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Friday, November 2, 2007

The Other Side Of Genetics

Genetics play an amazing role in everything you are including your body.

Will everyone that lifts a weight become an Arnold, Mike Mentzer or a Dorian Yates? Not likely but if they do it right, they can reach their genetic potential. What about you, what are your goals?

In my Book, RU Serious, I have this to say about genetics...

"Although we are made up the same physically and muscle growth is stimulated in the same way with you, me, her, him etc., we all have different genetic capability. Not everyone is going to have the genetics to become an Arnold or a Mike Mentzer. In the same way, not everyone has the same exercise tolerance... There are those who can train every 4th day and those who may have to train every 10th and even longer. At the same time some may be able to do 5 sets per workout and others only 3 sets per workout and sometimes only 1 or 2 sets!"

We all know that it takes intense, brief and infrequent exercise to stimulate muscle grow! th. Arthur Jones, a genius and the creator of Nautilus exercise equipment, who spent a small fortune testing and finding out how muscle grows, had this to say...

"Everything of any value related to exercise can be stated in less than a thousand words, can, in fact, be fairly well covered in only a few words, as follows: Train hard, Train briefly, Train infrequently, and always remember that your final results will primarily be a consequence of genetics" -Arthur Jones

We all know by now that everyone although physically the same may and usually does have a different tolerance to exercise, the amount of volume they can tolerate while training intensely. In this case lesser is always better because "training hard" as Arthur Jones referred to it, uses quite a bit of the body's resources especially as you grow stronger. And, since the body recovers systemically, rather than locally, meaning... the entire system has to put back what was used in the workout before it c! an overcompensate or build muscle, it is imperative to have en! ough lef t to do so and that takes time and is based on your genetics.

Remember, training is always a negative. If we could figure out a way to do no sets and stimulate growth, that would be amazing. Unfortunately, that isn't easy. If in fact another workout is performed before the process described above takes place, you will literally short circuit the process, i.e. You will not build muscle.

A QUICK NOTE: This dispels the belief that you loose muscle after a certain period if you don't train. Think about this... if you understand how the body lays down muscle, how could you loose muscle if you haven't even gotten through the compensation stage? Have you ever taken a month layoff, either forced or voluntary and come back stronger? Get my point?

Ok, where am I going with all this... what is the other side of genetics?

If you are doing this thing right, you should be progressing, each and every workout and that means getting stronger. You should be adding reps! or weight or both each and every workout. Remember, a properly designed workout program is really a strength program.

The question then arises, "what if I am getting stronger each and every workout and my body is not changing, I am not gaining or loosing weight but getting stronger?"

I have found in my past experience, a strength gain always precedes a bodyweight gain. I personally have gone a couple of months or so and not gained anything... then I jump on the scale and I am five pounds heavier. There are others including Mike Mentzer that verified the same experience personally to me.

Now the other side of genetics...

I have had clients on all sides of the spectrum.

I have had some that continue to make progress in strength but it may take them longer for that five pound muscle gain, maybe five or six months or longer. These folks are at the lowed end of the genetic table for adding muscle. Typically these folks are on abbreviated routines a! nd their genetics are doing the best they can.

I also ha! ve had c lients that are middle ground. It may be a couple of months of no bodyweight gain then they jump on the scale and are five or ten pounds heavier. Typically these folks can use an alternating upper lower body routine and need about four days rest between workouts. They also have to be scaled down further as they grow stronger so as to continue to make progress.

Then I have those who are on the other side of the spectrum, the high side. Let me give you a recent perfect example...I have a RUSerious student that I consult that hasn't stopped gaining muscle! He has gained so far (36 lbs-NOT, while writing this article he called me and now it is an even...) 40lbs of muscle in about 16 weeks training every 7 days, doing 3 sets for a 15 minute workout! He hasn't gained fat either people, it is hard! I personally have never made that kind of progress personally, amazing. He called me the other day and said...

"I have a problem."..."What is it?" I said... He goes "I just b! ought all new clothes and I haven't stopped gaining! My thighs measure 26 inches and I don't want them to get any bigger because I will have to buy new pants!"

