Genetics, not steroids, captain the ship when pertaining to the direction, pace, and ultimately distance one will go in bodybuilding. Message boards are flooded with questions and theories as to what stack Mr. Olympia uses pre-contest, how much of Drug A,B,C, and D he takes, etc. What people consistently fail to realize is that pro bodybuilders are among the genetic elite. Sure, they may take more hormones than most, but at the end of the day, if all drugs and supplements were taken out of the equation of bodybuilding, guess who would still be winning shows? The answer to this question will always be the genetic elite.
(Lee Priest at 16 years old)
Take Kevin Levrone as an example. He would literally come off of all supplements, and stop training and eating like a bodybuilder after shows, and would shrink back down to the size of a normal human being. However, come pre contest, Kevin would hit the weights and supplements, and would transform into a piece of bodybuilding art in record time. The average human could take ten times the amount Kevin took, work ten times harder, etc. and still would not be able to match the level of his physique.
The same principle can also be applied to two bodybuilders with different genetics. We’ll call these two guys Joe Blow and John Doe. Let’s say Joe has insane genetics, and John has ok genetics. Both are training partners; take the same drug protocol, etc. In one year’s time Joe is significantly ahead of John physique-wise. John also notices that Joe sometimes skips a meal or a workout, yet he still has a superior physique. John can’t understand why this is, and even ‘ups the dose’ at an attempt to catch Joe; but to no avail. No matter what John does, it just seems that things come so much faster and easier to Joe. This is a clear example of the crucial role genetics play in bodybuilding.
We have all seen a genetic freak, whether he competes in bodybuilding or not. These people seem to have the blood of Zeus pumping through their veins. They are the ones who are super athletic, abnormally muscular, stay ridiculously lean, nicknamed something like “Ox” and are just basically men amongst boys. However, bodybuilding genetics are comprised of more than just sheer size and strength. One with superior bodybuilding genetics will possess coveted qualities such as a wasp-like waist, wide clavicles, small waist, large muscle bellies, insane vascularity, freaky proportions, etc.
One thing that seems to always get lost in discussion is that those with good genetics do NOT have to rely on as many drugs as someone with less than stellar genetics. People just cannot seem to fathom that most of these guys may not take as rumored. It is a blow to the ego of the guy at the gym who is pumping tons of gear when he hears that his favorite pro is taking far less. This guy uses his advanced bro science to denounce those crazy lower dose claims, and to justify his heavy use with the theory that if it takes him that much to be the biggest guy at his gym, then the pros have to be taking as much or more than him. This is where the old cliché of “More is not always better” comes in. The genetic superiors not only possess great genetics, but most importantly, they respond to gear extremely well (a la Levrone).
Unless that mad scientist in Siberia has determined the method at altering one’s genetic code, there is nothing one can do to change his genetics. Like us other mere mortals, all we can do is put in the time and work and play with the hand we were dealt, and be the best we can be. Of course there are some successful bodybuilders that may not possess stellar genetics like his fellow competitors. This guy overcame and compensated with hard work, and that’s refreshing to see that hard work does pay off in that sense. However, as a whole, the NPC is flooded with mythological creatures with Herculean genetics, so it is rare to see someone with subpar genetics gracing the stage of a pro show. If you do happen to be one of the few descendants of Zeus or some other God/Goddess, be grateful and reap the fruits of your labor they have blessed you with.