Monday, April 28, 2014

The Genetic Breakdown

   It's that time of year again... bathing suit shopping! So you get the Victoria Secret and Venus catalogs in the mail, or are you peruse all the cute new styles online and tag your favorites ones. You think, this is my year, I've been working really hard and I'm going to rock this bikini! It arrives in the mail... and you don't look like the model in the picture. Before you get discouraged and down on yourself or you really ramp up your training program and diet, take a breather. First, are you 5 foot 9 inches? Is your full time job modeling? Do you have a personal trainer and nutritionist at your beck and call 24/7? Do you have someone to photoshop and airbrush your pictures? ...Probably not. Because you are a real person, not a model who is created to look perfect. Now, be honest with yourself; has your training started to slack or have you fallen off the wagon a little bit with your healthy eating habits? It's ok if you have, everyone does at some point, it's part of life. You just always have to pick yourself up, tell you that you can do it, and get back on track. Another reason you may not look like that model; genetics.

   Genetics play a huge role in body type. I'm not saying that you should use genetics as an excuse, but it does deserve some understanding. Genetics decide where you hold onto fat, how quickly you burn it, if you have long and lean muscles or short and thicker ones, if you are great at running or if you can squat your body weight with ease. Genetics are the one part of your routine you cannot modify, but you can work with what you have and the first step to that is accepting it. You should never bash your body image... if you are unhappy with what you see in the mirror, change it! Genetics is the reason that you may shed excess fat in certain places quickly while other times it might not seem to budge as well as why you may build muscles or be able to run farther and faster than a friend. Don't forget; genetics for the most part decide your bone structure and your muscles attach to the bones, and fat sits on top of muscles. Wide hips bones or shoulders can't be whittled down just as a short person can't pilates their way into being tall. And what I mean by "for the most part"; there are always exceptions such as bone malformations, breaks, sprains, aging, etc.
The different body type breakdowns

   Here are a few examples of how genetics works; I am 5'2 and weigh around 140 pounds. I can't wear some t shirts because the arm holes are too small, and shopping for jeans is a nightmare because I have a small waist, a booty, and thunder thighs (not to mention the short legs!). My mom is a few inches taller, a few pounds heavier but she has very lean legs; she carries her excess weight in her stomach while I tend to carry it in my thigh area. Then there is my cousin... the girl runs miles on end, and I can barely run a 5K without wanting to die but while she can keep up with me in the weight room just fine, my biceps look huge compared to hers. We have distinctly different muscle types so while we have similar training schedules and both eat very healthy, she is more lean and I am more muscular looking. My point is, unless you are identical twins, it is not fair of you to compare yourself to others.

   As much as you may want to be a size 0 model that's tall with lean muscles, if it isn't in your genetic makeup, it isn't going to happen so learn to love what you have! I used to try everything to be able to get back into a size 2-3 jeans, but between my hips (which are bone, and not budging!!) and thick thighs, it just wasn't going to happen and once I came to accept this, I also became much happier with myself. I'm also an awful runner and while I know I may never run a marathon, that doesn't mean I don't set goals for myself to drop my mile time or run farther. I will never have a "thigh gap" but I can squat 3x my body weight and have some nice looking legs that are toned and strong. I will never have a 6 pack due to a scar across my stomach, but I have banging obliques. My point here is that to love your body, you need to focus more on the positive than the negative. You need to create realistic and healthy goals for yourself, and do what is best for you, not necessarily what is best for someone else.
The different body types imagery example

   Strong is the new skinny, and healthy is beautiful. Exercise won't only benefit your looks but your whole body. Never take for granted the results you can't see; exercise will help you sleep better and give you more energy so even if you have reached a point where your body may not change much more, never stop setting realistic and attainable goals for yourself. Exercise benefits your heart, brain, and internal organs as well as helps to flush out toxins and keep your skin glowing. As you can see in the above picture, none are exactly fat, just vary in shape. Each body is unique in the way it functions. Focus on the good, not on the bad.

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