Your Switchboard: Epigenetics

Simply engaging in water-cooler talk surrounding what one eats and what one does for training is often enough to rustle some feathers. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get an eye roll or two. It makes people defensive. Oddly, it’s a corner of the mind that forces ignorant sales people, marketing execs, auto mechanics, and school bus drivers alike to, all of the sudden, display their hidden talent as sports scientists. These men and women are quick to cite their unique cases against the training they don’t do, and provide detailed support for the healthy preferences they are ready and willing to take on. Strong opinions come rattling out liberally like bullets out of a machine gun.

One of the ways these faulty arguments are propped up is with a deterministic worldview that says we’re genetically stuck. People will claim allegiance to their parents’ body types, their birth rite as a slow person, or as an asymmetrically strong person. After all, aren’t these the cards they were dealt? Where these arguments tend to break down is with what we now understand as epigenetics.

The research is mounting miles high in support of the notion that, while our genetics are passed on to us in our DNA like our pseudo-sport scientist-marketing-execs at the water cooler will tell us, how they are expressed is up to us. Consider that the way the idea of epigenetics works is that your body’s genetic make-up works like a giant switchboard. Nearly any of the variable traits (outside of things like height, hair color, and eye color), including your body composition, strength, aerobic capacity, or athleticism, must be nurtured. If your entire family history is overweight, you sure may have the make-up for high body fat genetic expression, but this trait must be “turned on”. It’s up to you to turn that gene on or off with your behavior. This brings some more control in what can often feel like living in a deterministic world.

This, of course, begs the question, which genetic switches are you turning on? Or, if you’re the only family member that stands out in a particular way, which gene expressions are you turning off? What genes you invite to show up will be influenced by how you live and move throughout your life, and thankfully we aren’t servants to the hand we are dealt, so to speak. Epigenetics will call your bluff the next time you’re talking health and fitness at water-cooler. The ball is now back in your court.


Logan Gelbrich


11/21/17 WOD

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

10 DB Push Ups

15 Ring Rows

-Rest :90-


Then, complete 3 rounds for quality of:

10 Single Leg RDL (Ea)

20 Hollow Rocks

-Rest :90-



Then, complete 4 rounds for time of:

400m Run

-Rest 1 min-