The more I read about the role genetics play in bodybuilding, the more discouraged I get, because mine aren’t the best. Should I cut my losses and move on?
Losses! What losses? With increased strength and self-confidence — not to mention an improved physique — I bet you can count many more gains than losses from bodybuilding.
You are correct, though, that bodybuilding success is partly determined by one’s innate physical makeup. This explains why, on a percentage basis, so few Little League players go all the way to the Major Leagues. It also helps to explain why, out of the thousands of men and women who take up bodybuilding every year, only a few become professionals and, of them, only 10 have become Mr. Olympia.
I have seen the role genetics play in the physical development of my children, Olympia and Josh. At 14, Olympia was already almost as tall as I was, with wide shoulders, narrow hips and strong arms and legs. Volleyball is her sport of choice, and was considered one of the top players in her age group. At seventeen, Josh was just about as big and strong as his old man and received a full football scholarship to Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina as a quarterback.
My kids work hard at everything they do, including athletics. But I can’t deny that their success in sports is not solely the result of a strong work ethic. They both have a natural aptitude for what they do, and it’s probably no coincidence that their dad happened to win bodybuilding’s top title eight times.
This is not to say that you should call it quits if your genetic lot isn’t quite top tier. It simply means you have to find the best way to maximize your own potential. Discipline, knowledge and diligence are the keys to getting you there. I truly believe that these factors can play a bigger role in your success than a good set of genes.
Had Olympia and Josh taken the lazy route and watched TV while their teammates were practicing, they would never have gotten to where they are today, regardless of their innate physical abilities. Yet, even if they had not been quite so blessed physically but retained their work ethic, I’d bet they would still have reached a high level of success.
Rather than look at any hereditary shortcomings as barriers to your success as a bodybuilder, try to view them as obstacles you must overcome. By making this simple attitude adjustment, I guarantee that your ultimate success will taste that much sweeter. - FLEX