Does genes affect how much you can change?

To describe a person’s characteristics or achievements we often hear “it’s in the genes”. It is quite natural, and we can see with the naked eye that high parents often have high children, for example. Many of us also believe that other traits is inherited. Good and bad qualities. That it only follows the family. There is little you can do about it; we are just born that way.

The link between genes and disease

For many decades, researcers have investegated which genes cause vulnerability to disease, physical and mental. Moreover, which genes associate with different personal characteristics. It was believed that our genetic material would reveal these connections, but so far, the results are disappointing: we are not very able to identify genes for obesity, addiction, ADHD, depression, and the like. We are nowhere near finding genes for self-discipline, personality, or motivation.

Do we inherit school performance?

In a summary study the researchers could determine that less than fifteen per cent of children’s inherite school performance through specific genes, and that more than 85 per cent of the genes for school performance can not be found. And how these genes affect school performance, we are nowhere near understanding yet. We can see that body height is hereditary, but researchers can only find around twenty per cent of the genes that determine the height. Then 80 per cent remains. That is why there has long been talked about a crisis in genetic research; we know that many traits are hereditary. Large studies have been conducted with many hundreds of thousands of participants, but we are struggling to find the specific genes.

How do the genes affect your training effect?

So how is this related to your training? First, if you think that your limit to getting in better shape lies in your genes, then you are probably wrong. Everyone is born with an enormous potential for positive development; the body is exceptionally malleable and adaptable. No one is born in bad shape, but many strive to take advantage of the body’s receptivity to become stronger, more agile, more enduring.

All bodies are trainable

Secondly, research indicates that your fitness level is in your hands, not in your genetic material. If you manage to complete high-intensity training sessions a couple of times a week, your body will quickly respond to this and start processes that make you in better shape. Plus, you will feel better, and you will be in a better mood.

In other words, it is useless to think that one is born un athletic, lazy, or with other limitations. It is not written in the stars, or the genes, what level of physical fitness you should have. All bodies are trainable, including yours. Test it, and you will quickly find that it likes to be challenged.

Passion for exercise

Frode Stenseng, professor of Psychology

Do you want to avoid yo-yo training this year? And rather find long-lasting joy in completing your sessions? Then you should apply for a harmonious passion for exercise. Here, Professor of Psychology, Frode Stenseng, explains how harmonious or compulsive passion can mean a lot to our experience of exercising.

Passion for 4×4 this year?

Think about whether 4×4 intervals can be your passion this year? Something that you look forward to doing and that you are happy to clear space for in everyday life. The training becomes part of who you are; become part of your personality and identity.

What is harmonic passion?

Professor Robert J. Vallerand believe that passion for exercise is mainly good for you. However, it depends on what variant of passion you have. If it is harmonious passion or compulsive passion. The harmonious passion is an interest that is unproblematic for the person. It is in balance with other interests and tasks in life and provides positive experiences entirely independent of achievements. On the other hand, we characterize compulsive passion by a strong focus on performance. As well as, comparisons with others and that the interest often conflicts with other activities and relationships.

What passion do you have for training?

Through several dozen studies and by developing The Passion Scale, Vallerand shows how passion connects to other factors related to exercise. This scale measures two types of passions. People with these two different passions spend the same amount of time on the activity, but they experience very different training outcomes. For instance, a harmoniously passionate person experience positive emotions when they exercise and after exercise. On the other hand, a compulsive passionate person often feels guilty and ashamed while exercising and often experiences failure after exercise.

Make exercise a positive part of yourself

You may want to ask yourself, what kind of passion do I want to have? Moreover, do you want a type of passion that becomes a positive part of yourself and gives you joy in training? Contrary, a more stressful variant where you whip yourself through the training sessions? Our own research shows how obsessive-compulsive disorder associates with burnout, family and work conflicts, and poor self-esteem.

Creating a harmonious passion is mostly about thinking about training as a positive part of oneself. The training should become something you want to develop and appreciate. Instead of you looking for external pressure to carry out your workout. The next article will talk more about “growth” vs “Fixed” mindset regarding passion.

The truth about weight and diets

Do you want simple tips to regulate your weight? Despite countless dietary advice and diets out there, your diet to maintain a healthy weight does not have to be difficult at all. The truth is that nutrition and weight control are much easier than many people think.


Weight control is very easy

To be able to keep track of the highly complex relationship between food (that is, kilocalories (kcal) in) and energy consumed, you have a fantastic tool; a weight scale! If you gain weight, you have overeaten and/or moved too little. That’s how simple it actually is. Since I’m not going to sell you a “miracle cure”, I do not have the same need to make this more complicated than it actually is. It is almost impossible not to overeat if you are inactive. You must have a minimum of physical activity to ensure a natural regulation of food intake in relation to energy consumption.

Eat what you want!

In principle, almost all food is healthy, and all food is unhealthy. You can practically eat what you want whenever you want; if the energy is consumed, it is not dangerous. If you take in more nutrients than you consume, all the excess energy will be stored as fat. This is the case, even if it is healthy proteins, healthy carbohydrates or healthy fatty acids. If you do not stay active, it can have very negative health consequences. On the other hand, trained fat is not very dangerous, so when it smells like bacon, you are on the right track!

