Simplified Genetics: Giving people the key to their personal path to fitness

When I went to college, there were all these fit people around me with abs and muscles and lean bodies. It made me start to feel self conscious about myself, so I decided to do something about it. I worked out nearly 6 days a week, ate a really strict diet, and followed everything I saw in the magazines or read on forums. And it nearly killed me. I was overtraining, exhausted, and became horribly depressed and isolated because of it. Now I tell you this, because I learned the hard way that everyone is different when it comes to getting in shape and being healthy. Metabolism, recovery time, and so many other things are not calculated into the many one-size-fits-all routines and diets that are blazoned in every fitness magazine or book we come across. This is where Simplified Genetics steps in, turning concrete, established scientific research into information that empowers people and helps them find their optimum path to health and fitness.

When talking to Kurt Johnson, the co-founder and self-described vision keeper of Simplified Genetics, two things quickly became clear: 1) this man certainly knows his way around running, but more importantly, creating a strong business (he started his first business at 12 and had other kids working for him!) and 2) his life has been filled with the pursuit of health for both the body and the mind. He studied Tibetan Kung Fu along with other martial art forms, created his own form of yoga (which many yogis in Dallas trained in), but along his journey, he kept encountering people that struggled to found their own path to wellness without being deterred by failure to see results, despite them doing everything right.

That’s where Simplified Genetics’ Simply Fit comes in. With a swab of the mouth and some DNA genotyping, Kurt’s company can inform a person what their optimal approach to getting in shape is. The test determines what genetic variations a person has in genes that regulate the response to energy intake and exercise. Using genes whose effects have been extensively studied by the scientific community, Simplified Genetics then turns this genetic information into different, personalized guidelines one should follow to see the best results. Would it be better for me to jog for a few miles every day, or should I do high intensity training? And how sensitive am I to gaining and storing fat based on what I eat? This is the knowledge that Simplified Genetics bestows upon people, which is a much more powerful, direct route to good health than the yo-yo dieting or the crash and burn of a cookie-cutter routine.  

Simplified Genetics doesn’t just tackle the question of a personal path to fitness; there is also a preventative service it provides. Simply Safe is a new test looking at which copy of a gene (ApoE) a person has. This gene dictates the buildup of cholesterol (which in the brain is commonly referred to as plaques) that a person will experience if or when they have experience a concussion. With the current focus on repeated concussions/micro-concussions in contact sports and the long term damage they can do to the brain, the ability to gauge a person’s risk for long term complications will be an immensely powerful tool for athletic programs (and parents).

A major goal for Kurt and his team as they continue to grow and expand Simplified Genetics is increasing the accessibility of the information they provide. By joining forces with both personal/sports trainers and employee health programs, which they’ve already begun doing, they hope to increase the awareness of personalized fitness and begin to change the mentality of the one-size-fits-all health approaches that currently dominate the market.

If you’d like to learn more about Simplified Genetics, you can visit their website here (with a nice FAQ section). Currently, it is $499 for the Simply Fit test and $299 for Simply Safe. In the near future, Simplified Genetics will offer different packages, such as Simply Fit Essential which will be priced around $249. If you really find this company and what they’re doing interesting, there is also an ambassador program which you can contact Shanell Mergerson for more information about.

Jared Hooks
JaredHooks@gmail.com

Hello! I'm currently a PhD candidate in cancer biology at UTSW. My interest for the Dallas scene first came about from volunteering with Health Wildcatters and their breakfast series. It also helps that I had a chance to spend some time in D.C. for an internship. The lessons I learned from there, networking and the importance of policy, are crucial for an entrepreneur to master in order to be successful.