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Genetics and Your Fitness Goals: Why You'll Never Reach Them

April 24, 2019

Image: Pond5 Good ol' genetics. The hardwired DNA passed along to you by your parents that helps determine who you are both physically and mentally. It's these hardwired genetic traits that allowed your ancestors to survive the harsh conditions of premodern civilization. Some civilizations in the far north or south needed to be able to store fat easily to survive long winters, some didn't. Whatever the selective reasons, you are who you are today largely because of your genetics and the physical traits they carry. You're stuck with them, your hand has been played for you.

The Big Genetics Excuse

When it comes to sports and fitness, genetics can be your best friend or worst enemy. Some people seem to effortlessly build muscle and stay slim year round, while others struggle to lose body fat or add a few pounds of muscle no matter how hard they try. But here's the thing, forget genetics. Genetics are so commonly used as an excuse for poor health, or the inability to gain muscle, lose fat, etc. Just ask any personal trainer how many times they've heard a new or prospective client say, "I just can't gain muscle because of my genetics" or " I can lose weight, I'm genetically predisposed to being big" or whatever it may be and watch that trainer roll their eyes. Yes, people do have real conditions that can severely limit how fast, and how effective changes can be made to their strength and physique. However, there's a good chance if you're reading this article that you are not one of those people. So like I said… FORGET GENETICS. The body adapts and the body does what you repeatedly ask of it. You have the ability to change your physique, your strength levels, your athleticism, your hand eye coordination… whatever your fitness goal may be. No more using genetics as an excuse.

Setting Real Expectations - "Nature vs Nurture"

Nature vs nurture is the common debate concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behavior are inherited or acquired. In terms of fitness and sports performance they both play a role. We all have actual genetic limitations that prevent us from certain milestones and abilities. For example, if you have relatively shorter legs and an abundance of slow twitch muscle fibers, even the best training and coaches couldn't make you a gold medalist sprinter. Just being realistic. That being said, there's no reason you can't reach your highest level of physical potential! You just have to "nurture" yourself; push yourself to the limit of success. So when setting your fitness and physique goals, make them slightly higher than what you think is possible for you, yet attainable.

Going For Gold - Consistency Is Key

So now that you've set your goals and are ready to start, you need a plan of attack. Pick a training method, a nutrition plan and a timeline and stick to it. Whether your goal is lose weight, build muscle or add 30 pounds to your squat, the biggest reason people don't reach their goals is because they lack consistency with their training. Certain genetic limitations will make certain goals harder for some people, but a lack of consistency will make most physical goals impossible for everyone. Your body requires repetitive stresses in order to adapt. For example, if you want to be able to lift a certain amount of weight, you need to progressively ask your body to lift more and more weight until you reach your goal number. If you want to lose body fat, you must consistently eat and train in a way that requires your body to burn more fat on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Results will come easier for some and harder for other based on their genetics. However this doesn't mean that genetic dispositions completely hold you back. So if you ever feel like your genetics are holding you back from your fitness goals, just remember… nobody puts Baby in a corner. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmILPAcRQo


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