The relation between diet and activity

An active person consumes 2500-3000 kcal a day, while an inactive person only uses 1800-2000 kcal. A top athlete can get up to 8-9000 kcal per day. A food intake, for example, of 2500 kcal per day, will have completely different consequences for the three groups. The sofa wearer will constantly put on weight if he does not increase his activity level, while the active person keeps his weight or loses weight without changing his activity habits. For the top athlete, such an intake will make up less than 1/3 of the daily requirement, leading to acute hunger and dramatic consequences for further training.

Do not fear carbohydrates and fats

We all have our own engine that carries us around, and this can be measured in the form of your maximum oxygen uptake. That is, how good cardio levels are. When you eat food, you get the fuel for the engine. The most essential nutrients are carbohydrates (sugar) and fats, as the human engine usually uses a mixture of carbohydrates and fats as fuel. The intensity and duration of the work will determine the distribution. From rest and up to 80-90% of maximum oxygen uptake, there will always be a mixture. At higher intensities, only carbohydrates are used.

What about proteins?

Proteins are first and foremost “building blocks” in the body’s cells. In our daily activity, we can almost ignore proteins as fuel. However, in the event of prolonged hunger and during particularly prolonged physical activity, they can, to a certain extent, be included as “reserve provisions” for the limited stores of carbohydrates (5-10%). For every gram of protein, 4 kcal is released. Protein intake in excess, therefore, also leads to obesity!

What type of exercise burns the most?

Several studies show that you can improve your ability to convert fat by doing low-intensity work over a longer period of time (long-distance running, 50-80% of maximum heart rate). This allows you to work for a longer period of time before the carbohydrate stores run out (“glycogen saving”). On the other hand, recent research shows that the most important factor for total fat metabolism in the body is maximum oxygen uptake. Therefore, the paradox is that the best way to increase maximum oxygen uptake is interval training at high intensity, i.e. only carbohydrate conversion. The result of such training, on the other hand, is that your increased work capacity makes you a better fat burner in all your other activities.

weight and exercise

To perform in training, you are dependent on carbohydrates.

Your performance will be highly dependent on how large carbohydrate stores you have when the work begins. Diets high in fat and protein will reduce carbohydrate stores to a minimum, leading to reduced work intensity and rapid fatigue/exhaustion. If you want to be sure that the carbohydrate stores are at their peak, you can exercise slowly for 3 days combined with a large intake of carbohydrates and water.

If you want to secure a carbohydrate-rich food, you can do the following;

  • 2 meals with bread/cereal every day
  • Dark bread
  • Cereal mixture
  • Lots of accessories for hot dishes
  • Pasta / rice / noodles / potatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Juice
  • Sports bar / biscuits / yoghurt

Tips for losing weight

If, on the other hand, you want to lose weight, you do not need to have full carbohydrate stores all the time. Full bearings last for three interval sessions 4×4 min. But do not try easy cures that only remove the carbohydrate stores. There are no shortcuts here. You need to eat less and/or consume more!  Unfortunately, the debate is characterized by unskilled spokespeople, but perhaps you do not want to know the truth? “Eat slim”, wonder pills that “remove fat”, “electrical stimulation makes it “unnecessary” to move, expensive diets, etc. Do not be fooled! Do not fear reason; this is your best advice if you really want to bring about lasting behavioral changes for weight control and a better lifestyle.

How little can you exercise and still get away with it?

Life is most of the time hectic and in periods even more so. To make the schedule more straightforward for you to add up, we would like to tell you how little you can exercise in these hectic periods and still “get away with it”.

Exercise to maintain your fitness level

It is well-known that you should exercise regularly to stay fit. But, the great news is, it takes much less to maintain a good fitness level than to create it! It depends on your starting point, but most of us manage to keep both strength and fitness levels in a hectic period of two-three weeks, with an interval workout and a strength workout a week – as long as this is done heavily enough.

You should exercise smart and efficiently

Håkon Hov, physiotherapist and exercise physiologist at Myworkout, encourages you to not fall into this trap:


“Do not fall into the trap of training at low intensity because then you can train more frequently – remember that intensity trumps quantity! This is really the whole point of intensive long intervals and heavy strength training; you get a lot more in return for the work you do.” 

Starting point and progression

How fast you can improve your fitness level depends on your starting point. The worse shape you are in, the less work it takes for you to breathe heavily, and you will have faster progress. The same principle applies when it comes to strength training. The weaker you are when you get started, the more rapid progress you will have!

Take more control of your time

Fortunately, the whole year is not as hectic, and it is easier to “take control” over your time. Use this time wisely concerning your training. Build yourself up with strength and conditioning training. You will be even more efficient, even during these periods, if you know what you are doing. Here is an effective exercise program you can follow.

“With 2-3 training sessions a week, most people will increase their endurance (vo2max). In fact, most people eventually become “20 years old”. The same goes for strength training.”

Håkon Hov

The moral is whatever: in the hectic periods of life – do what is most brilliant and most effective. Exercise a little heavier because then you can tolerate exercising a little less and still maintain your fitness level.