T Nation

How do you know if your genetics are average?

So how do you know if your Genetics are average. I haer the term about being above average genetics,por having average genetics thrown around alot on this forum,but how do you catgorize average genetics,good genetics,below average genetics. I’m curious for a calrification on these terms because they are confusing what criteria are peoepl using to make these judgments.

screw your genetics! As long as you can walk and breath and don’t have a termal illness you can make great progress. With exercise and diet you can be better than 95% of people.

Basically, I don’t know if I’m average. And I NEVER think of me being average. The “average” person does just that: thinks of him/her being average and that right there, stops them from rising above.

I remember when Rich Gaspari was rising to the top of Amatuer and then Pro competitive bodybuilding. All the "in the know" people were saying how he had "average" genetics and just a really good "work ethic" in the gym. He certainly proved them wrong. Placing second to Lee Haney in the Mr. Olympia is NO small feat. And he did it more than once.

I understand why you're asking this question. But know this: in the end, if you believe you are "better than average" you will be. (kind of a "Yoda moment" if I do say so myself)

Thumbs up to what Patricia said…While it is undeniable that genetics play some part somewhere in your absolute maximum potential, I’d say the vast majority of the time that people bring up genetics for a wide variety of things (physical and mental potential), it is as an excuse for why they aren’t better at what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s an easy excuse to give up when pushing harder could get you to your goals. Fact is a completely ‘average’ person in terms of genetics who learned the art of dedication and drive, and intelligent training, will outperform a lazy genetic superman or -woman.

Sorry for the bad grammer and spelling. I meant to say there at the end,that i wanted a clarification on what criteria people were using to make the judgment of what average or superior genetics are.
Patricia you said “I understand why you’re asking this question. But know this: in the end, if you believe you are “better than average” you will be. (kind of a “Yoda moment” if I do say so myself)” Thanks for trying to be helpful,but i was not asking the question because i was insecure about my genetics,that is not like me at all, the question was asked becuase i had read a posts on the photo forum where peopel seemed to throw around the terms average genetics ,and above average genetics alot. i was curious about what criteria people were using to make this judgment?I was curious also how people make this judgment based on photos of the individuals?

Actually, Terminator, your clarification is what I meant by “I know why you’re asking this question”. Cuz, you read it all the time in the bodybuilding magazines, how such and such didn’t have the genetics for bodybuilding…blah blah blah.

As for genetics? Well, Arnold had superior genetics (according to the people "in the know"). So did Lou Ferrigno. Full muscle bellies, the propensity for building muscle, small joints. Take a look at Lee Haney, Cory Everson, Anya Langer. But they also had some "help" *ahem* and a strong desire to succeed and worked hard to gain their success on the posing dais. And also take a look at the "full stage" of competitive bodybuilders. You will see bodies of every shape and size. A full spectrum of "genetic ability" out there. So, I never once assumed you were insecure about your own abilities.

I just don't worry so much about "genetic potential" - I just worry more about getting my ass in the gym and lifting some weights.

Look better than me=Above average genetics
Look worse than me=lazy fatass

How do you know?

  1. You are not top 10 Olympia contender.
  2. You do not turn green when you’re mad.
  3. You do not have a contract with a major supplement company.
  4. Your penis measures less than… ups I regress
    PS F genetics

Well, as one of those who made comments about genetics on the photo board, I guess I’m obliged to comment here as well:


First, what most of the people said above is all correct. You shouldn’t let worrying about genetics stop you. With proper training and nutrition, even someone with less-than-stellar genetics can look better than 95% of the pop. - simply because that 95% are lazy and/or don’t care about looking good.


That said, I think that genetic potential is very real. The only thing is, you can’t predict it. There have been several examples of people with “poor” genetics who have ended up at the very highest levels of the sport: Gaspari has been mentioned, but how about Larry Scott? Or Franco Colombu? Sure, in retrospect accusing either of these guys of having poor genetics sounds ridiculous, but when they started out no one thought that they would amount to much. So it seems very unlikely that anyone can look at you before you start training and make an accurate prediction.


After you’ve started, though, then I think you can tell. Some people take a month’s worth of workouts and simply explode in growth. Rick Wayne was able to put an inch on his arms (recovered muscle) in two workouts. You know anyone like that? Me either. Chris Dickerson’s calves were 17" the first time he walked into a gym, despite the rest of him being kind of puny. So stuff like that I think can be attributed to genetic superiority.


Similarly, if you’ve been working out a while (consistently) you can go down the list of workout/nutrition practices and check them off. Getting enough rest, working out hard and intelligently, eating right, not too much stress outside the gym, yada yada…and you’re still not making “awesome” gains? Well, sooner or later I think that you’ll have to face the fact that maybe you’re just not suited to be a “bodybuilder”. TC mentioned once that even if they get to a good BMI and low bodyfat percentage, only about 1 out of 100 people is going to have “the look”. So most of us won’t achieve what we would want, ideally.


Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, and it doesn’t mean that we’re not doing ourselves some good. But it does mean that, in a contest, chances are almost certain that we’re going to lose out to someone like Poman, just as he will lose out to a Flex Wheeler. Just the luck of the draw…