Episode 88 |

Genetic Knowledge is Power with Kurt Johnsen

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This Week’s Guest:

The role of genetics in health is absolutely fascinating, but can also seem overwhelmingly complex. On the show today we have Kurt Johnsen, the vision keeper and co-founder of Simplified Genetics, to break down some of those barriers of complexity and explain how our individual genes affect how our bodies react to things like diet, exercise, and even concussions.


Kurt is passionate about positively impacting the lives of people around the world. In fact, as you’ll hear in this episode, one of his strongest motivations is to do good and give back. In addition to his work at Simplified Genetics, Kurt is the senior columnist for Yoga Digest and the official yoga trainer of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.


Find Out More About Kurt Here:

Kurt Johnsen on LinkedIn
Kurt Johnsen on Facebook
@kurtjohnsen on Twitter
Simplified Genetics


In This Episode:

  • [01:23] – Kurt talks a bit about himself and explains how he got involved in genetics. He then goes into depth about the kind of testing his company does and explain why it’s valuable compared to tests by other companies.
  • [05:40] – Kurt goes into the dieting side of things, explaining that his tests reveals fat and glucose sensitivity.
  • [07:43] – Is a vegan diet healthy for some people based on their genes?
  • [08:58] – Stephen talks about a diet he’s recently heard about that involves simply tracking your macros without paying attention to the quality of the food. Kurt responds by saying he believes we need to eat things that get energy from the sun.
  • [11:06] – Kurt talks about the impact that his testing has had, revealing that lots of people have lost 70-100 pounds after their testing. He then goes into more depth about eating and exercise.
  • [13:54] – Stephan asks about calorie counting, then talks about a fitness tracker called Healbe GoBe Health Tracker.
  • [15:10] – We learn why Kurt is against calorie counting, what he recommends instead, and what he believes is the reason that we’re suffering from overeating (which has to do with the fact that just one or two hundred years ago, this abundance of food would have been unimaginable).
  • [19:30] – Does Kurt think there’s any validity to eating for your blood type?
  • [20:58] – For listeners unfamiliar with the term, Kurt explains what Ayurvedic medicine is. He and Stephan then briefly talk about mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph body types.
  • [22:36] – Kurt talks about exercise, adrenergic receptors and positions, and the fact that your body can’t tell what kind of exercise you’re doing. He then explains that there are 162 possible variations on the genetic report (based on four genes adding up to 81 combinations multiplied by two to account for gender).
  • [27:19] – Kurt offers the example of his wife, a yoga teacher who had struggled with her body competition. He explains why his wife’s body reacted very differently than her sister’s to the same exercises.
  • [29:28] – We hear more about how different genetic types can respond differently to certain kinds of exercise, and that it’s not as simple as “calories in, calories out.”
  • [30:50] – How does the concept of fast twitch muscles versus slow twitch muscles fit into this equation?
  • [32:23] – Stephen offers his specific report as an example. He’s a 70-30, meaning he should do 70% low intensity and 30% high intensity exercise. What would happen if he’s exercising in different proportions?
  • [35:29] – Kurt talks about the PPARG, which his wife compares to an old friend who holds a grudge when you ignore them for a while.
  • [37:46] – Stephan and Kurt discuss their relative body fat percentages. Kurt reveals how much of his body fat percentage he has dropped.
  • [40:48] – Kurt returns to the topic of his wife’s weight struggles and reveals how much exercising for her genetic type has helped her with this. He then contrasts this to the proportions of exercise needed by people with the genetic type that he and Stephan share. Next, he talks about why high-intensity exercise often seems to stop working for women after a month or two.
  • [43:43] – Stephan brings up the bioDensity machine, invented by John Jaquish. Kurt is unfamiliar with it, so Stephan expands on it, explaining that Tony Robbins is a fan. Stephan then explains why the machine is so expensive.
  • [46:37] – Developing density with intensity makes sense, Kurt says, and weight training is important.
  • [48:38] – We move from Simply Fit to Kurt’s other product, Simply Safe. Kurt explains that Simply Safe looks at the infamous APOE gene. This gene is responsible for “the response to brain insults” such as concussions or heat stroke. He goes into depth about how this gene impacts susceptibility to concussions, and explains that it’s also linked to Alzheimer’s.
  • [52:44] – Kurt explains the different sports that he would have encouraged his son to get involved in based on his APOE type. He then describes his work with pro hockey players, and reveals why they’ve had to shelf Simply Safe for now.
  • [55:05] – Kurt talks about a study by Dr. Daniel Amen as it relates to the APOE gene in different populations.
  • [57:17] – Stephan doesn’t believe that the FDA has the consumer’s best interest at heart, and explains how this relates to 23andMe. Kurt agrees, stating that it’s our right to have this information that is basically the body’s instruction manual.
  • [59:40] – Kurt doesn’t have a solution, but he explains some rights that he believes people have when it comes to genetics. He then expands on this to talk about a societal victim mentality and the importance of taking control of your life.
  • [63:01] – Stephan runs through a few points for listeners. He then reveals how listeners can get 10% off the Simply Fit test.


Links and Resources:

Kurt Johnsen on LinkedIn
Kurt Johnsen on Facebook
@kurtjohnsen on Twitter
Simplified Genetics
Yoga Digest
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders
Simply Fit
American Power Yoga
Healbe Gobe Health Tracker
Adrenergic receptors
Atkins diet
Ayurvedic medicine
Mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph body types
Fast twitch muscles versus slow twitch muscles
The bioDensity machine
John Jaquish on the Optimized Geek
Tony Robbins
Dr. Daniel Amen on the Optimized Geek
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Dr. Daniel Amen
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner



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