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living well

living well


wellness photoGENES AND THE GYM
By Allyson Marrs

It's a question that's been asked countless times. How much control do we really have? Nature or nurture? Heredity or lifestyle?

When it comes to our bodies, how much say do we have? "There is an expression that says genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger," said Bellevue Club registered dietitian Laurelee Misseghers.

So while genes have an absolute effect on disease—such as cancer—many people wonder whether their struggle with weight is something they're simply born with. If you ask BC nutritionists, the answer is no, you were not born that way.

"The bottom line is our genes have 'capabilities' to run marathons, or be a healthy weight or get heart disease, but those genes may or may not be expressed due to environmental factors," Cindy Farricker, BC registered dietitian, said. "The biggest environmental factor is our diet."

As Laurelee's analogy suggests, a person's body may be preloaded with certain features—in this case, body shape and "problem" areas—but the way that person chooses to live can either make these qualities take precedence or give the person more control.

Your mother, her mother and her mother may all have wider hips, so you may as well, but that doesn't mean you're destined to have excess weight gain there. Rather, you can be fit and toned, with a different body shape. There are too many factors that will have an influence on this—the kinds of food you eat, how often you work out, the amount of sleep you get, your stress levels and so many more—to completely predict what will work.

"The field of epigenetics studies shows us that genes are influenced by environmental factors, and this is a huge determinant in everything about us. A gene may lay dormant or be expressed a little or a lot depending on environmental factors," Cindy said.

While body types vary—short torsos, long legs, thick thighs, round hips—nutrition and activity impact everything. Exercise will help you build strong bones, reduce your blood pressure (which can be hereditary) and, of course, blast fat.

Similarly, eating the right foods for you (think about any allergies, such as gluten, dairy, etc.) will change the way your body performs and looks. You may not be able to change your underlying frame, but you can influence the canvas and elements of the mechanics that keep you going.

This is why when making big changes to your overall health and wellness through fitness and nutrition it's best to consult the experts. Always talk to your doctor about the steps you need to follow, and rely on the resources right here at the Club.

Registered dietitians are here to answer any questions about the impact of food on your body, and trainers work with you, and your unique body, to get the results you need.

If you're looking for a tailor-made program that covers all of these aspects, with the addition of a personal cardio coach, Your Body Your Life is for you. If you think it might be a fit, call 425-688-3461 or email for more information.


The Bellevue Club offers a variety of wellness programs, classes and seminars. In addition, if you want a more individualized approach, the Club's award-winning Your Body Your Life program might be for you. Call 425-688-3461 or email for more information.


The Bellevue Club offers a variety of wellness programs, classes and seminars. From personal training to nutrition to life coaching, we have experts who can help you realize whole body wellness.

The Club's Your Body Your Life program can help you find the track you need. If you think it might be for you, give us a call at 425-688-3461 or email for more information.


Wellness Center: 425-688-3461 |

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