T Nation

Do I Have Bad Genetics?

Hi Folks,

I have been lifting for 1.5 years in total. As you can in the before pictures, I started out very weak, as a 19 years old 125 lb skinny dude (I am 5’11) that didn’t even have visible abs. I lifted weights for 3-4 times a week for a year, I knew what I was doing in the gym, I trained correctly. But one thing that I did wrong, I neglected my nutrition, but I actually got up to 140 lbs after a year. Then, I stopped training for a year because I was discouraged after not seeing progress, but I was still active playing other sports.

After that, I started to take this seriously again 5-6 months ago, I started learning counting macros and etc. Now I am 155 lbs and my maintenance is around 3500 calories (150/450/100; rough estimate). I am currently maintaining at ~3500. If I miss a meal then I am going to lose weight the next day. Also, I put on 30 lbs of mass compared to when I first started but there are some fat there as well.

I certainly don’t want to stop training nor to make an excuse. Do I just fit the description of someone who has “bad genetics” in muscle building? Since I have extremely fast metabolism and am having hard time building muscle. Also it seems that my body doesn’t quite absorb the protein/nutrients compared to other people as well as poor response to weight training (a.k.a the term “non-responders”). I also have moderate scoliosis and slight pectus excavatum as you can see in the pictures. The only good thing that some people have told me, is that I have naturally wide shoulders (maybe because of my bone structure), even so I am not quite confident if that is true.

It looks like you have 2 fully formed legs and arms, and at least 2 fully formed hands. Assuming you have fully formed feet too, that makes you incredibly blessed on a genetic level. It’d be a shame if you were to squander these gifts.


You have trained sporadically for a fairly brief time. by your own admission with suboptimal nutrition for a large portion of that time, and yet you’ve managed to add thirty pounds from your starting point.

No, you don’t have bad genetics.

What you do have is a shitty attitude that even leads you to ask a forum of people if you have “bad genetics” so you can give yourself an out for any lack of future progress, or an excuse to stop trying.

Look, if you don’t want to lift weights, just don’t lift weights. There is nothing wrong with that. Most people don’t lift weights. But don’t quit because you’ve told yourself that you have “bad genetics” and therefore cannot make progress.


Forgot to make a note. Pics 1, 3, 4 are before I started lifting at 125 lbs. 2, 5, 6 are after at 155 lbs.

As I said I don’t want to make excuse or what so ever. What’s wrong with acknowledging our own weaknesses? That doesn’t mean that I am going to stop training. I love training and I am going to continue to do so. I know what I am good at and what I am not. I am blessed in the intelligence department as an engineering student in a top university but I acknowledged that muscle building isn’t my forte. I know I am bad at singing and good at playing basketball. What is exactly wrong with that? It is called knowing yourself.

Maybe a better question would be this: how does the knowledge of whether you have “bad genetics” or “good genetics” change the way you would approach diet and training?


Just keep training and eating man, for years and years. Dont even think about anything else but eating, sleeping, and training. Im an Engineering student too, so im smart, listen to me.

Hmm …we hear this a lot from beginners but rarley the case.

What do you bench and deadlift?

Generally speaking read some Tnation articles and just run through some proven programs from there and you can make great progress



Now what?


Well not the case for me. Of course I have been to the gym before that and I had no idea what I was doing. But in that one year time span I did a lot of research, trained consistently and modified my training as needed.

“Generally speaking read some Tnation articles and just run through some proven programs from there and you can make great progress.” I don’t expect that comment coming from an “expert”. Nutrition is more important than training. If you go through some proven programs with a shitty diet then you won’t make great progress. Every one reacts to different regimens differently as well, some recover quickly, some respond better with certain exercises, there is no “proven” program.

Nothing. Thanks for the input

when did he say to not read the diet ones?

there are proven programs. there is no best program. big difference


Motivation to work harder knowing that I won’t be able to achieve the same results that others get with the same amount of effort. That is what I am gonna do.

You have very strong opinions on how training does and does not work for someone who has not been successful at it.


So it begins again


Yeah but what’s the alternative? That he’s been doing things wrong for years…


When I started lifting weights I was about 60lbs. and could only eat what I could afford with paper route money. I managed to gain about 110 lbs.

Of course I was 11 at the time, and genetics never came in to the conversation.

Maybe look back at it in 30 years and use hindsight to figure out whether you’re cut out for this or not.

I’d say my genes are mediocre, maybe leaning toward goodish, but I don’t think I’m quite done yet.

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…Do you want our help or just here to vent /throw a pity-party?

Do you often ask questions with no purpose?

Are you implying that all engineering students are smart? Maybe something happens between university/college and the real world but I have met some fuckin stupid engineers.