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How Genetics Affect Fat & Weight Loss

stephanieadby David Sautter, NASM CPT

The search for answers about muscle building and fat loss can sometimes lead to articles or forums that point out one of the most influential factors for results: your genetics. Research appears to confirm that regardless of how hard you work, you will never overcome your genes. Will power is one element that scientists fail to taken into consideration. By changing your workout variables to fit your genes and by harnessing the power of your mind, you can achieve your fitness goals.



A simple yes or no response cannot be given to the question of whether genetics is the sole defining factor for what type of physique you have. Recent studies show a wide range of results.

A landmark study by Hubal used 585 male and female human subjects and showed that twelve weeks of progressive dynamic exercise resulted in a shockingly wide range of responses. The worst responders lost 2% of their muscle cross-sectional area and didn't gain any strength whatsoever. The best responders increased muscle cross-sectional area by 59% and increased their 1RM strength by 250%.” (“The Truth About Bodybuilding Genetics” 2011, para. 3)

A variety of factors must be taken into consideration; however, in general, it can be said that genetics do have a central role in determining what your body should look like. At the very least, what it should begin to look like. As Rivera points out,

Genetics will determine how quickly results will be achieved from a training program and how far the body will be taken when pushed to the extreme. However, there is an even more important factor and that is the mindset.” (“How Much of a Factor Do Genetics Play In Bodybuilding and Other Sports?” N.D., para. 1)



The big problem with many of these modern studies is that all of the subjects performed the exact same training program. What’s more, in some studies, nutrition was not monitored. 70% of the results you see come from nutrition!

Most importantly, no study measured the attitude and mindset factor. The human body is a wondrous thing but one program will not for every single body. Arnold Schwarzenegger can give you his workout routines but that doesn’t mean they will work for you.



Pay no mind to the studies. Here are a few great ways to overcome your genetic fate.

1.) The Workout

You need a well-researched and well-tested workout program. You may have to dedicate yourself to several programs before you find the one that works with your body but you will find it. Be sure you measure every detail during your workouts. This is how you will see if your body is reacting in a positive way. Watch for gains in the mirror and on paper.

2.) The Nutrition

Nutrition is 70% of the results that you see. Building muscle and losing fat requires you to curtail your eating habits to align with that goal. Your meal planner should be just as detailed, if not more so, as your workout plan.

3.) The Mindset

The most important factor is your attitude and your belief system. You need to believe that you’re able to achieve this goal. If you don’t believe it then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Find a workout partner with the same goals. Get mad, get motivated, and get in the gym. Nothing is impossible as long as you believe in it.



1.) Contreras, Bret. “The Truth About Bodybuilding Genetics” (2011). Web

2.) Rivera, Hugo. “How Much of a Factor Do Genetics Play In Bodybuilding and Other Sports?” (N.D.). Web.