Is “genetic limitation” really a thing?
If you are in the fitness industry, you might have come across terms like “genetic limit of muscle gain” or “max genetic potential for muscle growth”. So, let’s understand what these terms mean and what is science or truth behind them!
First of all, what is reaching the maximum genetic limit for muscle growth?
When a beginner starts his muscle gaining process, he starts gaining muscle mass at 1 to 1.5% of his body weight while advanced starts at 0.25 to 0.5% of his body weight.
Thus, an individual who is a beginner will gain at a faster pace than an advanced trainee. So, after a certain amount of time, our pace of progress slows down. And many fitness trainees believe that after a certain point of time, an advanced trainee reaches his/her maximum genetic potential and can’t gain muscle mass further.
So, let’s discuss what science says…?
One can’t predict what someone’s potential is. We cannot accurately calculate someone’s maximum limitations. There is always a chance of improvement. Even though after a point in training, process slows down. Why this happens? Because our body does not respond to stress caused by resistance training in the same way, as it used to respond earlier.
So, there are mixed results when experiments were carried out. There was an experiment that was carried out on mice to know whether genetics play role in growth, which showed positive effects. Another research was done by scientists at McMaster university and an international research team in which they wanted to know why some weightlifters gain quickly than others? They came to the conclusion that genes play a good role in the growth of the body’s skeletal system. Genes do play role in our body’s composition and structure. But there are a lot of other factors which influence our growth.
There are various models and calculators which can calculate genetic potential like Berkhan model of maximum drug-free genetic potential by Martin which uses height as a base. Another method is using FFMI (Fat-free mass index). But these methods aren’t accurate. So definitely, there is a natural limit. Everyone has a genetic limitation, but we cannot predict what and when we have reached that limit. So, instead of focusing on terms like genetic limits, one should focus on improvement.
Yes, there is a thing known as reaching maximum genetic potential, but it can’t be predicted. There are many talks done on this topic but there is no complete evidence to prove same. Everyone’s body is different and there is always a scope of gain or changes in your body’s muscle mass. So, I would suggest it, even if you are an advanced trainee and stopped seeing much changes, focus on your nutrition and try to increase your limits
Push yourself because the sky is the limit! Don’t limit your challenges and challenge yourself!
Author: Aashita Bansal