Jul 25, 2014

It's not just genetics

I was visiting with a friend not long ago and she commented on how good I look post pregnancy. She told me, "You're lucky that you have such good genetics."

While I am proud of how I look just two months after giving birth, I worked hard for this body. I had to remind her that I taught fitness classes up until the day I went into labor. As a matter of fact, I was supposed to teach two classes on the day I gave birth! Not only did I maintain a strict workout schedule throughout my pregnancy, but I returned to exercising and teaching as soon as I felt my body was ready (about 3 weeks postpartum).

Again she said "Yeah, it's genetic."

I didn't think much of her statements until my drive home. I realized that I was kind of offended.  Why couldn't my hard work be validated? Yes, my mom and my grandma are both in excellent shape (you can read about them here) but they too workout 5-6 days a week.

Unless keeping a strict workout schedule is genetic, my body is absolutely a product of the work and food that I put into it. Whether it be diet or exercise, my lifestyle dictates my healthy physique.

Do we have a propensity toward the same circumstances as our parents and grandparents?

Absolutely. However, we also have the ability to change that propensity. For instance, if you're family is prone to heart disease, it's extra important to pay attention to your cardiovascular health. If diabetes runs in your family, pay attention to how much sugar is in your diet. Substance abuse, cancer, you name it, we all have someone in our past with some kind of disease or illness.

We are also all given the freedom of choice. You can look at your parents and say "Oh, they're unhealthy so I'm automatically going to be unhealthy too." Or you can change your genetic make-up. 

You can eat healthy, workout, get your behavior in check. You make your priorities, not your parents, not your grandparents. We can make an excuse for absolutely everything.

Yes, I'm fortunate to be a fitness instructor. Since I get paid to workout, I don't really have an excuse to be out of shape or to skip a workout. But never do I think "Oh boy, I'm lucky I have such great genetics!"

It's not luck. It's hard work. And dedication. And commitment to making healthy choices on a daily basis for me and my family. I'm more than genetics. 

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