T Nation

Gauging Your Genetic Gift

I see the term "genetically gifted" used often on T-Nation, and it's usually referring to pro athletes. 

How would you gauge your own personal genetic gift?

I was able to throw a 92mph fastball at the age of 17 and was drafted out of HS by a major league team. (went to college on scholarship instead and decided baseball wasn’t for me anymore)

Does this make me genetically gifted? Are most pro athletes genetically gifted? or could it possibly be that they train year round? Does constant training enhance your genetics?

[quote]Extol wrote:
I see the term “genetically gifted” used often on T-Nation, and it’s usually referring to pro athletes.

How would you gauge your own personal genetic gift?

I was able to throw a 92mph fastball at the age of 17 and was drafted out of HS by a major league team. (went to college on scholarship instead and decided baseball wasn’t for me anymore)

Does this make me genetically gifted? Are most pro athletes genetically gifted? or could it possibly be that they train year round? Does constant training enhance your genetics?[/quote]

just to warn you before hand, this is a touchy topic. I’m not sure if anyone really knows a real way to guage your genetic gifts/potential. You might not get a straight answer.

There is a way of gauging genetic potential. You go through high school and college and out of those who are interested in sports the best are chosen and so on. Obviously much has to do with desire and motivation, but you can be sure that most pro athletes are genetically predisposed to excel in those activities.

[quote]Majin wrote:
There is a way of gauging genetic potential. You go through high school and college and out of those who are interested in sports the best are chosen and so on. Obviously much has to do with desire and motivation, but you can be sure that most pro athletes are genetically predisposed to excel in those activities.[/quote]

I was chosen as one of those best, but I decided not to stay with it. I excelled in every sport I played, though I chose baseball because it was most fun to me.

Are you saying that they are predisposed to excel in those specific sports? or general physical activities in general?

Well there’s obviously no ‘baseball gene’ but certain people have biomechanical and neural ‘advantages’ when it comes to certain activities.

You don’t necessarily have to be advantageous in only one sport because all sports are physical activities and therefore overlap.

You were good at sports - great, congratulations. But to say that now you have some bragging rights and whatever comes you can always put on a noble face and go “Well back in the day I was chosen cause I was the best of the best of the bestestest…”. Capital Naaah.

[quote]Majin wrote:
Well there’s obviously no ‘baseball gene’ but certain people have biomechanical and neural ‘advantages’ when it comes to certain activities.

You don’t necessarily have to be advantageous in only one sport because all sports are physical activities and therefore overlap.

You were good at sports - great, congratulations. But to say that now you have some bragging rights and whatever comes you can always put on a noble face and go “Well back in the day I was chosen cause I was the best of the best of the bestestest…”. Capital Naaah. [/quote]

Not what I was trying to do, rather I was to understand how I should gauge my development and to determine how I should train. Many of the articles say “for the normal people” or non genetically gifted, this usually works better. Also some gain muscle faster than others.

I have never been able to get into heavy lifting until recently, I like to know a lot about what I’m doing if I am going to do it, it’s the ammo to the gun.

Its not the sport, rather its the skills required. I am predominantly fast twitch muscle fibres.

I guessed this because when I played tennis throughout my teens I had a very fast serve by any standards. I am very heavily involved in the martial arts and when I was at 66kg was told I hit harder than a ex professional light heavy weight.

If you put me in any situation that requires high levels of aerobic endurance I get my ass handed to me however. different strokes for different folks.

If your asking what your genetics are your likely either predominantly fast twitch or have well developed fast twitch fibre due to prior physical activity.

[quote]OMC wrote:
Its not the sport, rather its the skills required. I am predominantly fast twitch muscle fibres.

I guessed this because when I played tennis throughout my teens I had a very fast serve by any standards. I am very heavily involved in the martial arts and when I was at 66kg was told I hit harder than a ex professional light heavy weight.

If you put me in any situation that requires high levels of aerobic endurance I get my ass handed to me however. different strokes for different folks.

If your asking what your genetics are your likely either predominantly fast twitch or have well developed fast twitch fibre due to prior physical activity.[/quote]

Do you have a hard time gaining mass?

[quote]Extol wrote:
I see the term “genetically gifted” used often on T-Nation, and it’s usually referring to pro athletes.
[/quote]

I disagree. I feel the authors of T-Nation (well educated individuals) collectively don’t say that “genetically gifted people should do A and B” and “non-genetically gifted people should do C and D”.

In fact, I have not read this here once. There is a good reason for this - they are not stupid like yourself. Yes, I have read some authors alluding to certain top bodybuilders or athletes as being gifted, but never have they put us (the readers) in a position where we must judge our own gifts.

They (unlike you) realize there is no ‘geneticsmeter’ and they (unlike you once again) realize there is an inherent cognitive bias in someone measuring his or her own genetic aptitude. That is, people are more likely to attribute their failings or lack of success to a factor they cannot control (e.g. genetics) and their success to factors they can control (e.g. intensity of workout or overall effort).

