Muscle Talk - By International Protein

Genetics & Bodybuilding

April 28, 2021 International Protein Season 3 Episode 15
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
Genetics & Bodybuilding
Chapters
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
Genetics & Bodybuilding
Apr 28, 2021 Season 3 Episode 15
International Protein

In this episode we discuss genetics and Christine explains what role it plays in bodybuilding. We delve into the unfair truth as to why everyone who picks up a weight won’t have the genetics to become a world champion.

  • Genetics will define your body shape eventually 
  • Muscle & bone structure
  • Age change is dictated by genetics
  • Mindset


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






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A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we discuss genetics and Christine explains what role it plays in bodybuilding. We delve into the unfair truth as to why everyone who picks up a weight won’t have the genetics to become a world champion.

  • Genetics will define your body shape eventually 
  • Muscle & bone structure
  • Age change is dictated by genetics
  • Mindset


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas,  https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






------------------------------------------------------
A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Ash Horton:
Welcome to Muscle Talk, where you'll get world champion advice about nutrition and stacking on muscle. Our host Christine Envall, she's a three time world champion bodybuilder and IFBB professional, a food scientist, and a founding co-owner of our podcast sponsor, International Protein.

Ash Horton:
In this episode, we discuss genetics and Christine explains what role it plays in bodybuilding. We delve into the unfair truth as to why everyone that picks up a weight won't have the genetics to become a world champion.

Ash Horton:
Christine, we've talked about genetics a lot in previous episodes, so let's do our own episode on genetics. Talk to me.

Christine Envall:
Cool. Sounds good to me, because genetics is that thing where... Has there ever been a time when you've looked at somebody, you looked at their physique and you're like, "Oh, I really want to look like them." And then you've gone away and you've trained and you've trained and you kind of realize that you're just not looking like them. You're looking like maybe somebody else, or you might recognize your body in somebody else, but essentially genetics will be what defines, ultimately, how we develop our body shape, how we look like. Obviously, people are familiar with how genetics comes from our parents, dictates everything from our height, our hair color, our eye color, the shape of our features. But it also dictates, obviously, our bone structure, our muscle belly structure, our metabolism in many, many cases.

Christine Envall:
So all of those things are obviously critical in bodybuilding like your metabolism, how quickly you will gain muscle, how easily you lose fat, where you store your body fat. Even that, it can be genetic, because you look at your parents or you look at your grandparents and you see where they are carrying things as they get older and that's... You look... "Okay, that's my structure." So you, unfortunately, can't look at somebody who has totally, totally different genetics to you and think that you're going to look like them. And unfortunately, as much as we would like to think that we can change our body shape a lot in weight training and we can, we cannot beat genetics. So I'm going to take my calves as an example here, because if you don't have the same insertions that I have, you're never going to be able to grow your calves to look like mine.

Christine Envall:
You can make your own calf bigger, but if you have a short insertion, you don't have a larger soleus, you're not going to be able to lengthen that. Your tendon length is fixed, your muscle shape is fixed. And that's the thing where it can become very, very frustrating in bodybuilding, because you want to look a certain way, but you are limited or advanced by what mom and dad gave you.

Christine Envall:
So that's essentially the role that genetics plays. So weight training is all about maximizing what you have. Obviously, working on your strengths, working on trying to improve your flaws, but if you do have a limitation around a short bicep or where your quad inserts, and you have a better sweep... Like you can train and improve that to some degree, but you cannot ever have what somebody who has genetically a strength there or has a genetic like a piggy bicep, and you have a long bicep. You're not going to be able to really impact that enough to make you somebody else. That is probably the hardest thing in bodybuilding and accepting that.

Ash Horton:
So it's not an excuse to be one of those guys that only trains up a body and then little legs. You can't.

Christine Envall:
It's not an excuse not to change, because that's not going to fix anything. But unfortunately, if you don't have great leg genetics, you can train as much as you want. You can train and really, really try to improve what you have and you can improve what you have, but you're not going to have what the guy with the great leg genetics has. That's the thing where again, age does come into it, and this is somewhat, obviously, genetic based on your nationality but... For example, we know what have I noticed, things like triceps are something that can be well-shaped when you're younger in my genetic makeup. As you get older, it can tend to flatten off instead of just keeping that nice round shape. Now, this is something which is age plus genetics, because other people can keep a nice rounded muscle belly into a much older age, or I find some particular genetics, the waist will widen with age, doesn't happen to other genetic types.

