How much influence does your DNA have over muscle growth?
In our previous article, we explored the role of genetics in determining the performance of a bodybuilder.
We learned that while genes can sometimes make it easier for a bodybuilder to make specific gains (e.g. bigger biceps even with less training than one’s peers), we also discovered that genes are not “muscle traps” and they don’t determine your path in bodybuilding.
An interesting point was raised in our last article: bone size and muscle size. According to scientific studies, taller individuals with bigger bones tend to develop a higher volume of muscle than shorter people with smaller bone structure.
Again, this apparent physiological limitation shouldn’t discourage anyone.
If you happen to have average genes when it comes to developing your muscles, you just need better nutrition and an even fiercer training program to pound those muscle fibres into submission.
What other DNA-related factor affects muscle gains?
Our DNA influences every aspect of our existence, from the colour of our hair, colour of our skin to the number of muscle cells we have. Experts have confirmed that actual muscle cell count varies from person to person. This means that genetically-gifted individuals have much larger muscles because they have more muscle cells to develop in the first place!
If Bodybuilder A has 150 million cells forming his back muscles, he will most likely enjoy faster muscle gains than Bodybuilder B, who happens to have 100 million cells forming his back muscle tissues. Of course, it would be impractical to have your muscle cell count determined – no one does this and the information would be irrelevant to your progress anyway.
What we’re merely pointing out is that some people literally “have it” because their genes are formed in a particular manner.
But wait… There is hope, yet! Around the same time that this information was published, it was also discovered that while we do start off with an average muscle cell count, muscle cells can actually divide and multiply depending on a person’s regular physical requirements.
So if you’re working out daily and you’re providing your body with the protein, amino acids and other nutrients it needs to build more muscle tissue, the DNA factor becomes a minor problem. It may take longer for you to achieve the symmetry and size of genetically-gifted peers but you will get there, eventually!
What role does the male hormone play in the scheme of things?
The male hormone testosterone also plays a crucial role in determining the success of bodybuilders. Testosterone influences the physiological growth of the body. Some male bodybuilders have been known to naturally produce high levels of testosterone. These guys don’t just develop quickly with rigourous training – they are also naturally more driven and aggressive when it comes to lifting weights!
Testosterone doesn’t just help you develop mean muscles, it also affects your personality and attitude. Generally speaking, a person with more testosterone has a much higher tendency to be aggressive when he undertakes different activities, including exercises.
Females also produce testosterone but on a much lower scale compared to males. If a female produces more testosterone than what her body naturally needs, it’s possible for a woman to develop male features such as body hair, increased axillary hair and even a deeper voice.
Female athletes who experiment with androgenic substances and synthetic male hormones tend to develop severe health issues later in life because their bodies can react negatively to the presence of excess male hormone.
Should you use synthetic male hormones?
The safety of self-administering synthetic male hormone is still widely debated across the world. It’s no secret that professional bodybuilders use testosterone and human growth hormones to enhance their body’s natural ability to grow.
Our recommendation would be to consult with your physician before even thinking about using anabolic steroids and hormones. This is your body and life on the line so it’s never a good idea to base your decisions on “hearsay” and what other people are doing.
If your organs become damaged as a result of your “chemical experiments”, you won’t be able to pursue your bodybuilding dreams at all. So stay safe and try to keep your system clean of strange supplements and unregulated chemicals.