Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 21, 2018
There has always been a raging philosophical debate in this world centered around a couple modes of thinking….does a person become who they are through the environment they live in or are they inherently born with these thoughts and ideas? This is commonly brought up when people talk about some pretty big “isms” in society such as racism, sexism and elitism. We have seen various forms of this argument crop up from some recent incidents in the news, such as the mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas where the perpetrator might have planned and executed his deadly attack because a girl rejected his romantic advances. Or how about the lawyer in New York that has a pretty long history of racist and belligerent diatribes (on video mind you, this is not just hearsay) yet has the audacity to post on his law website that he is a part of a multi-lingual firm (though that might be the other partners, not him)? A lot of websites are stating the current trend of toxic masculinity has taught young men like the Santa Fe shooter to believe all women owe them something while many pontificate the behaviors of the current president has made people like the New York lawyer more bold in their outward racist diatribes. It is hard to really say but both men may be the result of both sides of these arguments. The young man from Texas—described as somewhat likable and inoffensive—probably snapped when he learned the awful truth that being polite is not always going to get you the girl (a harsh truth I have learned many a times over). The current climate of male revenge might have struck him as “cool” and “fashionable” and apparently could not finish the supposed final act of committing suicide. As for the lawyer, it might be more of a case of nature, that he has always been a racist and the fact that Neo Nazi and Alt-Right movements are gaining some traction has given him a bigger support system to spout out his personal feelings.
Now before this becomes a thesis paper suitable for some third tier political website, we kind of have an understanding on the differences with this philosophy. The ability of physical prowess is not exactly bereft of this argument either, for we have to look at the science behind whether an athlete can be created or an athlete can be born. We can use someone like Herschel Walker (who I love talking about way too much) who wasn’t necessarily born a great athlete but worked his butt off everyday as a kid because he was tired of being looked down on. He naturally became one of the best college athletes to ever play the game of football. Or how about someone like baseball player Adam Dunn. Born from a long line of strong, Texas ranch boys, Dunn was one of the best home run hitters in the history of baseball. He was so naturally strong and tough that he rarely worked out. Needless to say if Dunn had put a little work into the gym, he might have slugged 600 home runs and maybe had a better batting average to boot. This is how the two competing philosophies somewhat intersect. Both were decent if not run of the mill pro athletes, with one man working every stinking day to maintain his ability while the other guy talked about eating massive amounts of eggs and bacon and lifting bails of hay as his “training regimen.” Both men are borderline hall of famers in their respective sports and both men have muddied perspectives about their roles in their sport. But both offer a perfect counterbalance to the argument.
It is difficult to really state how much our genes play a role in our genetic makeup, but I have posted several studies over the years that have stated some pretty harsh stats…the healthier your parents are when you are conceived, the healthier and stronger you will most likely be. Some studies even indicated that if men conceived children later in their lives, their children seem to be more prone to congenital disorders! Now this is not all set in stone, but this is why I generally believe the nurture side of the argument. Time and again, I have written in this blog and typically stand by the mantra that a child typically inherits their behaviors directly through visual and physical stimuli. While you can say that Lebron James, Jr. (who is already being talked about en masse on social media) will most likely inherit his father’s size and strength, he is still going to have to put in the work if he even wants to make it in the college game. You can only go so far with name and genetics…just ask Michael Jordan’s sons or maybe Pete Rose, Jr.
When you look on the internet, many people are going to state that nature is the true determinant of athletic prowess, that being born of athletic parents is all you really need. Sure, yeah, that is all good and dandy. Truth be told, I cannot really attest to how good I could have been in sports. Truthfully I was never really pushed in sports, probably because there were some moments during my parent’s early days of their business where we did not have a comprehensive health insurance. I certainly had the size and the shoulders to have become a good lineman in football or possibly a good field athlete in track and field. Either way, I never was that good of an athlete to begin with, but I suppose if I had become a coach or something I could have been pretty good at that, because one thing I did learn was the ability to solve problems as they cropped up and evolved. That is not something most people are born with, for they learn that behavior and for me I learned it because the life of a contractor has many unusual things getting in the way (like all of the pitfalls I ran into when running a circuit in Jon and Christa’s home).
Needless to say, this particular debate is always used as a perfect segue into a sports story or any story involving a young extraordinaire. When mentioning an athlete the announcers are always pointing out the athletic feats of their parents. When someone wins the Nobel prize, the merits of their smart parents are also pointed out. When you see the video of a kid completing three Rubik’s cubes in five minutes—while juggling them—the camera is constantly showing his supposedly brilliant father. https://www.facebook.com/shanghaiist/videos/567837453602857/However, all of these things have to be learned and perfected, and this is why you can’t just jump into something like Olympic weightlifting without some form of practice and structure. Heck, even simple things like the back squat and the bench press have to be learned properly. So yes, it is good to have good genes, but you still need to build that athlete inside of you.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.