Nature or Nurture?
That has been a debate that comes into play in just about every aspect of human behavior or ability — how strong, how smart, how fast we are, or can be? Are we a product of our environment or genes? Or both?
Weightlifters, body builders and fitness pros, are no strangers to this debate.
Anyone can build muscle and reduce fat by lifting weights — that is a biological fact. So, if the question, is will your genes determine if you will get stronger or bigger by weight lifting – the answer is no.
It does not matter what your genetic proclivities are, you will improve your physique and your health by weight lifting. However, ultimately, how big, or how strong you will get is determined by genetics.
This is why you can take any two people, with the possible exception of identical twins, put them side by side in the gym, give them exactly the same routines for the same amount of weeks – and they will undoubtedly build muscle and burn fat at different rates. We all know that person, whether they are weightlifters or not – that just seems to be able to eat whatever he or she wants, and stay lean and muscular. They just never seem to put on weight. While there are others, probably most of us actually, that “just look at food” and you put on fat.
This is truly a genetic factor. There are people known as mesomorphs that just have a genetic predisposition towards high metabolic rates – they burn fat easily and build lean muscle easily – so yes such people could be considered “natural bodybuilders”.
Genetics and Weight Training
So what does all this mean as far as weight training goes? Not much really. If you are getting into weight lifting for good health, increased strength and stamina – it doesn’t matter if you are a man, a woman, 8 or eighty. No matter what your genetic make-up is, you will benefit from weight lifting and building muscle mass to your maximum potential, given your genes and your lifestyle.
If on the other hand you dream of being a professional bodybuilder or weightlifter, then you must consider more closely the hand your genes may have dealt you. Someone who is 5 foot 1 could be very athletic and could become very good at basketball – but it is very unlikely he will ever be able to play starting Center for the Lakers. It is just as unlikely a person with a smaller genetic frame can become a champion bodybuilder. The nature of bodybuilding competitions and what judges usually look for give a major advantage to bigger taller men and women. And the aforementioned “mesomorphic” types will have a much easier time in training and getting down to the 2-3% body fat champion bodybuilders wish to be at.
So, the bottom line, is don’t give much thought as to what lies in your genetic makeup. Train hard; push yourself to your limits every day, follow a good regimen of weight lifting at least 3- 4 days a week, eat right, get plenty of rest, do cardio as well.
Do that regularly, then look in the mirror in a year or two – and I’m sure you will be very pleased at who is staring back. Certainly you will probably feel better and look better in your “jeans” with a “J” then most people around you – no matter what’s in your “genes” with a “G!”