The painful truth about genetics and its role in bodybuilding
Genetics. That one painful or amazing word, depending on who you are. If you have good genetics, the world favors you. Things come easy to you in certain areas. Ever meet that person who never studies for a test but still gets A’s? Yeah, that’s genetics.
If you have bad genetics (or just mediocre genetics), you hate these people. Well, hate them may be too strong. You despise their gifted ability that comes so naturally to them. Better? But they don’t understand the amount of extra work “normal” people have to do in order to reach that elite level, whether it be in sports, strength, or intelligence.
This idea of genetics transcends all areas of your life, from athletics and those gifted few who make it to the professional level, academics and those who we mentioned above just have the “it” factor for school, or any other area of society where people can just naturally succeed.
Bodybuilding & Genetics
In bodybuilding people often ask the question, “Do genetics really play such a large role in success?” The painful truth is yes, yes it does. Now let’s be clear, good genetics doesn’t mean you will magically become Arnold Schwarzenegger with no work. Good genes don’t make you a champion. They simply effect how quickly results will be achieved. It effects how your body responds to the amount of work you put in. It allows you an automatic edge up on the competition that you can take full advantage of if you so please.
To put it simply, if you put in the same exact amount of work as someone with amazing genes, that person will see far better results than you. Facts are facts. If you have a faster metabolism, you will keep lean muscle far easier. If you have super-efficient satellite cells surrounding your muscle fibers, muscle growth will be achieved at a much faster rate.
For people with bad genes, this can be very frustrating. But the real problem is not a lack of genetics, but rather the question that we ask. There is nothing we can do about genetics because it is something we are born with and have to live with. What we can change is our mindset. The question shouldn’t be, “Are genetics important?”, but instead, “How do I maximize my own potential?”
It’s easy to get discouraged when you see a person with good genes earn great results twice as fast as you can, but you should avoid comparing yourself to those people. Instead of becoming discouraged you should become inspired. Let the heroes, the greats, and the champions inspire you to work harder. Avoid the phrase, “You can only be an Olympia champion if you hit the genetic jackpot.” In the end, it’s not a mistake to work hard and fail, it’s only a mistake if you don’t try to begin with.
And even still, while these Olympia champs may have started with good genetics, it took time and time again to see gains. Years in the gym, years of rehab, years of recovery from injury, and years of learning the right mindset to develop a killer routine. Genetics are often times used as a crutch for those who don’t have good genes. “Oh, so and so has better genetics so they beat me.” Wrong. “So and so” developed a better routine and was willing to put in work. Now they’re an Olympia champ.
Are you a hard gainer? Do you have trouble losing that extra fat? This will not be the death of you. You will have to work harder. You will have to experiment with your training. You will see results. As long as you are consistent with your training this will always remain true. It might be true that some athletes have a much easier time perfecting their physique, but if you think smart, keep a positive mindset, and push harder every day you will see results.
How To Overcome The “Genetic” Problem & See Gains
In order to overcome this so-called “genetic” problem, what it takes is putting the right plan in place so you don’t need the excuse. Focusing on training and a plan that actual builds and maintains muscle is paramount to your success, and while it can be hard some days to really feel the want to workout, this is what separates the weak from the strong, the winners from the losers, and the champs versus everyone else. A solid plan may be hard to find but it is absolutely possible and looking to professional bodybuilders and their workouts is a quick way to see gains for you know exactly what you are getting. Plus, they are living proof of what these workouts can do.
Of course, gains happen also in the kitchen and a well-balanced diet of those macronutrients and whole foods is equally as important as your training routine for it will keep you powered and fueled in an efficient way for the best possible gains. Lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats will work wonders for you, no matter what your genetics may be.
On top of a healthy diet, supplementation can be a game changer and things like protein powders will enhance growth and recovery, pre-workouts will boost energy and provide for muscle pumps, and a fat burner can suppress your appetite, burn more calories, and help shed that unwanted fat. So, if you are someone constantly complaining about genetics, supplements are your ticket to get there if you use them in a responsible and appropriate way.
You hear the idea of bodybuilding and genetics all of the time. People say someone is bigger because of genetics, or worse, they point to the role of PEDs, but regardless, what another athletes does or has is out of your control. You need to focus on you and with the right training, diet, and supplementation, you can keep up, it might just a little extra work.