Affecting my ultimate phenotypical expression, one day at a time, one moment at a time; this is how I envision my life choices.  Every action — and every non-action, too — carry consequences toward that end.  Are my actions at this moment positive, and life affirming?  If not, can something be done to change that, or at least mitigate the negative consequences?  Blaming a poor genetic “draw” is simply a cop-out; the genetic blueprint is certainly the beginning of the story, but hardly the end of the story.

Here’s a very cool epigenetic primer from the folks at the University of Utah’s Genetics Science Learning Center. Lots of information here,  packed into a tight, little under 5 minute bundle, and well worth the time.  Think of your genetic profile as merely the latticework upon which the sculptor will flesh-out his next work of art; the clay, the hands of the skilled artisan — these are analogous to the epigenetic factors over which you do have control.  Live each moment wisely; create your own masterpiece.  It’s well within your grasp.

Lean, strong and powerful; this is the artisan’s touch that I choose to put on my pre-determined latticework,such as it is.  And to that end, here’s yesterday’s early morning explosive iron session with some DB Creds and single-arm jerks:

DB creds + single-arm jerk: 70 x 5 each arm; 80 x 4 each arm; 90 x 3 each arm; 100 x 1 each arm; attempt 110 (rt arm), missed jerk, 100 x 1 lft. arm; 105 x 1, 1, 1 each arm (missed jerk on last set, lft. arm)

straight bar muscle-ups: bw x 3, each round

That’s a total of 8 rounds, or 24 total straight bar muscle-ups.  The cred + jerk sequence was a single-arm db snatch immediately followed by a single-arm split jerk.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Exercise epigenetics is fascinating. I wish it was discussed more.  You really can have that much impact on your body and it’s health.  Your fate is determined more by your social environment than the genes you were born with.  Check out “It Takes A Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick.”. I think you will enjoy it.

  2. “Every action — and every non-action, too — carry consequences toward that end.”

    I think that this is something lost on most people. Many individuals think that you can biologically/metabolically ‘tread water’ in as much as to them, their body looks little/none the worse from month to month or year to year – regardless of the amount of exercise undertaken and regardless of what is eaten. This gives the illusion that they cannot have done much/any damage and feel they are in not-too-bad shape for their lifestyle choice.

    You see this most often in the young who think that if they look lean – despite the poor diet, heavy drinking, lack of sleep and inadequate exercise/play – they cannot really be doing anything too detrimental to their health. And they are also under the idea that if they become obese as they get older, they have plenty of time to do something about it.

    But the dialogue with your body is ongoing. Damage is incremental and imperceptible from day to day. There IS perpetual adaption. From you body’s point of view ‘doing nothing’ IS ‘doing something’ and consequent adaption will occur – be it favourable or unfavourable. You cannot ‘opt out’ of this adaption.

    Best to steer a favourable course through life from the outset.

    • True, and very well put, Asclepius. No one can perceive the river’s on-going, day-to-day erosion of rock, and yet, eventually, canyons are carved from stone.

    • Isn’t this carelessness/(later, presumably learning from one’s mistakes) part of being young?

      In all seriousness though, I agree. I find that this concept — that if one can not see the effects, then there must be none — is the hardest for non-health enthusiasts to embrace.

      • LCR – yeah, definitely the case that part of being young is making and learning from mistakes. 🙂

        But the damage is subtle and compound. Many get to middle-age and realise how much damage they done but now have an insurmountable mountain to climb. I get it all the time that ‘life is too short’ blah blah blah….from people with frankly, low expectations of what age should bring in terms of physical and metabolic headroom.

        A few of my work colleagues have had heart trouble by their late 40s and have been told by their doctor to lose weight, take up exercise, eat healthily, eat less, stop smoking and stop drinking. For many people, just adopting one item from this little list would be daunting – but to take on all six is incredibly hard.

        If someone ever recommends this list to you, you are arguably already well on your way to completing the circle of life. This list notwithstanding the fact that the diet and exercise plan prescribed is likely to be self-defeating given that doing more means you cannot sustain the ‘eating less’ bit.

        Again, their is a mistaken belief that we are ‘treading water’ when doing ‘nothing’ and living hard, but the damage is subtle, compound and ongoing.

        I guess I classify myself as an “ill-health-unenthusiast” rather than a “health-enthusiast” as being healthy and active should be the norm rather than the exception it is seen as.

        • Agreed. Especially with the idea that, when one is required to change some many aspects of one’s life, it is a nearly insurmountable task. Many folks are stubborn I suppose and have a hard time grasping the long term benefits of diet and exercise.

  3. I’ve already heard a client say “what about this epigenetics thing…you mean I can’t change how I’m gonna be?” The excuses are starting to flow…missing the point entirely!
    Thanks again Keith, yet another post for me to show my clients the real deal.

  4. I have always hated the nature vs nurture debate. Can it not be both? Doesn’t the environment cause certain genes to be expressed instead of others?

    There is evidence now that babies are born with genes expressed that correlate with diabetes because their mothers drink so many soft drinks while they are pregnant. The epigenetic implications of this are enormous, as can be seen with the rise in childhood obesity.

    • Unfortunately, this is how most people view the world; either-or, black-white, true-false, win-lose. Critical thinking, compromise, commonalities, these are seen as weakness, fence-sitting, etc. It manifests in all aspects of life, and it’s really too bad.

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