Christine Envall:
So it's something which you get the age change, and that is again dictated by your genetics, how your structure is going to change, what's going to, no matter how hard you work at it, only be limited. And it may have been a strength when you were younger, but it potentially as you get older, it can change. And that's something that we'll all discover as we get older. Because sometimes, again you can look at your parents and see how they are. And other times it might come as a complete surprise, because... I'm going to use Kevin Levrone as an example, because he, as a younger bodybuilder, had phenomenal legs, like really, really good legs. And then when he made his comeback a couple of years ago, as a much older competitor... Now a lot of it was injury related as well, but no matter what he did, he couldn't get the legs back that he had when he was younger.

Christine Envall:
And yet another person may potentially be able to be same age or older and not have suffered that degradation of the legs. So some people, they suffer it, and other people don't. So again, it's just so individual, but I think that the key thing to remember is that with your genetics, particularly now in bodybuilding, there's so many different categories. There's also a lot of different federations, And the structure and the body type that they're looking for in each category is somewhat a genetic type in terms of, you need to look at that category and say, "I might be more suited to this." And I haven't probably talked a lot about this, but bone structure and bone size. And I don't know if anyone as a kid ever heard the term, "Oh, that person's big-boned." Normally when the person is a little heavyset or something.

Ash Horton:
Yeah. It was normally a compliment for a fat person, yeah.

Christine Envall:
Yeah, exactly. And I got that a lot as a young kid, believe it or not.

Ash Horton:
Were you a little fatty?

Christine Envall:
Yes. I was a very stocky... I was, but I'm actually big-boned. Don't laugh.

Ash Horton:
Okay, all right.

Christine Envall:
But no, no, no, no. As in, at the time I thought this is people trying to be nice to me, but what I realized in bodybuilding... I'm five foot three, but when I stand next to other women who are five foot three, who don't have big bones, it's a totally different look. And those are the women who are doing things like figure and bikini.

Ash Horton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Christine Envall:
Like I don't carry the muscle that I carried 20 years ago. I'm still five foot three and yet I am a big person, because I do literally have big, big backbones. I have big bones. And then you'll see someone who is the same height and should be the same structure, but you're like, "Why do they not look as thick and as stocky?"

Christine Envall:
And it does come down to your bone structure. So your bones and your tendons and what your muscle is able to hang onto, what you're able to build onto. I guess what I'm trying to say is a female bodybuilder cannot be a physique competitor who is designed for a slighter frame and a lighter bone structure, smaller bone structure. Like you look at... Your wrist size is normally a good indicator of that. Like can you fit your hand around your wrist or? So, yeah. And you know what I'm talking about? Like, whether you have fine bones or thick bones.

Ash Horton:
So what's the rule around that? If you fit your hand around your wrist, then what?

Christine Envall:
Well, you see how much [crosstalk 00:07:58].

Ash Horton:
If you've got small wrists, you've got small bones.

Christine Envall:
Yeah. Small bones. But yeah. Like there's a lot of guys who have big, thick bones, like they won't be able to get there unless they obviously have big, big hands.

Ash Horton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Christine Envall:
I was at a course last week and we were comparing hands and wrists with a girl. And I literally could kind of almost go double around her wrist. She's taller than me.

Ash Horton:
Right.

Christine Envall:
She has a very, very slight frame. So that in itself, in bodybuilding, will kind of dictate a little bit what category you're going to go into, because a person like you... You can't change your bone structure. So a person with a slighter frame, you can build a lot of muscle, but you're always going to look more slight compared to that person who has a good genetic predisposition to be able to grow a lot of muscle but also has a big frame to hang it on, or has broad shoulders versus someone who has narrower shoulders and narrower clavicles.

