Are you destined to follow the body shape of your mother or father? Or can your efforts at the gym transform your physique to that of a supermodel or elite athlete?
We asked Lisa Middleton, Advanced Sports Dietician what she thought.
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“The answer is not simple, but we do know that body shape, size and metabolism are related to both our genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices,” Lisa says.
“If there is a history of obesity in your family should you just give up now? Or should you work your backside off to get the results you dream of?
Body shape and size
- Genetics may determine where we store body fat.
- How much we store may be more a result of choices.
- Whether you are an apple shape (fat stored around the trunk) or a pear (fat located peripherally), you can change the size of your shape through effective exercise and nutrition.
- The ability to bulk up relies on a number of factors, with genetics and gender right up there.
- Individualised training and nutrition will bring results, but keep in mind your potential genetic limitations.
- *Note – not everyone can achieve a ‘ripped’ six-pack.
What about metabolism?
- The rate at which your body uses energy is your metabolic rate – the amount of kilojoules you burn per kilogram body weight per day.
- Basal metabolic rate is directly related to the amount of muscle you have.
- More muscle = increased basal metabolic rate.
Can we really blame our family tree?
Studies have shown that genetic factors contribute 25% – 40% to the risk of obesity and some researchers believe genetics are responsible for at least 50% of all obesity cases. The good news is that we still have at least 50% to play with! Some people may have to work that little bit harder due to their genetic background, but remember, the culprit is often family ‘habits’ rather than genetics.