You might have heard the expression that someone has ‘good genes’ meaning that they look good, and certainly genetics can play a major part in determining certain health issues. But what about athletic strength being not just to do with the right training but a genetic advantage? According to a new study, how strong you are might be an in-built characteristic of your makeup. If you’re lacking the right genetic component then the good news is that you can still improve your personal performance and fitness levels with the right strength training.
Polish research from the University of Szczecin suggests that some people may have a genetic predisposition to make them excel at power sports, such as sprinting, jumping and power lifting. Their findings are based on DNA samples from 100 power athletes, 123 endurance athletes and 344 non-athletes. In this instance, ‘athlete’ related to elite athletes who had completed in professional competitions such as World and European Championships, World Cups and Olympic Games.
The study suggest that a variant of the AGT gene was more prevalent in the athletes than the non-athletes, who were more likely to have two sets of ‘C’ allele inherited from both parents. The CC genotype of the AGT gene was identified in 40% of the power athletes, 13% of endurance athletes and 18% of non-athletes. One explanation for the impact on powersports may be that the AGT gene is involved in regulated blood pressure and balancing salts and fluids, while the CC genotype increases angiotensin II which is involved in muscle performance.
Of course while such genetics may potentially create born athletes, this cannot detract from the sheer determination, single-minded effort and motivation that is cultivated in top athletes, whatever their innate physical strengths. While they may have the innate potential, it is unlocking this talent that makes all the difference and this is achieved through a good diet and expert training.
Power of the mind
Unless of course you want to be at the very top of your game, in a professional capacity, not having this potentially power-boosting genotype does not have to hold you back from achieving your personal goals. Many people have reached amazing goals and made a difference to themselves and those around them through the power of their attitude and approach. Ask any athlete about their success and whilst talent counts, they will often say it is their belief in themselves and their will which has propelled them on to a powerful performance.
If anything, this study gives individuals ever more reason not to look at their own abilities in relation to others but on their own merits. There will always be someone next to you in the gym who is stronger. Perhaps they have the CC genotype and you don’t. Perhaps they are genetically at an advantage from the start or perhaps you have yet to tap into your inherent strengths. Rather than feel bad if you’re not doing as well as the next guy in power sports is to accept that equalling them simply might not be possible. However, this can inspire you to focus on yourself and not make too many comparisons with others.
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