This is the same thing as people saying “they cant get big.” They feel it is a consequence of their genetics, but time and time again, T-Nation authors have told them off for being cry babies, and said something like “perhaps a marginal percentage of the population indeed “cannot get big”, but you yourself should not assume you are one of them.”

As for your gloating about being a great baseball player, and then more gloating about being a great overall athlete: it is nauseating and not needed. I don’t see what the point of this thread is…

I would have to say that you find out how “genetically gifted” you are by running into your limits, same as everyone else.

Of course, gifted is entirely contextual, as a person gifted with the ability to hyperplase slow twitch muscle probably doesn’t belong in a shotput competition.

Each of us has tried a bunch of stuff out, found out how far we can go, how heavy we can lift, how often we can lift and under differing conditions such as little or no sleep, lack of adequate food no supplementation or the reverse of those situations.

When you narrow down exactly what it you want to accomplish, and learn the skills to accomplish it, you can begin get an understanding of how gifted you by how long it takes to get where you wanted to be as compared to someone else or a a population of someone-elses.

That’s the general you, not you, you.

Most of us are not genetically gifted. That’s what gifted means - unusually lucky to get big just from picking your nose. We are average. What takes us out of average-ness is the amount of effort we’re willing to put into using what we’ve got and make something more out of it.

The best genetics in the world won’t do anything for you if all you use them for is slouching back and forth to kitchen to get another beer and nachos.

Screw genetics. Hard work and knowledge is what makes the difference.

[quote]Contach wrote:
Extol wrote:
I see the term “genetically gifted” used often on T-Nation, and it’s usually referring to pro athletes.

I disagree. I feel the authors of T-Nation (well educated individuals) collectively don’t say that “genetically gifted people should do A and B” and non-genetically gifted people should do C and D".

In fact, I have not read this here once. There is a good reason for this - they are not stupid like yourself. Yes, I have read some authors alluding to certain top bodybuilders or athletes as being gifted, but never have they put us (the readers) in a position where we must judge our own gifts.

They (unlike you) realize there is no ‘geneticsmeter’ and they (unlike you once again) realize there is an inherent cognitive bias in someone measuring his or her own genetic aptitude. That is, people are more likely to attribute their failings or lack of success to a factor they cannot control (e.g. genetics) and their success to factors they can control (e.g. intensity of workout or overall effort).

This is the same thing as people saying “they cant get big.” They feel it is a consequence of their genetics, but time and time again, T-Nation authors have told them off for being cry babies, and said something like “perhaps a marginal percentage of the population indeed “cannot get big”, but you yourself should not assume you are one of them.”

As for your gloating about being a great baseball player, and then more gloating about being a great overall athlete: it is nauseating and not needed. I don’t see what the point of this threat is…
[/quote]

Now I see why TC made the ATOMIC DOG: Tonight We Dine in Hell thread…

I never gloated, I never claimed to be anything great, I just wrote down information I felt was relevant to the quest I proposed. so fuck off

And you are wrong about the authors not ever mentioning it. I wouldn’t have made this post if I hadn’t have read it numerous times.

People’s body types (aka GENETICS) respond differently to different training, I was trying to avoid trial and error if someone with superior knowledge on the subject (obviously not you) were to have a solution to my question.

[quote]skidmark wrote:
I would have to say that you find out how “genetically gifted” you are by running into your limits, same as everyone else.

Of course, gifted is entirely contextual, as a person gifted with the ability to hyperplase slow twitch muscle probably doesn’t belong in a shotput competition.

Each of us has tried a bunch of stuff out, found out how far we can go, how heavy we can lift, how often we can lift and under differing conditions such as little or no sleep, lack of adequate food no supplementation or the reverse of those situations.

When you narrow down exactly what it you want to accomplish, and learn the skills to accomplish it, you can begin get an understanding of how gifted you by how long it takes to get where you wanted to be as compared to someone else or a a population of someone-elses.

That’s the general you, not you, you.

Most of us are not genetically gifted. That’s what gifted means - unusually lucky to get big just from picking your nose. We are average. What takes us out of average-ness is the amount of effort we’re willing to put into using what we’ve got and make something more out of it.

The best genetics in the world won’t do anything for you if all you use them for is slouching back and forth to kitchen to get another beer and nachos.

Screw genetics. Hard work and knowledge is what makes the difference.[/quote]

Thank you, that’s more along the lines of a response that I had hoped for.

I agree about hard work and knowledge, which is why I made this post, I want to have the knowledge to not waste my hard work. I think that’s pretty sensible

I guess my questions can only be answered by trial and error, if only things were as simple as asking questions!

[quote]Extol wrote:

I guess my questions can only be answered by trial and error, if only things were as simple as asking questions!

[/quote]

I think what is worrisome to others is that you didn’t realize this from the start. You find out where your gifts are by pushing the limits and finding how far you can get to.

No one can look at some untrained person and determine what they are capable of. That is like looking at a classroom full of 6 year olds and pointing out who the engineers, doctors and lawyers will be.

