Genetics, surroundings

The study of epigenetics claims that we can change the way our DNA expresses. What this means is, that by changing our surroundings – what we do, eat, how long we sleep, and where all of that takes place – we can effectively change our potential.

This is still limited, but nontheless heartwarming. I have heard numerous times lines sounding like “he grew so fast, must have good genes”. Most of the times it has nothing to do with your genes. Perserverence and training smart. There is no shortcut.

Why I say this is limited? Because no matter how hard an averege person trains, they will never reach the athletic capabilities of Lance Armstrong, Rich Froning or Micheal Phelps. Those are the kind of people with amazing recovery rates. Training five times a day and improving, instead of doing damage to your body isn’t just a case of eating a ton of calories. Make no mistake, potential exists, but attributing someone else’s accomplishments to it isn’t fair. They work just as hard, if not harder, than other top-level athletes, they are just as smart, and conscious about their training. It just so happens that they have the right genes for it too.

Notice that those are extreme cases. Athletes that are one of a kind in the entire world. I don’t think we can throw around phrases in the gym like “he’s got better genes”, in small enviorments genes make little diffrence, the way they express is much more important. That can be manipulated to suit our goals. Don’t blame your genes, blame yourself for not being smart about your training, for missing a meal or for not getting enough sleep.

I have purposely avoided talking about performance enhancing drugs – regarding aforementioned athletes – in this entry because this is a topic that deserves a separate article.

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3 thoughts on “Genetics, surroundings

  1. But isn’t it hard to tell who, among the top professional athletes, is really healthy and able, since they’re all eating a ton of legal and illegal pharmaceuticals to artificially enhance their results?

    I.e. you could take a random healthy guy, stuff him with pills and needles and told him to train his ass off and he’d turn up as good as any of them – or in any case, you may never be sure if that could be so.

    Plus, the guys you mentioned are really good at just one thing – which is hardly what an average person should be striving for. What about the potential to cope in many different physically and mentally demanding scenarios?

    • That’s just it. You couldn’t take a random healthy guy, put him on gear and expect to create a top-level athlete. They are on top not because they are using PEDs, but because they are talented, discplined and focused. Pharmaceuticals enhance their results, like you said, they do not create those results. They supplement their regimented lifestyles.

      If anyone could hop on gear and become a reknown athlete, there would be a lot of more people doing it. Meanwhile only around .00005% of US population were or are proffesional athletes. Mind you, not all of them are using PEDs. Naturally, most of US citiznes aren’t healthy, but the point still stands. There is more to athletic success than being on steroids.

      One thing? Rich Froning is THE jack of all trades when it comes to fitness, as for the other ones – I can bet you that Armstrong could outrun your averege Joe and Phelps outlift him. They were focused on some given discpline, but that doesn’t mean they were lacking in other areas so much that it lead to being unhealthy.

      • Thank you for elaborating.

        Sure enough I still laugh at people sometimes when they say that all the good sports people are going to be almost handicapped when they get older because of how they strain their bodies with training and drugs. In most cases the notion is just ridiculous.

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