How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

If you’re not seeing results in the gym, there are a lot of things you can tweak: your diet, your exercise schedule, and the types of workouts you do, to name a few. But genetics is also a big factor. We’ve all had that thought on bad days: Maybe I’m just not cut out to succeed at this.

Source: How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

Height is considered ~80% heritable, but malnourishment and/or disease can stunt your growth.  If you’re really serious about addressing your height, limb-lengthening operations (cosmetic surgery) are a reality.  But tot only are they ridiculously expensive, but they also involve having your legs broken!  To lengthen limbs, the bones are broken to be spread so the body fills the gap by healing.   Anti-inflammatory painkillers can’t be prescribed because they might inhibit bone growth.   At a rate something like a millimeter a day, the apparatus is tweaked daily.  Some have achieved 6 inches, but most seem to be 2-3 inches.  Surgery would require someone like me to be off blood thinners, so far less likely that anyone will want to do the surgery for you.

All that said, for me part of the process has been about accepting what I can not change.

This Video Explains What Can (and Can’t) Affect Your Metabolism

The only strictly genetic component to an “increased” metabolism is the amount of “Uncoupling Protein” you have on the inner cell membrane of your mitochondria. The more of this protein you have, the less efficient your body is at turning calories into energy so to speak. The calories are just turned into heat energy. This requires more calories to support body function.

A high concentration of these mitochondria with a high levels of UCP are located within what’s called brown fat. This brown fat is strictly used to generate and maintain body heat. The amount of brown fat that you have decreases with age, contributing to 90 y/o men wearing cardigans in the summer and a slower “metabolism.”

Also, the “eat smaller meals more frequently” is actually a fallacy. Much like “always eat breakfast,” it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Healthy people hear it’s healthy, attach themselves to the habit, and it becomes consequentially associated with health.

Study: Add Public Transportation to Your Weight Loss Plans

The beneficial effects of physical activity on obesity and related health outcomes are generally well understood.  In high and middle income countries however, lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary, and physical inactivity has become the fourth leading risk factor for premature mortality. Declining rates of functional active travel have contributed to this population-level decrease in physical activity, and ecological evidence suggests that rising levels of obesity are more pronounced in settings with greater declines in active travel. Active commuting to work has been strongly recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a feasible way of incorporating greater levels of physical activity into daily life. Data from the 2011 census show that in England and Wales 23.7 million individuals regularly commute to a workplace—more than half of the 41.1 million adults of working age covered by the census. With 67% modal share, private motorised transport is by far the most common commuting mode reported, followed by public transport (18%), walking (11%), and cycling (3%). Policies designed to effect a population-level modal shift to more active modes of work commuting therefore present major opportunities for public health improvement.

Source: Associations between active commuting, body fat, and body mass index: population based, cross sectional study in the United Kingdom

The study concluded that people who used modes of transportation other than a car had significantly lower BMI and body fat percentage than those who drove. Men weighed ~7 lbs less, while women weighed ~5.5 lbs less.  This won’t replace going to the gym, but you’ll be able to get in some extra steps during the day.  Walking is the superfood of fitness

“There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym“.  I thought I read this in Douglas Coupland’s “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”, but the internet says it’s a Bill Nye (The Science Guy) quote.

Study: Overweight Teens Grow up to Earn Less than their Fitter Friends

Being overweight can cost you dearly – both in terms of health and finances. Researchers studying 150,000 Swedish men that were obese aged 18 found they grew up to earn 16% less than their peers of a normal weight. Even people who were overweight at 18, that is, with a body-mass index from 25 to 30, saw significantly lower wages as an adult. Researchers looked at Swedish men who enlisted in compulsory military service in the 1980s and 1990s. Obese 18-year-old men will earn 16 percent less over their a lifetime than those of a normal weight, according to the study published in the research journal Demography. This is roughly the same lifetime earnings penalty as missing about three years of college education, the researchers point out.

Source: Researchers find overweight teens grow up to earn less than their fitter friends

TLDR: Researchers claim that being obese starting from an early age can have serious financial consequences later in life due to factors such as lack of self-confidence/assurance due to possible bullying, and significant health risks that may arise with obesity.  The article does not mention if the data compared the annual income/salary for people in the same job to determine if weight was a factor.

Something to keep in mind is, while statistical, is a generalization.  It’s an averaging – there is a component who will have succeeded, which will bring up that average.  Don’t defeat yourself.