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Genetics Load The Gun, Lifestyle Pulls The Trigger

Genetics Load the gun, Lifestyle pulls the trigger

How has your week been?

The weekend is just around the corner and this weekend I will get to relax a little after our boot camp on Saturday afternoon.

Last weekend, I was in the classroom for both days as I started my post grad diploma in sports nutrition which was hosted by Laurent Bannock of

It was great to be in the room with 24 other like minded individuals, all thirsty to learn more about nutrition.

There was a great mix of professionals in the room….a sports science lecturer, a British rowing coach, physiotherapists, osteopaths and a load of personal trainers and strength & conditioning coaches. There were also a couple of guest lecturers, Scott Robinson who is currently studying for his PhD and Dr. Graeme Close who is the sports nutritionist for many top sports teams including Liverpool FC and Munster Rugby.

So much valuable information to take home but it was a key phrase that I heard that has been going through my mind since last weekend that is relevant for us all.

“Genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger”

I’m sure you can get the gist of this but let me tell you what I think this means –

We are all born with certain genetics, certain physical attributes, good and bad. This we can’t change. What we can do is maximise the genetics we have been given. Am extraordinary naturally gifted athlete can get away with exercising poorly and eating a poor, nutrient-free diet and still look and feel fairly good. Such is life.

For the rest of us mere mortals, we have to work hard at the basics to achieve optimal health but when we do, you will be amazed at the results your body can achieve. Of course, those individuals with genes that would make even Brad Pitt and Jessica Ennis jealous, when they do work hard, these guys can potentially be Olympic athletes. When I say work hard I mean train for years with the correct nutrition and coaching.

Certain people may have a history of illness or disease in the family but I think they can sometimes be too quick to use this as an excuse as to why they can’t get in shape or eat the way they do.

Example – Client says he has high blood pressure and is over weight and has always struggled with his weight and diet but there is nothing he can do as his parents and siblings all suffer from the same conditions and his grandparents died of heart disease. It is true that certain people are genetically predisposed to certain conditions but they don’t HAVE to be a victim of this.

Their lifestyle will determine what happens to them and that is entirely in the individuals hands. Yes, they perhaps have a higher chance of getting a certain condition but too many people use this as an excuse to eat poorly and not exercise with the mentality that they will get ill anyway so what’s the point. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy and when they do become ill they say “told you so, nothing I could have done, it was genetic or hereditary. 

In the majority of cases, this is simply not true

“Genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger”


Going back to my point about getting the basics correct, well what are the basics?

I believe they consist of the following –

1) Good quality nutrient dense food source. (organic whenever possible)

2) A diet rich in protein, essentials fats and a rainbow selection of vegetable sources and wise choices of carbohydrates if needed/earned.

3) 7-9hrs of quality sleep every night.

4) 3 litres of fresh mineral water every day.

5) Consistent, progressive resistance training 3-5 times per week. High intensity interval training, once or twice per week.

6) A high quality vitamin and mineral supplement.

Last but not least, a PMA – positive mental attitude about life and everything that happens to us.

Try mastering the basics and don’t allow yourself to be ruled by your so called genetics or what you think might be hereditary.




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