Survival of the Fittest


by Matt Meinrod

What’s the real reason guys don’t make gains? Is it training intensity or programming? Is it not starting young enough? Is it having access to the right kind of drugs? Or is it everyone’s favorite excuse for their shortcomings: Genetics? Darwin established over a hundred years ago what nature already knew – the strong survive. And that concept unequivocally holds true in bodybuilding.

They say genetics can only take you so far. How actually true is this? Title IX and Affirmative Action have leveled the playing field in social problems throughout the past half century. Unless you’re working with an IQ under 100, everyone in the sport of bodybuilding is afforded to the same information as the next guy. Yet some guys simply do not grow. Could this be nature having it’s way again?

If two people enter the gym at the same time and train the exact same way, eat the exact same way, and use the same exact drugs for 10 straight years, shouldn’t the gains be parallel? Obviously we know this isn’t the case. Are some people just destined to be stronger than another man? How much can we account for someone’s drive to succeed and will to win factor in to the outcome of their efforts?

Kai Greene is one of the leaders of the movement in bodybuilding that truly believes you have to believe in order to achieve. He would never say that Phil Heath has superior genetics or has some kind of pharmacological advantage over him. Phil may have the edge for now in terms of who wins or who loses, but the difference between Kai Greene’s mentality to grow, to win, and to succeed, far outweighs the average pro bodybuilder that has all but given up hopes of ever making it to the final callout at a pro show.

It leads me to another point on the flight or fight mechanism in Darwin’s Theory. Every pro in the IFBB had to fight at some point in their career to make it to professional status. But once they get to the peak of their careers often times something slips. They lose that drive and begin to retreat. Did they ever have the killer instinct in the first place or was it simply pseudo drive and focus to get them to an otherwise unfinished marathon? Only the true strong forces of nature have not only the physical ability, but mental fortitude to set a goal, take action, and see that goal through all the way until the end.

A lot of people hate on Kai Greene for doing some otherwise unscrupulous acts to survive his way through poverty in the early part of his career. But before you throw stones one should ask yourself: How far would you be willing to go in order to reach that goal you first set out on years before? Did you really think that childhood dream was going to be easy to attain? Most people give up. Most people end up in jobs they never even knew existed when they were studying algebra in high school. Did you ever stop and wonder why or how you got into a lifestyle or situation you aren’t happy about? Is this merely a stepping stone to something better or have you settled?

Bodybuilding is a metaphor for life. If you’re not making gains think about what kind of person are you. Are you constantly making excuses? Are you envious of how others are living? Do you wish you had the physique you always imagined, but have given up? You need to ask yourself why and what can be done to regroup, get back on the horse, and run through the finish line.
Before you make another excuse or blame your shortcomings on time or genetics – stop and take stock of your goals and what you’re doing to achieve them. Everything is reachable; everything is attainable if you have the drive, determination, and focus to get you there. The distractions will cease to exist once you realize nothing else matters. But you have to want it. Life isn’t going to ask you if you’re ready. You have to tell that little voice inside of your head that keeps telling you, “give up,” that it’s time. Dominate your life. Be strong. Don’t just survive – be the strongest. Be the best.