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Muscle Growth

Do Genetics Play A Role In How Much Muscle You Can Build?

By Jeremiah Bair on Mar 21, 2018 11:54:00 PM
4 Minutes Reading Time


Wanna hear something depressing?

Genetics are the BIGGEST DETERMINING FACTOR in how much muscle you can build.

Genetics play a HUGE role in our physical attributes. Elite athletes aren’t just elite because of their hard work and dedication in the gym. They also have elite genetics.

Same for that insanely jacked dude in the gym.

Looking extraordinarily, unnaturally muscular requires one of two things: incredible genetics OR some form of unnatural enhancement.

Social media and bodybuilding magazines also skew our image of what the common man or woman should look like. We forget to consider that we’re looking at the very best lighting and angles, with the athlete pictured usually at a very unmaintainable level of shreddedness.

We beat ourselves up constantly because we don’t look like the social media stars and bodybuilders, even though 99% of the time, THAT’S NOT HOW THEY LOOK EITHER!

If you have great muscle building genetics, you probably already know. You’ll have been naturally more muscular and stronger than most your entire life.

So, if you don’t have great genetics, looking like Arnold is probably out of reach. Most of the top tier bodybuilders are a combination of already elite genetics, combined with a cocktail of drugs to aid muscle building, AND years of consistent training.

BUT, don’t let this kill your motivation. EVERYONE is capable of building a great physique.

Being less genetically-gifted just means you’ll have to focus more on having your training, nutrition, etc. on point.

And while the ceiling for the amount of muscle you can build with poor genetics is a bit lower, everyone can build great looking, muscular physique to be proud of with the right amount of work.

Realizing your muscle building genetics might not be great? Pour all your energy into these three areas:

1. Proper programming: finding a great program and sticking to it is crucial. DON’T constantly switch programs. This is a surefire way to stay mediocre.

I’m obviously a huge fan of the MAPS programs (MAPS BLACK is my fave), There are tons of other solid programs out there. Just look for: Full body, upper/lower, or push/pull/lower variations.

Your program should have you touching on every muscle group at least twice a week.

An emphasis should be put on multi-joint movements.

Some form of periodization or progression is necessary. Periodization is simply a way of organizing your training to ensure long-term progress will be made, while avoiding plateaus. Lots of good forms, of periodization: linear, undulating, block, etc. Just make sure you have a plan.

2. Nutrition: Make sure your eating habits align with your goals.

If you want to cut body fat, you need a calorie deficit. (For more on the best diet for cutting, read my blog: HOW DO I GET ROCK HARD ABS?)

If you’re focusing on building muscle, make sure you’re in a calorie surplus. (To learn the best diet for bulking, read my blog: WHAT’S THE BEST DIET FOR BULKING?)

3. Manage stress: This is an oft neglected area.

Stress comes in lots of forms: not enough sleep, too few calories, working out too hard/too much training volume, mental stress from work, etc.

Despite all these variables seeming somewhat unrelated, they all can be considered different forms of stress. Some stress is necessary for your body to grow. Too much of ANY of these stressors leads to stagnation in the gym.

Manage your different stressors. Get 7+ hours of sleep a night. Follow a well programmed training routine (figure out how much/often you should train with my blog: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GO TO THE GYM?), meditate, eat.

Genetics are extremely important. BUT, do the above CONSISTENTLY, and over time ANYONE can build a great physique.


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Jeremiah Bair

Jeremiah is an ACSM certified Personal Trainer from Nebraska. He also has a Business Management Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Over the last few years of his career as a personal trainer, he has fallen in love with the way fitness allows him to connect with people. Nothing is more rewarding to him than helping others transform into happier, more confident versions of themselves. His goal is to share his knowledge to help as many as possible lead long, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

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