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Could laziness be Genetic?

Posted on April 23 2022

Could some people be born athletes?

Why do some people enjoy activities like marathons, triathlons, cycling, etc. but others can’t even stand at the idea of even looking at people running?

Well, broadly speaking, there are two different types of muscle cells in the body. They are Type 1 and Type 2 muscles.

People who are born with excess Type 1 muscle cells also have an excess of an enzyme called Lipoprotein Lipase. This enzyme helps in the breakdown of body fat as fuel and hence helps in sustaining long endurance-based activities like marathons, long-distance cycling, etc. Basically, any activity that lasts for over 60 minutes and is moderate intensity sustained for a long time.

But, people with excess Type 2 muscle cells lack this enzyme. Thus, they are much better at short- bursts of activities (some examples mentioned below) instead of endurance-based activities that last for hours together.

Type 2 fiber dominant people favor Crossfit, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and strength training. However, they are really bad at activities like long-distance running.

Now, that is not to say that if you train yourself regularly, over time, you can develop more Type 1 or Type 2 muscle cells (though genetics does play a prominent role here).

The primary point of this newsletter, hence, remains that if you hate a particular kind of activity, it is not really because you’re lazy, it is, in fact, biology. It is just that you only have one type of muscle cells, over the other.

So what should I do?

Don’t blame yourself for falling off a wagon you had no business getting onto in the first place. What you can instead just do, is pick a different form of fitness to suit your body and muscle cells. Yoga feels boring? Try CrossFit or Running or Cricket or Karate.

I remember struggling to lose weight in my teens and my trainer would put me on the treadmill for endless hours. I hated going to the gym and resented exercise for the next 5 years!

It was only years later that I discovered strength training and instantly fell in love with the same! I have tried a few 10km runs since then but always do it as an annual challenge I need to tick on my list. I don’t look forward to training for the same.

All I’m trying to say is, if you don’t like one type of fitness activity, don’t generalize it for disliking “fitness”.

Maybe you are biologically designed for something else. Pick a new fitness activity and try something new instead. Every way is a good way to get in shape. There is no one way to getting fit.

Trust this helps,

Roshni Sanghvi.

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