So the question I would like to state is “how much control do we have, over who we are?” What I mean by this is do we choose to be math majors, Olympic weightlifters, and ultra distance runners or are we “pre-programmed” to do them. How many times have you heard someone claim that is was their genetics that was to blame for their inability to do something? Is it my parents and grandparents fault that I don’t have a 30″ vertical jump or am I just lazy and don’t train hard enough?
So before I go any further, lets throw down some definitions of terms that will be used. I will use wikipedia for most of these, if you have issues with wikipedia go ahead and find your own source, personally I like the idea of an “open source” encyclopedia.
Genes– holds the information to pass genetic traits to offspring. Like the color of your eyes and skin.
A phenotype is any observable characteristic of your genes. Like building muscle due to weight training.
A genetic determinist believe that genes are the ultimate deciders and they in fact influence your phenotype.
The phenotypic plasticity concept builds on the idea that we have a wide variety of genes and our lifestyle and environment ultimately determine who and how we are.
Art De Vany’s blog once posted on identical twins with virtually identical genes but strikingly different physiques. Meet Otto and Ewald. Both are track athletes, Otto focused on the distance events while his brother Ewald was primarily field events.
Again same genes, but a much different expression of those genes. Now think about how these two guys lifestyles differed from each other, one training extended durations in the same modality, the other training brief maximum efforts at a variety of items. We can only imagine how their diets differed…
At the other end we have phenomenal athletes, lets say 14 time Olympic gold medal swimmers hitting a bong and eating 12000 kcal a day… I would not expect to have gold medal winning genes be expressed through that type of behavior..
How many of you consider yourselves athletes? Then again what is an athlete? How about somebody who regularly trains to be better and more skillful at a sport? If thats the case every single one of you are athletes.