How Your Genes Can Affect Your Health

How Your Genes Can Affect Your Health

by Coachjon

People come in all shapes and sizes. And there can be huge differences in how tall or big we can grow to. At a seminar on sports performance training in Halmstadt, Sweden, I met a fellow coach who was a former American Football player. He was extremely strong, and even his head, nose and fingers were huge! He was literally a walking refrigerator.

I may love training and exercise, but even if I took illegal anabolic steroids, there would be no way I could become his size.

So what is my point?

My point is that we are very different genetically.

I am often asked why we don’t count calories when we teach nutrition, or why we each need to eat a different amount of protein, fats, or carbohydrates to have success.

Most probably, such meal will keep us fat

Can’t we just eat a “balanced” meal of rice, some vegetables and a few pieces of meat and get great results?

Of course, we can. But only if our genetics allow us to. Following such a food plan in the hopes of having outstanding health or a great physique would work for only a very small percentage of people.

At my fitness centre in Singapore, I have a male client who weights about 75kg, has sub 6 percent body fat (veins popping out in his thighs and calves and a nice 6-pack of abs), is strong and has a very nice looking physique.

He eats only two meals of unhealthy food per day or sometimes one. He trains with average consistency, and he sleeps only 4-5 hours per night.

Most people who live a lifestyle like this would be 26 percent body fat (i.e. obese), and have less energy than a person with a bad hangover!

How come he can get away with that? Simple. Genetically, he is more gifted.

He can — we cannot

He has an excellent metabolism, high levels of muscle building and fat burning hormones, genetically strong detoxification ability and very good ability to tolerate carbohydrates of all kinds.

The rest of us have to follow our customised personal training programmes, nutrition and lifestyle plans, detoxification plans and sleep plans closely to even get close to the physique that such a gifted individual has.

It can be done, but it just takes more love — love of being healthy, strong and fit.

World record sprinter Usain Bolt‘s meal before he broke the 100m world record at the 2008 Olympics was chicken McNuggets. That is by no means ideal nutrition. But he broke (totally smashed) the world record.

Michael Phelps eats a high-refined carbohydrate, high-starch, 12000-calorie per day diet and wins multiple medals in Olympic swimming. (He also has long arms and flipper-like double jointed, big feet).

But the environment helps

But not to fear, genetics do not determine your destiny. You still have some control. Genetics (despite what some over-enthusiastic media reports claim) are not the only determining factor on your life.

Genes only express themselves (turn-on) in the correct environment. So if we create a good environment, good genes have a tendency to express themselves more, and bad genes express themselves less.

I’ll give an example.

Turns out, Yao Ming's parents (far left) don't seem to have 7 foot tall genetics

Most of you know Yao Ming, the 7 1/2 foot tall Chinese basketball player. He is married to a member of the China national women’s basketball team.

If I asked you, do their children have the genes to be tall? The answer is “Of course!”

However, what if, for example, the child was brought up in a place like sub-Saharan Africa where famine is a common occurrence. Would the child be tall? Or rather, would the child be as tall as his genes allowed him/her to be? The answer is: “Of course, not.”

The environment of malnutrition would not allow the full expression of the “tall” genes.

The same holds true for you and me. Your ancestors may have been obese, had diabetes, had high blood pressure, had cancer, had this and that. It may even be true that you have the genes for such diseases!

But if you do your best to put your body in the right environment, the chance of such unfortunate illnesses happening to you can be reduced greatly.

It is hard for a bad gene to express itself in a well nourished, well exercised, emotionally healthy person with a positive attitude.

The best analogy I have heard is that genes are like a loaded gun. But the environment is the trigger. So if the trigger is never pulled, the gun never fires.

Maximise your health with good habits and positive relationships and keep that trigger from being pulled.

Stay happy, healthy and strong,

For the most advanced fitness services and personal training in Singapore, visit Coach Jon and his team at the Genesis Performance Center.

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