Christine Envall:
Now there's always, I guess, what's the word for it? There's always kind of things that break that rule. So Phil Heath, for example, has narrow clavicles, but an awesome back. But when you look at him from the front, he kind of has a... He doesn't have a nice strong, wide look, but he's massive and built so much muscle around that. So the more muscle you can build, the more you can kind of offset certain structural flaws that you have. And that was always... Like say that the origins of bodybuilding was to be able to build so much muscle that you hid those floors, but you're still limited by your insertion lengths, how much you can build your calf, because if it's not long, it's never going to be long. If your bicep is shorter, it's not going to come down.

Christine Envall:
Lats are a different thing where a lot of people that is actually wrong training and they put it down to genetics, but it's actually they're not connecting with their back, and it can be possible to build that in. But then other people just genuinely have really, really short lats. And the insertion points are such that they can't bring those down. So you can't move a tendon position. You can't fill in muscle where there is no muscle cell to fill in. So if you have a long tendon, you're not ever going to be able to grow muscle on that. So these are all the things that you kind of need to look at critically when you're, I guess, trying to decide where you're going to go on stage, what category you're going to fall into, and what you potentially can build.

Christine Envall:
But at the same time, that's... Like I say, that's not an excuse not to really try your absolute hardest to change. Because I have seen some people where you look at their structure from their starting point and you think, "Oh, that's not the greatest structure." And then you see them with work and training and they've somewhat fixed some things. Like maybe they had rounded shoulders or something, things which were from lack of use, which the weight training has actually corrected and given them a better structure than what you realize that they had.

Christine Envall:
But majority of people, if they aren't to that extreme, you can kind of look at and say, okay, that person has a slight bone structure. That person has wide hips, narrow shoulders or broad shoulders, narrow hips. Okay. Yes. They're going to be good in this particular thing. But yeah, genetics from a physical point of view, obviously whether someone is ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph is going to be genetic, which is going to determine how quickly your body grows muscle, how quickly you recover, and how you respond to exercise, how your body processes food. All of those things are going to go into your genetic makeup and whether or not you're going to be successful at a career in bodybuilding.

Christine Envall:
So because anyone can weight train, and it's a relatively basic skill to do, I think a lot of people walking to the gym, and they do look at the top people and they're like, "Well, I can weight train, so I can do that." If it was a sport that required a skill, and let's use surfing or basketball or something where there's an innate skill, majority of us who do that don't think that we're ever going to be the absolute best, because we understand that there's genetics and skill and talent and all of those things, no matter how much you work at something. But at weight training, we sometimes forget that there is still that limitation, and that just because you can execute the exercises that it requires to do that doesn't mean to say that you're going to be the best in the world because of all those other factors that come into it and that.

Christine Envall:
But then there's mindset. And that's a whole other thing. And I think that that's probably an even more powerful thing in terms of what people can do and achieve, limiting themselves, or whether they or people that you don't expect who just absolutely blast past other people, because they have that absolute work ethic and drive and ability to push their body in every extreme to develop to the maximum what they actually have. So there's the mindset part of it is somewhat also genetic and that comes from the environment that you grew up in and how you were encouraged and that type of thing. But I think the thing is to be realistic about what to expect with what you were given. I guess don't kind of... You can idolize, but don't benchmark and use as role models people who have totally different genetic structures to you, because you will not achieve that result. So you do need to identify people who look more like your body structure.

Ash Horton:
So realistic goals and work to your strengths.

Christine Envall:
Yes, absolutely. I think that kind of sums it up. But as I said, find someone who you identify with that looks more like your body type and look at what they've done, and even look at how they train and how they eat, because potentially there'll be some clues and secrets as to things that... How easily you suffer an injury can also be kind of like going with a particular body type. Look very much at your parents as well. And I guess what you might be battling against in the future or what gifts you may have been given, but in terms of emulating to reach the top, try to find somebody in the top of your field that has a body type more like your own. And then that way you'll get a much better idea as to what you potentially can build and grow

Ash Horton:
[inaudible 00:13:45].

Christine Envall:
Awesome.

Ash Horton:
Thank you, Christine.

Christine Envall:
No worries, Ash.

Ash Horton:
Words of wisdom. If you like what you've heard, leave us a review and recognize that these bodybuilding tips from International Protein, they are free. So show your support by becoming a loyal International Protein customer. The best supplements money can buy. So jump online, hunt down our product, and hit that buy now button.