Friday, August 6, 2010

So, what kind of genetics am I on?

Long-term readers of the Bodyweight Files can probably count the number of times I've brought up genetics with one hand amputated. There's a very good reason for that: I hate talking about genetics in relation to strength training and fitness in general. The discussion about genetics long-ago degenerated into a mind-numbing routine of one excuse after another as to why people can get to the goals that they want. Genetics work great for this because the way people are taught, they are biological fate. You've got no choice, so you have no blame either.

As of the first draft of this entry, I'm sitting in front of my laptop at work, bored out of my mind, letting my mind run in any direction it wishes (trying to keep the idea of being on Facebook endlessly out of my mind) and I started to wonder if anyone who reads has ever been dismissive of things that I've done because of genetics. Family members often do that to me. Some of them pretty recently. So, I started doing some introspection and thought to myself, "what genetics am I on that make me awesome?" Also, were there other genetics that hold me back? After all, genetics are great excuses too, as we've discussed. So, this is a short list of what I came up with:

Being Strong

Justin: "That's nothing. I've picked up and carried five boards before."
Jen: "You're full of SHIT! YOU CAN'T PICK UP THAT MANY! I Dare you to pick up five boards right now!"
Justin: "okay..."
This one was pretty obvious to me. My dad was in his day (and still is, to the extent that age allows all of us to be...) a sick-strong man. My grandfather was the same way. Two weeks before my 88 year old, great-grandfather died he was pulling tree stumps out of a load of top soil! While I'm not as bulky as my dad is, I'm definitely got some strength genes that I get a lot of mileage out of. Whenever I spar with anyone in BJJ class, my strength is the first thing that they comment on after we finish. My 230 lbs friend told me that I'm as strong as anyone his size that he's ever spared with. So, maybe I'm strong because I work out. Or, maybe I've got that magical gene that turns off my WHATEVER-statin

The Crematorium aka My Metabolism
No, really, if my metabolism was some sort of piece of machinery, it would most resemble...
So, that works both as a good thing and a bad thing. Taking advice from me is also a Catch-22. If you are looking to me to take advice on how to build muscle, then I'm the guy to listen to. very. VERY. CLOSELY! On the other hand, if you're looking to me for weight loss tips, then I'd say switch your parents with my parents because I doubt that there are few other genetic-stacks that guarantee weight loss like ones that I'm on! I've literally consumed 4000 calorie, or more, a day for weeks on end and just barely maintained weight! So, if it wasn't for my training and my diet, I might still look like...
I guarantee you that I'd be the strongest 140 lbs guy you'd ever meet in a BJJ class!

Let's get real though. The whole notion of genetics being biological fate is really just weak-minded bullshit. The reality is that genetics are a blueprint for how to build your body and an instructional manual how it should work. Like any other blueprint or manual, it's dependant on execution. How your body is built or how it operates is the complex interaction between genes, environment, and lifestyle choices. A gene could be present but not activated for no other reason than a decision that you made. So, you can get out of my, and everyone elses, face about your genes holding you back. The fact is you do have a choice on how you're built and how you operate.

So, if it doesn't work right, you also share in the blame and you're responsible for the fix. There's too many discussions about genetics in relation to training. Strength training is about taking control, not about ceding it to powers beyond your reach. Least of all, it's not about making excuses to suit inaction. Get moving and make the most of what you have and can we forget about the genetics?

What I am really on..

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