T Nation

Improving Genetic Lineage


... Crossed my mind and I honestly have no idea so I thought i'd ask.

Hypothetical situation, lets say that you are initially a nerd, unathletic & uncoordinated and remain that way most of your life.

Eventually you stumble into the weight room sometime in college, you make great gains, form an impressive physique, you take up powerlifting get pretty damn strong and live quite a healthy lifestyle.

In your late 20's, early 30s- you supplment with some Vitamin "S" to gain a youthful edge, but its only for your own sake not to gain a competitive edge. You're disciplined, strong, fit, healthy, get regular blood work, and have reached well beyond your genetical potential.

It's now your mid to late 30's, you and the wife (who went through a similar transformation) have a child...

  • Would that child be destined to undergo the same transformation you endured (nerd to athlete) or would your full exploitation of your genetic potential pay off so that your child is naturally athletic/talented?

  • How much of that athleticism do you think is based not on genetic potential but rather being raised in a more strength oriented environment?


That theory of genetics has been discounted long ago. Scientists do not believe that acquired traits can be passed on. But a child raised in a home where fitness and athleticism is put at a premium might fully exploit their own gentic potential from the getgo.


Along with that, someone who was skinny most of their life but blew up in the weight room later on still has the genes to do so. It simply took training to bring them out. I was a skinny kid. No one would believe it now, but due to not having enough food available and no regular access to a weight room, I was pretty small until college. Once I started eating more with the football team and training regularly (pretty much any day the gym was open), I gained size quickly. Genetics are about how your body responds, not just what you walked onto the planet with.

I wouldn't be surprised if any kids I had were fairly small early on and then gained muscle as they got older. Flex Wheeler was skinny and so was Lou Ferrigno before they started weight training. They simpy responded well to it once they began.


I have to agree with X and jsbrook. Physical changes aren't passed on, but the potential of said traits are.


My father is 5'6". My mother is 5'7". Both of them have pretty naturally thick builds.

I'm 6'4" and this summer I weighed 170 pounds (up to 185 since I've been stuffing my face and hitting weights hard).

How's that for passing on genetics traits?


On that same note, I have noticed some bodyparts keep growing while others slow down. For myself I had pretty small legs when I sarted lifting with a thicker upper body, 10 years later my legs are still growing while most everything is starting to slow down. The point is if I never trained I would have said I had poor genetics for legs yet now they are one of my best bodypart. -T



I think it depends on what you mean by 'genetic': Environmental influence on gene expression blurs the distinction between nature and nurture here. There was a link to a cool article posted on the site that must not be named lest we incur the wrath of Zeb:


Practically speaking, kids who do complex sports kick ass throughout their later lives. I often wish that my parents had forced me to keep doing gymnastics when I was a kid; I wouldn't be starting at it from square one at age 21.


I'm sure you have had access to food and information about nutrition that they never had. Give them the exact same things you received (hormone-richer beef included) and I am pretty sure there would not be such a big difference in the end.

Heck, I'm just short of 6 feet and teens are taller than me on average.


I think he was referring to he is tall/lanky and his parents are short/stocky. I could be wrong.


Easy...ur adopted and no one told U.


That could very well be too. Average height (mesomorphic or endormorphic) parents must ask themselves questions when their child turns out to be an ectmorpoh (tall and skinny). But given that some traits appear every 2 generations, lesser frequency, and/or are subject to dominant/recessive gene expression ... nature can be surprising.


Thank u gentleman this has been enlightening... And Happy New Year :slight_smile:


It might be better to define genetics not as specifics, but ranges. A person may develop one way if they grow up in an athletic and nutritiously conscious household, and another if they grew up in a McDonalds for every meal, and X-Box for the workout household.

(To tell the truth, my upbringing is closer to the second.)

My genes are ok for muscle, and unfortunately good for fat too. Because of my genetics, I know I could never have Platz's legs, Sergio Olivia's, or Jessica Alba's butt. (Damn I want Jessica Alba's butt. Stupid restraining order.) But I do know that I can probably build better then the average person could.

You can't change your genetics, yet, but it is often more flexible then most realize.


What does the mailman look like?