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Genetics and Fitness - How much does Genetics really affect your Fitness?

Chris Mennens

Posted on March 12 2018

Genetics rule pretty much everything we turn out to be, is that right? Short answer, not necessarily. The field of genetics is very broad, and recently there have been many scientific findings suggesting that, while our genes create the building blocks of what we are, our environment and choices have much to do with the final product. So, if your parents are overweight, and so your grandparents, does it mean you can’t break the rule? You definitely can, and here’s why.

There’s a novel field in genetics called epigenetics. Complex terms made simple, it studies how genes can be altered and changed by the environment around us and our personal choices. What’s more, according to epigenetics, it is possible to pass down a healthier version of us to our children. Contamination or fresh air, junk food or healthy food, exercise or sedentary behaviour, all these variants can contribute to activate genes and deactivate others. So, the question would be which type of genes do you want to activate? 


However, we can’t miss the fact that some people gain weight easier, others seem to respond impressively to a simple gym routine. And all of us seem to be born with different measures of stamina, agility and other parameters. It is true that epigenetics may activate dormant genes on the long term, but meanwhile we may start feeling stuck with routines and diets.

Professional trainers and dietitians take into consideration your genetic predisposition to write down your routine and diet plan. For this reason, there’s a different approach to fitness according to each body type. For example, ectomorphs usually have a hard time gaining weight and building muscle, so their workouts should be shorter and very intense. Mesomorphs respond really fast to weight lifting but have a tendency to gain fat easily, which is the reason why they should always include cardio routines in their training. Endomorphs gain weight very easily and should work hard on their diet and cardio.


Our body type is only one of the genetic features that strongly influence fitness parameters and workout results. Hormonal profile might be also dictated by our genes. Testosterone is important to build muscle mass in males, and thyroid hormones dictate how fast our metabolism works.

Our genes are the basic foundation of what we are, but do not necessarily tell what we ought to be. They may ease our way to get a ripped body, or might be interfering with our attempts to burn fat. Either way, we shouldn’t feel enclosed for our genetic predisposition. There’s a diet and workout variant for each of us, depending on our goals, physical condition and parameters. In the end, epigenetics may turn to our favour, and if we make the right choices for us, healthier genes will be activated for our children as well. There’s no doubt how much it pays out to live a healthy lifestyle.



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