Do you wonder why you and your friend both do the same workouts, eat a similar diet, but see completely different outcomes? This is because your genetics can impact your fitness goals, in a very big way!
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, or make some serious gains, your genetics will play a large role in how long this takes, and how much effort you need to put in. If you’re wondering how genetics impact your fitness goals, keep reading!
Where you store excess fat.
Everyone identifies with a different body type: bumblebee, pear-shaped, broad-shouldered, or the more technical terms, ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph.
This means that everyone stores excess weight on different areas of their bodies. In fact, current research has highlighted how where we store our weight (1) is a strong indicator for our long-term heart health. If you are genetically inclined to store excess weight around your stomach, reduce your refined carbohydrate intake. As this is also linked to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, it is important to manage our glucose levels sooner rather than later!
Are you prone to blood sugar imbalance?
If you tend toward blood sugar imbalance, you may likely hold more excess weight around your midsection, called visceral fat. While we can be in control of our blood sugar and insulin levels, some of us may experience more of a battle than others.
If you get easily lightheaded, feel “hangry” easily, or steer more toward sweet, carbohydrate-rich treats, you may be dealing with blood sugar imbalances. Try starting your day with a high-protein meal and save the carbs for later!
Taller, broader shoulders, wider hips, long neck. Your bone structure will impact your fitness goals, particularly if you are measuring based off of how you look or measurements.
Regardless of what you’re given, learn to work with what you’ve got and reset your goals based on this! Working with a personal trainer can help you identify what your goals can and should be!
Similarly, we also have genes that signal our bodies ability to gain muscle, which explains a lot of the variation between different groups.
Your hunger levels.
It’s true - some of us are born with a gene that makes us hungrier than other. While some people can go all day without eating or even thinking about food (intermittent fasting is easy for these folks!), others can’t finish one meal without thinking about the next. Many of these people are genuinely hungry more often and not simply eating out of boredom.
Most of this has to do with our ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is a hormone that plays a role in how hungry we feel throughout the day. One way we can try to manage this is with proper sleep each night!
We can also manage our hunger levels by eating an adequate amount of protein and healthy fats at each meal to promote satiety and reduce cravings after eating. Try eating smaller portions, more frequently throughout the day to reduce your overall caloric intake if needed.
How you react to stress.
Stress is a reaction that is determined through both nature and nurture. You may be more likely to feel and experience stress more intensely if your parents also did, both because of genetics, and because of your life experiences. We can clearly see the genetic link when it comes to mental health issues like anxiety.
Stress isn’t just mental though. Stress has a physical component, and is particularly impactful on how we experience fatigue, our energy, and where we store our fat (head back to my first point in this article for a refresher!). When we experience stress easily, a few things can happen, like:
- We store excess fat around our abdomen
- We can experience adrenal burnout, which leads to decreased energy levels
- We may reach for substances like drugs and alcohol to curb stress
While we live in a society that really highlights the stressors of our day-to-day life, it can still be quite hard to manage it all. Try these tips to manage stress at work, and add in a few tricks outside of your workday! Cut the caffeine, add in some meditation, go for a long walk, etc. Managing stress is key to crushing your fitness goals!
Food allergies and sensitivities.
You may just correlate food allergies and sensitivities to anaphylactic shock, a stomach ache, inconsistent bowel movements, or hives. However, when you live with an unknown food sensitivity, you may also experience chronic inflammation. This inflammation can cause water retention and weight gain.
If you feel as though you retain water, it may be time to have a food sensitivity test done!
If you have plateaued on your fitness journey, one of these issues may be the culprit! Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider, or a personal trainer to see what adjustments can be made!