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For those interested in athletics, we are without a doubt living during exciting times.  During the 100m sprint of the summer Olympics last year we witnessed numerous firsts, including 7 of 8 athletes running sub 10 seconds, the top 5 running sub 9.9, and the top 3 running sub 9.8 seconds.  Lifting records continue to be broken, professional athletes in team sports are turning in amazing performances on an almost weekly basis, and you know what I have to say? So what.

The human condition is one of the most fascinating things in the world to me, but what I find intriguing is not what has been or is currently being done, but what could be done.  I didn’t write this article to hold your hand and make you feel good about yourself.  I wrote this to light a fire under your ass and get you moving towards YOUR true potential.  Right now, somewhere out “there” is an athlete that is bigger, stronger, and faster than you.  And if by chance Adrian Peterson, Usain Bolt, Benedikt Magnusson, or Lebron James find this article in their hands, there is a crop of athletes out “there” that have the potential to be bigger, faster, stronger, and better.  So are you going to quit, or are you going to compete?  It’s time to stop sitting around and gawking at what other people are doing and start putting in work towards achieving something yourself.

“But Coach Burgess, ‘they’ are just so much better/cooler/more amazing than me.”  Screw that!  Get your mind off of your genetic floor, and start looking towards your genetic ceiling.  So what if you weren’t born to squat 900 pounds?  Don’t use that as an excuse to not work towards 600, 700, or even 800 pounds.  Just because you aren’t the 1% of the 1% doesn’t mean you should give up.  And for you team sport athletes battling for roster spots, stop worrying about the guy in the locker next to you.  Can you honestly say to yourself that, at this moment, you’re as fast, strong, and athletic as you’re truly capable of?  If the answer is no, then go to work!  Everyday wake up on fire to go to bed that night a better version of yourself, and then repeat that process daily.

No one else on earth is like you.  They haven’t walked in your shoes, gone through your trials and tribulations, or experienced your joys.  So why the hell are you wasting your time trying to be like ‘them’?  Become the best version of yourself, not some second rate version of another person.  Enhance your strengths and attack your weaknesses.  If you commit right now to grinding way and getting just 1% better every damn day, in a year you’ll be almost 400% improved.  Greatness is daily- it doesn’t just happen in a day.  Shun the short term pleasure, instant gratification culture we’ve become, and sacrifice- I mean truly commit- to something greater.  Can I guarantee success? Hell no.  Only one thing in this life is guaranteed: you will die.  Yep, that’ll actually happen (shocking).  So it comes down to how you want to enjoy your ride.  Do you want to sleep walk through the weeks, being entertained by others, punching the clock in a job of daily mediocrity?  Or do you want to compete for something more?  Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.

Coach Ryan Burgess is a physical preparation coach in San Diego, CA who specializes in working with football athletes.  A former collegiate football player himself, Coach Burgess has trained hundreds of youth, high school, and collegiate football players as well as dozens of NFL athletes.  In addition to coaching, in 2011 he began competing as an amateur strongman and recently started competing in powerlifting.  He can be contacted through his website at www.CoachBurgess.com

9 Responses to “Screw Your Genetics”

April 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm, David Ricci said:

Great article! Heard Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina RB who had 2 major knee surgeries) says, “Adversity is when a man gets introduced to himself” So true


April 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm, Ryan Burgess said:

Thanks David! As one of my college teammates said, “Everything I’m not made me everything I am.”


April 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm, Friday 130419 | CrossFit NYC said:

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April 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm, Adam L said:

One correction – if you get 1% better everyday, you’ll be 3778% better by the end of the year. Compound interest baby! Your point remains valid though.


April 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm, Robert Mauck said:


Exactly what we need to hear. If you can’t beat yourself day to day or year to year good luck beating r competitors. I believe this article is very critical for the youth of today. I always tell my nephew “there is only one you and nobody else on this planet can be a better you than you. I tell him to work a being his best and let others wonder what the crap is that kid doing to get so good. ” I have worked with Coach Burgess and he is amazingly direct and focused to help you achieve your goals . The Loveland Titans thank you!


April 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm, Ryan Burgess said:

Thanks for the feedback fellas…

Adam, you’re exactly right- by inching forward, you’re by definition concurrently moving away from where you once were, so it definitely compounds!!

Great stuff Robert, I love the message you’re sending to your nephew, and I agree that the sooner kids and people in general can learn this lesson, the better off they’ll be. Looking forward to seeing you guys again this summer!


April 25, 2013 at 1:00 am, Thursday 4/25/13 - Train to Fight GravityDerby City CrossFit | DarkSide Strength | Louisville said:

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April 26, 2013 at 8:49 pm, You Are The Best Thing! | Crossfit North Pacific said:

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May 07, 2013 at 8:11 pm, CoachBurgess.com » » Screw Your Genetics said:

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