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Designer Genes

There’s no question that your genetic makeup governs your bodybuilding results. I didn’t say “success” because no matter what your genetics, once you start weight training consistently, you’ll gain some muscle size and strength and improve your health. That’s success in my book. In competitive bodybuilding, however, genetic factors rule the winner’s circle.

Michael Lockett, the ’06 NPC Team Universe champion, is a prime example. Fifteen months before that competition he hadn’t performed a single weight-training rep. He was a boxer, and, thanks to his genetics, he’d added muscle to his frame merely from sparring, bag work and calisthenics. He could tell, as could others, that he had a propensity for building muscle—and in all the right places to be competitive onstage. With encouragement from his family and friends, Lockett decided to give it a shot, and after less than a year and a half of serious bodybuilding training, he’s the proud owner of an IFBB pro card.

Lockett’s story is amazing, as you’ll see when you read David Young’s interview with this incredible drug-free athlete, which begins on page 180 of the June ’07 issue of IRON MAN. You’ll learn a lot about the mind-set of a champion, as well as his training ideas and program—but be careful. One of the big mistakes up-and-coming bodybuilders make is copying the programs of the genetic elite.

Even I’ve made that mistake, and not just as a beginner. I remember training with Arnold in his competitive days at the original Gold’s Gym. When he began a serious contest-training phase, his physique changed almost from workout to workout. I figured that he must know the secret, so I went along for the ride, every exercise and every set. I thought I’d get bigger, but all I got were lots of aches, pains and a serious case of overtraining after only a few weeks. Yes, Arnold had discovered the secret—for his body and elite genetics.

We’re all individuals, and discovering what works for you is part of the bodybuilding challenge, part of the journey. It’s the reason we present different training ideas and programs in every issue of IRON MAN. Experimentation in the gym is imperative if you want to improve your bodybuilding results. You can be successful just by being persistent in your workouts—you’ll tone up and get healthier. If you want to take your muscular development to the brink of your genetic potential, however, you’ll have to train harder and smarter, discovering your individual requirements for adding size and strength. It’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding. And like a diligent, motivating training partner, IRON MAN is here to help you every step of the way. IM

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