LEP Fitness


How Much Do Genetics Factor When Building Muscle?

How Much Do Genetics Factor When Building Muscle? written by sheffield personal trainer nickeh screetoni

Why does it seem that some people just look at a weight and get HUGE, whilst others train everyday and still look like a skinny twig? 

The truth is that some are more blessed than others. Genetics play a roll when it comes to building muscle there’s absolutely no doubt about it, but how much do they play in the grand scheme of things?

This 800 word article endeavours to discuss the importance of genetics, whilst taking into account other factors which can influence how much muscle one is capable of building.

How Much Do Genetics Factor When Building Muscle? 

How Much Do Genetics Factor When Building Muscle

Genetic Potential

Genetic potential, in a nutshell means reaching maximum capability in a specify activity. The aim of any professional athlete or high performer is to reach the highest level possible, perfection.

Humans have genes which are made up of complex chemicals called DNA – a pre set code of information which we inherit (1). There’s a limit to what we are capable of achieving, but what is that limit?

How Do You Know when you’ve reached your genetic potential? 

How do you know when you’ve peaked to the point where progress can no longer be made? The short answer is you don’t in my opinion. Let’s take someone who’s been training for 20 years, throughout their career they’ve improved however the last 2 years they haven’t. Have they reached their genetic potential? possibly, but how the heck do you know. What if they got their strategy wrong?

Lack of Knowledge

“I can’t build muscle no matter what I do!”… but your only eating 2,000 calories per day and your following professional bodybuilding workouts in Flex magazine…of course your not going to grow! Lack of knowledge and failure to apply correct application is usually always the reason for shortcomings (not genetics!).

Genetic Freaks!

How many times have you seen a BIG guy in your gym with awful form blasting out heavy weights and looking like an absolute beast? It’s hard for us to accept that when we copy his strategy we don’t end up with the same results, just an imbalanced physique, ridden with injury! There’s no doubt that some people naturally have bigger, fuller looking muscles which grow easily regardless of what they do. These people are often referred to as ‘genetic freaks!’

Scapegoat for lazy people

“I can’t grow my calfs because my genetics suck!”. Maybe they do but looking at your training program for the last 5 years, you’ve trained your calfs once per week for a measly 4 sets at the end of your leg workout! Compare this to training your upper body 5x per week and why do you think Kate Moss has bigger calfs than you? Blaming genetics without exploring alternative strategies is a cop out! Until you’ve exhausted all other possibilities you should not blame your genetics.


“He’s on the roids, you can’t look like that naturally!”. If I had a pound for eveytime i’ve heard this statement…. i’d be able to buy the Taj Mahal! Yes the fitness industry is rife with steroid abuse – I wrote all about this in a recent post – Controversial Truth About Steroids but again far too many people use this as a cop out to justify failure for lack of results.

Expertise + Hard work = Results 

Nothing beats hard work, when you’ve got the right strategy in place. My advice to those who believe they have poor genetics…Before blaming genetics and throwing in the towel take a look at your current strategy. Analyse your approach, ask yourself pertinent questions like “why’s my strategy not working?”. Hire an expert who knows how to take you to the next level and work your arse off during the process. There’s absolutely no substitute for hard work.

Power to Improve…

Not all of us will be the next Mr Olympia or Mens Health cover model, however we all have the power to improve our current situation. If that mean’s our calf’s only grow a few millimetres per year then so be it. Progress is progress, big or small. Don’t get disheartened if your not getting the results you want I promise you that 9 times out 10 it’s strategy not genetics. I used to blame my genetics but then I woke up and smelt the coffee…

The hardgainers guide to building muscle

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, or comments please leave them below, i’d love to hear from you.