Hard Work versus Genetics. bull$h1t?

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VoK
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Hard Work versus Genetics. bull$h1t?

Post by VoK » Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:11 pm

Before you go apenuts on me, read this:
http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20 ... etics.html

Without rosying anything up or trying to bull$h1t you or convince you that I'm right, I'll lay it on the line right now. Your physique and ability to power lift is determined more through genetics than through hard work.

I must add to that statement, however. It doesn't mean that you can be a couch potato and become Mr. America. It doesn't mean that one person who has good genetics can half-ass it and be better than those who don't have as good genetics, but work harder. What it means is that if you compare two people who work just as hard as each other, yet one person has superior genetics, the one who's genetics are better will come out on top. It also means that you can do as many weighted crunches or abdominal exercises as you want, but you may never get that six pack.

The elite bodybuilders of present and past all had ridiculously good genetics. Look at Jack Lalanne who is pushing 90 yet still lifting regularly. It's a tribute to his genetics, not his hard work, that gives him this ability.

This isn't discouragement to any of you from working out and building your physique. Your true potential can only be brought out by work ethic. However, you just have to know that there are people in the world who are genetically inclined to look better and be stronger.

Discuss.

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Post by TimD » Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:30 pm

I don't see anything out of whack with what you said, other than the tribute to Jack LaLanne statement. It's a tribute to both his genetics AND his hard work. I believe, and have belieed for a long time, that each and every person is born with a genetic blueprint so to speak. Doesn't mean you're going to reach the ultimate end, it just means that you have the POTENTIAL to reach it, whatever that may be.
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Post by Keith Rowland » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:30 pm

I don't know about power lifting, but genetics definitely rule in bodybuilding. Take Bob Paris or Frank Zayne or Arnold S., for example: they looked far better than any of the freakish bullfrog mutations you see on the pro circuit these days, drugs or no drugs. The words aesthetic, semetry, and proportion need not apply today. At age 56.5 and 6 feet of height, I look better than the most persistent lifters at our gym. I rarely tip the scales past 200 and stay pretty lean. Then, I look at old photos of my father at the beach and understand why: genetics and German engineering. Dave Draper has eight years on me, so I have that much time to keep improving upon what God gave me.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:41 pm

Most people don't work out with the intent of becoming bodybuilding champions. Indeed, interest in bodybuilding is waning while participation in weight training has been rising. You'll never see me on the cover of a muscle magazine. But when I attended my 35th high school anniversary party last spring, I got numerous compliments from my former classmates for being in good shape.

Anyone who's ever been in a gym knows that some people are better at weightlifting than others. But, so what? The same is true on the basketball court, in the classroom or on the job. The challenge of life is to make the most of what you've got, rather than fret about not being as good as some other guy.

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Post by Ironman » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:49 am

I don't buy it and the article doesn't support the point either. Diet and exercise have every bit as much to do with it as genetics. People always wuss out in the gym (IE mostly machines and isolation with crazy light weight, or do all bodyweight stuff), then blame it on genetics. Genetics might make one person put on muscle a little slower, but the lack of muscle stimulation is what keeps them from growing at all. Same thing with fat loss I have to work real hard to lose fat, and be very strict. So I do that and take the slow results I get. I don't just munch on fat free cookies all day and bitch about genetics like I see a lot of other people doing. My muscle building genetics are decent, but they sure aren't top of the line. So I train hard, instead of standing around whining that they aren't nearly as good as Ronnie Coleman's.

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Post by hoosegow » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:37 am

I have to agree with VoK. I'm going to look like my Dad. He was an NFL defensive end. At 6'4" and 290 in 1964, he was a mountain. A mountain that could run the 100 yard dash in 11 seconds and a mile under 6:30. I met a guy he played with in college two weekends ago. He swore I was my Dad. Though I don't have his talent or his size, I am built just like him. Soulderless with a huge ass and legs with a belly I have had with me since I was a baby.

I also agree with Ironman. Genetics is your potential. You can only live up to your potential with hard work and diet. For example, a high IQ doesn't mean you are going to be a doctor. You can't sit on you ass and someone is going to give it to you.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:35 am

Genetics and hard work are both important. So is training smart. Personally, I'd rather focus on the variables I actually have some control over.

