Training sport scientists

Published on January 17th, 2014 | by Joe Starks

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Athletic Science: Genetics VS Effort

Often we feel demoralized when it comes to sports because we consider our frame and build to be wrong for that specific sport we’d like to do. The question then comes to mind: are genetics that much more important than hard work when it comes to performing well in sports and the gym? Should we just hang our hat and give up because we weren’t born a natural athlete? Or do we all have a “Rocky Balboa” inside us, ready to face any odds and win? In this article of athletic science we’ll try to answer the question of who wins: genetics or hard work?

The importance of genetics

The answer to this question is far more complicated than we’d probably like. When it comes to professional sports, athletes work so hard to reach certain ideals that some people are clearly benefiting from their genetic build.

Tall athletes playing basketball, short athletes lifting weights easier, we all have heard the stereotype and there sadly is a lot of truth in it. Height is probably one of the most important genetic factors that might determine whether you can be excellent at a sport or not.

The trick is to be happy with a sport that you could easily do at your height. All heights can have an ideal sport. Or you can fight against the odds and be great without having a genetic advantage, which sadly is rare.

Science has proven that some people do respond faster to exercise. This means that with the same amount of exercise, some people grow more muscular than others. This means that a few of us need to put in double or thrice the effort to be as good as others, which won’t be doable at an Olympic level.

So, sadly yes, when it comes to the best of athletes, genetics did help them get there.

The importance of hard work

No athlete became great because he/she was born with certain genes. Every great athlete put in their share of hours in the gym. Hard work is a necessary component of being a good athlete.

Every one of us can become a fitter and stronger person through hard work. Even if you’re not built perfectly for a sport, you can compensate with hard work and become great. If you are determined enough you might even overcome natural talent with hard work alone. It has happened plenty of times in the world of sports. Just remember that we are talking about seriously hard work here.

Everybody can have a great set of muscles to show off. Whatever your height and build, you’ll look better if you are the fittest you can be. Not only that, but more importantly, you probably will be happier too. It is no secret that fitter people do more often have a higher quality of life than unfit counterparts. You will have higher chances to have a healthy love life and to raise healthy offspring if you are fitter.

Most important of all, fitter people often avoid getting some diseases that could cut their life short. It is harder to get a heart attack or colon cancer if you are fit and eating well. Type II diabetes is also less common among fit people in comparison to the overweight. If you already suffer from a condition working out hard often can improve your life expectancy as well.

The answer to the question “genetics vs. hard work” can’t be given in so few words sadly. The best we can do is to say we need a balance of both and when one is lacking we need more from the other.

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