WHAT A PROBLEM! I think every bodybuilder wishes that they could have a problem like that. I told him...

"Cut your leg workout down to once every four workouts and don't add any reps, just maintain." Not until we got him down to three sets did he start making those kinds of gains!

In fact, talk about gains...I had him doing dips as part of one of his workouts. He started with an assisted dip machine, one you stand on to help you do dips, so that your entire bodyweight is not used in doing the exercise. His last workout he did his bodyweight PLUS 90 pounds for 5 reps! And remember, he also gained 40 pounds so far.

This bodybuilder is the all star of genetics. He is on the other side of the spectrum but you don't know that until you apply the correct theory and principals. Typically someone like! this will be cut down to doing 1-2 sets every 4-10 days, depe! nding on their rate of progress. This individual will have to concentrate more on intensity techniques like rest pause, negatives and different contraction only exercises so that the contraction is more intense to keep progress moving along.

So, if you are training intensely, briefly and infrequently and are making strength gains you are moving along nicely. Your body can not get stronger without, at some point adding muscular bodyweight, based on your genetic potential. Be especially careful to manage the volume and frequency being applied.

Also, it is important to give your body a little extra to create the cement to lay that extra muscle down.

I am going to add a section from my book RUSerious below to help you determine how much extra cement you need. See below:


Please don't make this complicated, it isn't. Follow a well balanced diet, based on your caloric requirement. If you want to get an idea of what calories you require, take yo! ur body-weight and multiply it by 10. Then, multiply it by 2 and add to the last figure. i.e. 200 lbs x 10 = 2000 calories. 200 x 2 = 400. 400 + 2000 = 2400 calories for a 200 lb body.

Or, you can keep track of everything you eat for 3 days. At the end of 3 days, if you have not lost or gained, divide that by 3 and the result is your daily maintenance level. If you want to loose fat, decrease no more than 500 calories a day. If you want to gain, try increasing 250 a day over your daily maintenance in a balanced fashion. Below is a link that will give a wealth of information about what constitutes a well balanced diet....

Keep it simple, it is the stimulus and then the rest that creates muscle. The diet supplies the nutrients to accommodate the growth. Anything over that which is needed is excreted and in the case of macronutrients, laid down as body fat. As long as you continue gaining strength as documented as weight and reps in ! your log book, you are gaining muscle. In most cases a strengt! h gain w ill precede a muscular body weight gain.


In order to gain optimally it may be necessary to supply your body with additional calories in order to have the substance necessary to add additional muscle. Although it has been documented that extreme muscular gains have resulted on a deficit of calories present and those calories were borrowed from another source, such as a fat source, it is wiser to supply additional cement necessary to create that growth. I would suggest 250 calories in excess of your normal level or if you are extremely thin, 500 calories.


On a well balanced diet it is not necessary to add supplements; unless you feel that you are not maintaining a perfectly balanced diet. In this case try adding a multi vitamin/mineral tablet. This should work perfectly. Also, remember, we are mostly water, make certain that you drink enough water. A good rule of thumb I use is take your bodyweight, divide it by two and t! his is the amount of water you should be drinking. If you weight 200 lbs, drink 100 ounces of water a day.

Below is a great place to calculate it...

Again, as long as you are getting stronger, you are adding muscle. Muscle is gained in grams each day. A gram is equal to .035 oz. If you do your math you will see it is almost non recognizable to see on a daily basis that kind of a gain. Your bodyweight may vary based on different variables like holding water or a hair cut. The only way that you can accurately monitor your progress is by your strength.

To your strength, health and wholeness!

Bill Sahli is a 35 year X Competitive Bodybuilder, Trainer, Author and Life Coach. Bill is author of the E-book "R U Serious ®?" and Audio Tele Seminar - High Intensity Mindset. He is available for personal instruction on a limited basis! . He has trained bodybuilders, athletes, professions, the hand! icapped & both men and women. His amazing techniques save hours in the gym, with most clients training 15-30 minutes within a week, allowing them to reach their goals in record time. You can reach Bill at

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