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Post by Ironman » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:26 pm

Yea, I look just like my Dad too. Except I am much more muscular. My Dad would be the same if he did the training I did. It's not all genetics, even the article says training makes a big difference. I agree with the article, I just disagree with Vok's conclusion.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:21 pm

I think at the highest levels of athletic competition pretty much everyone has good genetics, so genetics are rarely the deciding factor. This applys to everything from bodybuilding and powerlifting to swimming, running, bicycling.

Also, someone who's genetically well suited to endurance sports wouldn't also be a natural strength athelete. That's just not the way it works. This doesn't mean that one person can't be a good all-around athalete, only that one person can't be the best at everything.

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Post by FanOfJack » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:13 pm

Hey Guys,
VoK said
The elite bodybuilders of present and past all had ridiculously good genetics. Look at Jack Lalanne who is pushing 90 yet still lifting regularly. It's a tribute to his genetics, not his hard work, that gives him this ability

The problem with this statement is that I don't think Jack would agree.
Jack is out to make what he considers a scientific statement about exercise and diet.

Obviously genetics plays a part in competitions to some degree, but was Jack worried aobut genetics when he was working young men to the point of exhaustion in some of his scientific experiments in shaping the bodies of young men?

And have you guys ever seen a picture of Charles Atlas as a young man?
He really was the 90 pound weakling.
Lalanne himself was very unhealthy as a young man by his own admission.

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Post by Ryan A » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:39 pm

It doesnt really matter if Jack agrees.

If I say I weigh 150 and step on the scale and weigh 230, does that mean I weigh 150? No.

You would have to ask Jack if he was worried.

He could have been a 90 lb. weakling with the genetic tendency to be a champion, so when he got on a decent program he became great.

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Post by FanOfJack » Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:31 pm

Here is the conclusion of the article VoK cites.

The impact of genetics in exercise appears to have multiple influences. Its positive effect on exercise performance must be combined with effective training programs and favorable lifestyle habits for optimal success. Although this review shows the many interactions genetics does play on exercise, it also highlights how training and lifestyle can significantly affect exercise training and performance. As health and fitness practitioners, it is good to appreciate the interrelation that genetics plays in our profession. However, the best message we can share with our clients and students is that regardless of hereditary, regular participation in aerobics and resistance training will lead to remarkable improvements and enhancement of quality of life.


I am going to take lifestyle to refer to diet for the sake of this discussion.
Lalanne wanted to prove that the right diet enabled him to push his body to herculean feats of strength. Now, if I eat a raw turnip for breakfast every morning for the next ten years, will I then be able to bite down on a rope and pull a tugboat across the Atlantic? Will I be able to do anything even close to what Lalanne accomplished? How about never? But if I combine the almost fanatical devotion to shunning red meat, chicken, pork, dairy, bleached flour and refined sugar, and eat whole grains, avoid canned foods, drink only wine and only with meals, and eat as many "live" versus canned and processed foods and keep my circulatory system clean the way Jack has tried to tell us we should, can I then exercise when I am 92 every morning and not have to suck down a bottle of Viagra before I say hello to my wife?

I don't know about you guys, but I sure hope so.

But here is something I do know. Jack is not looking at hip replacement surgery or viagra or steroids or some medicine to keep the Alzheimers under control merely because of genetics or even training, but his combination of training and diet together helped him beat The Governator in one of these Muscle Beach challenges where a man 35 years Arnold's senior beat him in a push up contest.

And I wish somebody would help me find a reference to that contest, because I can't find it again after having read it the first time.

So, I accept VoK's article and here is my take on the meaning of the conclusion.

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Post by Ryan A » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:09 am

Well certainly the right diet played a part in his superhuman feats and like you said it might just not be in the cards for you to be superhuman even if you do everything else he did. Likewise, with fanatical devotion to diet, you may not live to be 90; that is genetics at work.

You can imagine this as an empty cup: genetics determines the size and environment fills it up.

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