You also can’t discount how far determination and drive can take someone.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
<<< No one can look at some untrained person and determine what they are capable of. >>>[/quote]

I’m beginning to think I made this mistake with myself to some extent. Being scrawny until I started training in my late 20’s I assumed that I was genetically average at best. Maybe I was genetically better than I thought.

There was a link to something Poliquin wrote recently about determining in a general way what someones bias toward fiber type may be.

It was along the lines of- Test an atheletes 10 rep max, then have them repeat this again in a short period of time(30 sec.).
The ones who can come close or perform the set again are more slow twitch dominant, and the ones who can only perform a fraction of the previous are fast twitch.

I’ll look for the link to the article.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
There was a link to something Poliquin wrote recently about determining in a general way what someones bias toward fiber type may be.

It was along the lines of- Test an atheletes 10 rep max, then have them repeat this again in a short period of time(30 sec.).
The ones who can come close or perform the set again are more slow twitch dominant, and the ones who can only perform a fraction of the previous are fast twitch.

I’ll look for the link to the article.
[/quote]

All of that is another thing a lifter determines over time. I know I am fast twitch dominant because I fatigue quickly but can produce a lot of strength for shorter periods. It helps in terms of building muscle because I don’t need to train for very long. I just lift as heavy as possible, leave and go eat.

Considering the potential change of fast twitch to slow twitch (one more reason to avoid working on all out endurance if the goal is to build as much size as genetically possible until you have built a very solid base) it makes a “test” only temporarily significant.

O.K., so I fubard that concept, but found the link.

www.maxmuscle.com/index.cfm?fa=article&doc_id=193&subcat=performance_conditioning

This is just a small peice of an entire system though.

FWIW- I can understand what you mean about wanting to determine genetic tendency. I wasted a lot of time in the higher rep ranges. It wasn’t until I started training with an s&c coach that was taught by Poliquin that this changed. He quickly spotted that I was much better suited toward lower rep/explosive types of training.

Extol, the negative feedback you are getting is because it seems like you are bragging about your talent.

This is because it is unclear how the example you used of yourself helps illuminate your question. Also, your question itself is vague.

Instead of “genetically gifted”, did you mean gauging your fast to slow twitch fiber ratio, as suggested earlier? Or something else?

There are a lot of qualities that make someone a better athlete and there are different genetic gifts. If you want better responses, give us more to work with. What sport do you want to get into? What are your current stats? What type of training have you done in the past and how have you responded to it?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
SkyzykS wrote:
There was a link to something Poliquin wrote recently about determining in a general way what someones bias toward fiber type may be.

It was along the lines of- Test an atheletes 10 rep max, then have them repeat this again in a short period of time(30 sec.).
The ones who can come close or perform the set again are more slow twitch dominant, and the ones who can only perform a fraction of the previous are fast twitch.

I’ll look for the link to the article.

All of that is another thing a lifter determines over time. I know I am fast twitch dominant because I fatigue quickly but can produce a lot of strength for shorter periods. It helps in terms of building muscle because I don’t need to train for very long. I just lift as heavy as possible, leave and go eat.

Considering the potential change of fast twitch to slow twitch (one more reason to avoid working on all out endurance if the goal is to build as much size as genetically possible until you have built a very solid base) it makes a “test” only temporarily significant.[/quote]

Some people may observe that over time, but admittedly, I am a knuckle head sometimes. More specificaly, I have a tendency to draw faulty conclusions.

When I started lifting again after a long break through my early 20’s, I was hitting the typical hypertrophy protocols- 8-12 rep range, strip sets, all of the standard stuff that works for a good many people. It worked for me to a point too.

It was when it stopped working, and I didn’t know why, that I became frustrated. This is the same frustration and faulty conclusion that I see a lot on these boards. Guys are hitting the same rep ranges, and plateauing at about the same max effort, without taking in to consideration that they are working against their own natural tendency to build strength and muscle.

So, it may just be a temporary indicator, but hopefully, it can swing him in the right direction.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Some people may observe that over time, but admittedly, I am a knuckle head sometimes. More specificaly, I have a tendency to draw faulty conclusions.

When I started lifting again after a long break through my early 20’s, I was hitting the typical hypertrophy protocols- 8-12 rep range, strip sets, all of the standard stuff that works for a good many people. It worked for me to a point too.

It was when it stopped working, and I didn’t know why, that I became frustrated. This is the same frustration and faulty conclusion that I see a lot on these boards. Guys are hitting the same rep ranges, and plateauing at about the same max effort, without taking in to consideration that they are working against their own natural tendency to build strength and muscle.

So, it may just be a temporary indicator, but hopefully, it can swing him in the right direction.[/quote]

I’ve seen similar on these forums and, basically, that is what separates someone’s training age from the time they have been “in a weight room”. I was never one of those who would have latched onto only one author or trainer and followed every word to my own detriment.

From talking to many bigger guys, it was clear from the start that was more than one way to reach a goal and I had to find out where I personally fit into that entire scheme of genetics and ability. Over time, I found that I respond better on most body parts to heavier weight and lower reps.

The ONLY reason I am increasing my rep range now is because I have the size and am working on refining what I have and bringing up lagging areas.