The good old days where you could be fat and happy while still entering bodybuilding competitions are long gone, and they’ve been gone for a while now.
If you want to compete and look your best, odds are you’re going to put a lot of work in – but what about people who are simply “blessed” with solid muscle genetics?
For the most part, your genetics are going to determine how your body looks when all of the work has been put in, and you can finally enjoy the results.
There are multiple body types, different muscle genetic categories, and several other factors that will play into just how much muscle you can build.
I’m going to talk about why some of you lanky readers out there are struggling to build mass, or why the stud wide receiver on your high-school football team can eat McDonald’s and still sport a six-pack.
Muscle genetics are a real thing, and there are times where you’ve just got to eat your disappointment like a stale croissant before work.
What Are “Muscle Genetics”?
There are three different body types to consider when you’re looking to improve your look, as figuring out which one you are will help you along the way.
There’s no more wasting time and effort by trying to become something your body refuses.
You’re either going to be an Ectomorph, Mesomorph, or Endomorph. These are the three “major body types” that people have, and although you can have a mix of them, odds are you’ll fall under one category.
Each body type comes with a different set of pros and cons, so you can kind of consider it the universe keeping things balanced. We can’t all have an easy time maintaining six-pack abs and feeling sexy, right? That just wouldn’t make sense (thanks, God!).
If you’re the rail-thin person who has always had trouble putting (and keeping) on weight, you’re likely going to be an Ectomorph. The most prominent traits that an Ectomorph body has would be:
- Lean muscle mass
- Appears “naturally thin”
- Low body fat percentage
- Smaller/lighter bone structure
- Incredibly quick metabolism (think of skinny teens who can eat 4 or 5 burgers at once)
- Narrower shoulders
- Flatter chest
- Struggles to put on muscle mass
In a nutshell, Ectomorphs are lanky and thin people we see during our daily routine. Sometimes they can have some more muscle, and other times, they’ll look as if they are “skinny fat”. The most important part about being an Ectomorph is the fast metabolism and naturally thin appearance.
- Read: 12 Famous Ectomorphs
It’s an uphill battle when you’re trying to build muscle as an Ectomorph, as it seems like every calorie you manage to consume is used up by your body almost immediately. It’s hard to bulk up when you can’t eat at a “super surplus” and use the energy/calories to fuel your workouts.
- Try dirty bulking to help gain mucle as an Ectomorph!
Sometimes you can attribute it to being lazy and lack of knowledge, but many Ectomorphs around the world eat and lift weights, only to see minimal results. The best part about it? Once you manage to break through and build a bit of muscle, you’re headed straight for the Penthouse!
This is the body type that most people would pray they have, although that isn’t the case. These are the individuals who appear to be “naturally jacked” and just have muscle without truly working for it.
Some of the more obvious traits that come along with being a Mesomorph are:
- Broad shoulders
- Naturally strong
- Has an athletic build
- More definition in the muscles
- Bulks and builds muscle mass easily
- Gains an average amount of fat
- Consistent and steady metabolism
If you want the most balanced body possible, being a Mesomorph is the answer to all of your problems. They tend to play sports and are likely the studs you saw at school destroying everybody else because they genuinely looked like men on the basketball court.
This is the middle ground of body types, so they seemingly get the best of both worlds. They aren’t too skinny, and don’t hang onto fat like an Endomorph would – as a result, building muscle and a beautiful body is much easier for these people.
Any sort of specimen you see in the gym is likely a Mesomorph, and it’s okay to hate them for that. The envy is strong with me!
This is the final and most hated body type, although I never understood why. If you were interested in becoming the strongest person on the planet, you would literally need to be an Endomorph. Regardless of how much muscle you put onto either of the other 2 body types, they’ll likely never be stronger compared to an Endo.
You know the type already, it’s the rotund mound of muscle that has on two knee and elbow braces while waddling around the gym. You already know they could lift you above their heads and slam you down onto the concrete, but they’ve got to catch you first!
Endomorphs are looked at as an outcast in some cases, but I don’t think that’s truly how things are. The number of times I’ve found myself watching a “big boy” throw weights around in the gym in awe is kind of crazy.
Endomorphs typically deal with:
- A more rotund build
- Stocky stature and thicker bones
- Higher body fat percentage (very few of them will be able to have visible abs)
- Can gain both muscle and fat with ease
- Slower metabolism
- Tends to be shorter
- Broad shoulders + thicker wrists
- Read: Top 12 Ectomorph Bodybuilders
Power is the name of the game here, and gaining (both muscle and fat) will never be an issue for Endomorphs. If you’re good with food and enjoy hitting the gym, congratulations! You can beat up most of the people reading this right now.
How to Tell If You’ve Got Good Bodybuilding Genetics
Genetics is an important piece of the puzzle, but they aren’t the only thing that you need to worry about. Somebody with solid genetics that just sits around all day isn’t going to make the most of them, and that’s the problem.
You may think that you can just be lean and fit forever because of your body type, but that isn’t the case at all. Nature makes fools of us all, and if you’re willing to eat burritos and avoid the gym, it’s going to show at some point.
The older you get, the harder it is to stay skinny – just keep that in mind the next time you plan on going to KFC for a bucket of chicken tenders.
The Signs of Good Genetics
Good genetics are almost always going to be apparent, and you can just tell whether someone has them or not by looking at them (especially while lifting). There are some people who wear baggy clothes to the gym on purpose, and then there are others who genuinely don’t care; they’re both still at the gym to put the work in.
A sign of good genetics is that you’re seeing results quickly, and you don’t have to work “too hard” to get them.
When you’re nearly dying in the gym daily without much to show for it, odds are you’ll need to switch something up and it isn’t just your genetics.
The Signs of Bad Genetics
Bad genetics are also apparent, especially in the bodybuilding community. People will pick you apart online and say “your triceps aren’t big enough” or “do you even train your legs?”.
Just remember, you can out-train bad genetics, it’s just going to be way harder.
We’ve all seen those transformation journeys online, and those are the perfect example of people with “bad genetics”. Parents who are obese and pass their ways of life onto their kids are basically creating a generation of people with bad genetics! Thankfully, many can still make a change and be the best version of themselves possible.
Is Genetics Truly That Important in Bodybuilding?
Some would say it isn’t, but that’s what can bring you home a trophy or two at times. You can’t change the body that your parents gave you, all you can do is build it up to the best of your abilities.
All of the stretch marks, injuries, and lack of definition or result that you see is likely due to your genetics. If your family has lacked a butt for the last 300 years, why would it start with you? Of course, you have to consider both of your parents.
Professional athletes that get married and have kids almost always have studs, and you know why that is? Well, it’s because of genetics. That alone shows you how important they can be at times in the bodybuilding community.
How You Can Overcome Your Genetic Disadvantages
Train hard, eat right, and make sure you’ve got the right supplements on your side. There are a handful of instances where people almost gave up but then had an unexpected growth, so don’t give up.
Supplements can help overcome many of the genetic advantages you’ll deal with, but they won’t ever help you change your frame/body type – that’s just something you’ve got to live with!
Many top-level bodybuilders, from the Golden Era to the Modern Era have had BOTH good AND bad genetics, yet they still have won the top-level competitions. So, don’t stress about it- hard work trumps all.