NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We all inherit traits from our parents — some we even wish we didn’t have.

When it comes to fitness, some people can run a mile with ease and drop weight without trouble, while others fight to keep the pounds off.

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Even though we’re stuck with the genes we have, experts say there is a way to manipulate our DNA to make it work harder for us, CBS2′ Emily Smith reported.

“Maybe you didn’t have the best genes, maybe your parents aren’t in super good shape,” Jen Ator, fitness director for Women’s Health Magazine, said. “But you can really make a change in your adult life for the better against whatever your genetic makeup is.”

According to Ator, genetic code makes up 50 percent of the equation, but your attitude towards nutrition and fitness carries equal weight.

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“Researchers have looked at twins that, once they’re in their adult homes, on their own — that actually, the genetic piece of it doesn’t make any impact,” Ator said. “It’s how they eat, how they exercise that determines their body fat percentage.”

How our bodies respond to exercise is party preordained, thanks to a genetic compound called “acquired fitness,” or how predisposed we are to gaining strength and toning up.

According to Women’s Health Magazine experts, overcoming your genetic predispositions starts with clean eating and regular full-body workouts.

You can figure out what your body reacts to by putting a regimen to the test for two weeks. If your body hasn’t responded, you can blame your genes — but don’t give up. Instead, try these tactics:

  1. Focus more on full-body regimens. Hit large muscle groups and include cardio and strength training in your regular routine.
  2. Pick up heavier weights. If you’re not seeing results from your traditional regimen, increase the weight, reps or resistance to challenge the body to work harder for results.
  3. Increase intensity. Ramp up your workouts from barely able to talk, to breathless.
  4. Watch what you eat. Adding turmeric and omega-3s to your diet helps fight inflammation that could be impacting your appearance.

In the end, optimal fitness requires the right genes, the right environment, and some grit.

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