a protein called alpha-actinin-3, found exclusively in fast-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers are crucial for explosive movements, making this gene particularly beneficial in sports requiring speed and power, such as sprinting or weightlifting. Interestingly, some individuals carry a variant of the ACTN3 gene that results in a deficiency of alpha-actinin-3 in their muscles, yet this doesn’t mean they’re destined for athletic mediocrity. Instead, it suggests they might be more suited to endurance sports, highlighting how genetics can predispose individuals to excel in specific types of athletic endeavors.

The ACE Gene and Endurance

The ACE gene, responsible for angiotensin-converting enzyme production, comes in two main variants: I and D. The I variant has been associated with enhanced endurance capacity, making it a frequent marker among distance runners, swimmers, and cyclists. It’s thought to influence how efficiently the body uses oxygen during prolonged periods of exercise. Conversely, the D variant is linked to improved muscle strength and power, demonstrating how one’s ACE genotype could influence the optimal sport or training focus.

The COL5A1 Gene and Flexibility

The COL5A1 gene plays a role in collagen formation, which is crucial for tendons and ligaments. A specific variant of this gene is associated with an increased range of motion and flexibility, advantageous in sports like gymnastics, martial arts, and yoga. However, it’s also linked to a higher risk of certain injuries, such as ACL tears, due to the increased laxity in joints, emphasizing the importance of tailored training and injury prevention strategies for athletes with this genetic predisposition.

Recovery, Injury Risk, and Genetic Insights

Beyond performance traits, genetics also influences how an athlete recovers from exercise and their risk of injury. For example, variants in the MMP3 gene affect ligament and tendon strength, potentially increasing injury risk. Similarly, variations in the IL6 gene can influence inflammation and recovery times, making some athletes more prone to prolonged recovery periods after intense training or competition.

Putting It All Together

While genetics provides valuable insights into an athlete’s natural predispositions, it’s only part of the equation. Training, nutrition, mindset, and recovery strategies all play essential roles in reaching athletic potential. For athletes, understanding their genetic makeup can help tailor their training programs, nutrition plans, and recovery methods to align with their unique strengths and weaknesses. This personalized approach can optimize performance, reduce injury risk, and extend an athlete’s career.

In summary, while specific genes can predispose individuals to excel in certain sports or have particular strengths, the interplay between genetics, environment, and personal determination ultimately shapes an athlete’s career. Genetic testing for athletes offers a glimpse into this complex puzzle, providing actionable insights to maximize their genetic potential in harmony with their goals and lifestyle.

At-home Diet and Fitness DNA Test Comparison Table

  Personalized Diet Plan Personalized Fitness Plan Food Sensitivity  Time to Results Starting Price
LivingDNA 6 to 8 weeks $139.00
24Genetics 4 to 6 weeks $218.00
SelfDecode 6 to 8 weeks $397.00
CrossDNA 4 to 6 weeks $290.00
InsideTracker 5 to 7 days for blood test or 4 to 6 weeks for DNA $49.00

Get the Best DNA Test Kit for Athletes

Athletic performance is influenced by a combination of genetic factors and environmental conditions. A high-quality DNA test kit can reveal insights into this dynamic, providing personalized recommendations for diet, training, and recovery that align with your genetic profile. These kits evaluate genes associated with muscle composition, endurance, and susceptibility to injuries, offering actionable information to help maximize your athletic potential.

LivingDNA emerges as the top DNA test kit for athletes in my evaluation. It distinguishes itself by analyzing genetic markers specifically related to physical performance and endurance. The detailed reports from LivingDNA regarding muscle type and recovery capabilities provide tailored strategies that can significantly enhance your training and overall athletic performance.


How does DNA testing work for athletes?

DNA testing for athletes involves collecting a DNA sample, usually through a saliva swab, and analyzing it to identify genetic variants that influence physical performance, injury risk, and nutritional needs. The analysis is performed using advanced algorithms and genetic studies, providing insights that can help optimize training and performance.

Is DNA testing available internationally for athletes?

Yes, DNA tests for athletes are available internationally. Companies like 24Genetics offer sports genetic tests worldwide, with free shipping and return shipping included in several countries. This accessibility allows athletes from different parts of the world to benefit from personalized insights based on their genetics.

Do my genes determine everything about my athletic ability?

While genes play a crucial role in determining your body’s predispositions and how it functions, your lifestyle also has a significant influence. DNA testing for athlete ability provides valuable information and knowledge, but it’s also essential to consider lifestyle factors such as diet, training, and recovery in optimizing athletic performance.

Can I use existing DNA data for sports genetic testing?

Athletes who have undergone DNA testing with other companies can often use their existing genetic data to receive a sports-specific report without the need for an additional DNA sample. This makes the process more convenient and allows athletes to gain sports-related insights from their previously collected DNA data.

What benefits does DNA testing offer to athletes?

DNA testing can provide athletes with personalized information on injury risk, optimal workout types, and dietary needs based on their genetic makeup. This personalized approach helps in preventing injuries, overcoming performance plateaus, and maximizing workout potential. Some athletes use DNA testing to tailor their training and nutrition plans, leading to improved performance and better health outcomes.

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About Author
Kristina Perunicic
Kristina Perunicic
Chief Editor

Kristina Perunicic is the Chief Editor at DNA Weekly. She has several years of experience reviewing and writing about genealogy and DNA testing products. In her free time, she likes to read and write for her small book blog.

Kristina Perunicic is the Chief Editor at DNA Weekly. She has several years of experience reviewing and writing about genealogy and DNA testing products. In her free time, she likes to read and write for her small book blog.