Training and Supplementation According to Genetics

One of the most commonly asked questions among athletes has to do with the influence that genetics have over sports performance. There are several aspects to consider in this regard.
Training and Supplementation According to Genetics

Last update: 16 June, 2019

We’ve heard countless times that the genetic load that people inherit determines their life. It influences their intelligence levels, interests, and preferences, as well as their personality traits. Genetics also play a role in sports performance and physical abilities. However, even though genetics do have a part in that, they don’t determine it completely.

High-performance athletes seek to benefit from the information that’s stored in their genes. At the same time, they work to modify it and optimize their performance.

Training is an essential aspect to achieve these goals. With the available information, athletes can plan every aspect from how often they work out to the kind of exercises they should prioritize. They should always do this with their objectives in mind.

Diet is another key element. A balanced diet is an indispensable requirement for a healthy life. And the same thing happens in sports; athletes need to eat correctly if they want to reach the peak of their sports performance.

Any person can achieve outstanding performance levels by learning about their genetic load and using that information to consume the right supplements.

What’s more defining: talent or consistency?

This is one of the most common questions within the sports world, especially in high-performance competitions. But, even though the debate has been going on for many years now, the conclusions are not satisfying for everyone.

In practice, both factors are important. While talent can ‘win medals’, rising to glory is an almost impossible mission without training.

Throughout history, we can find many cases of talented athletes who, due to their lack of perseverance and discipline, never developed their full potential. Likewise, there are people who, no matter how hard they try, will never reach the elite category.

In some sports, genetics can really make a difference. One of the clearest examples is basketball. People who have very tall parents have a higher chance of succeeding on the court. Of course, being over six foot tall is not a guarantee for success; the same way that being under 5’10” is not synonymous with failure.

Runnes jumping over a fence

Types of muscle fibers according to genetics

Beyond height and physical build, genetics also determine the profile of the type of physical activity that athletes are more likely to perform well in. We could say that leaning towards endurance sports (long duration) or explosive sports (strength or speed) is something we inherit from our parents.

There are two different types of muscle fibers that we can receive within our genetic load. On one side, we have slow or red fibers. These fibers are very resistant to fatigue. On the other side, fast or white muscle fibers can generate a lot of strength in very short periods of time.

The first group of fibers influences positively in long-duration competitions. However, they’re not too fast when it comes to oxidizing the fats from which they get their energy, which is why their explosive capacity is pretty much non-existent. The opposite thing happens with the second group: they get energized in short periods of time, but they get tired just as quickly.

People who inherited from their parents a genetic load with a large presence of slow fibers usually do better at marathons and cycling journeys. In the other hand, those who possess genes with a higher number of fast fibers go for speed competitions such as the 100 meters.

Genetic testing

These tests are meant to identify the genetic map of each person. Even though they almost always offer predictable results, sometimes they can detect a few surprises.

After all, anyone who has worked out throughout their life knows whether they do better in aerobic or anaerobic activities. This natural predisposition can even define our preference for either group.

Scientist lookign at a DNA sample to learn about genetics and their role in training and supplementation

With the right counseling, this information can be very useful. For example, it facilitates the management of recovery times and the appropriate detection of nutritional requirements. And it allows athletes to optimize their physical abilities and significantly reduce their risk of injuries.

The map sheet that you get from your genetic information also includes some aspects of your daily life. An example of this is the number of hours that you should set apart to rest and sleep. And last but not least, the number of daily calories that you must consume in each meal–is another piece of information that you can get from your genetics.

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