Can Your DNA Determine Your Athletic Performance- Surprise!

There were many years; people thought it was impossible to complete the 100-meter sprint in less than 10 seconds. Then, in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, the American athlete Jim Hines shocked the world by breaking the 10-second barrier. His incredible world record of 9.95 seconds would remain unbroken for 15 years but was broken numerous times in the years after that. Which brings us to the question, can your DNA determine your athletic performance? I think it can. But let’s take a closer look. 

The current men’s world record for the 100-meter sprint is held by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt – set in 2009 with an astonishing timing of 9.58 seconds, a long way from the example set by Jim Hines.

Can Your DNA Determine Your Athletic Performance?

Improvements in research have increased since the first breaking of the 10-second barrier. Thousands of scientists have taken to studying athletic performances and discovering what makes an athlete stand out.

While the environment, nutrition, lifestyle, training, and motivation do play a significant role in determining our athletic potential, there’s also evidence that genetics have a substantial effect in determining how great of an athlete we are.

Why DNA Testing Matters

Although still controversial to some extent, the prospect of testing your DNA to assess your athletic ability and improve upon them is an exciting one. Many sports teams, coaches, and athletes have resorted to DNA testing to have a better understanding of their physical and mental abilities and analyze them. 

We know that your physical form, or somatotype, is significantly hereditary, and your genetics determine what kind of physical structure you will have. Knowing your genetic profile is vital because each somatotype responds differently to diets and training. Thus your genetic profile can help you identify precisely what kind of diet and training you need.

Along with your DNA test for athletic performance it will be important to know how you absorb nutrients. Proper nutrition is as important to an athlete as the performance itself. 

GxPerform: A Solution to Manage Your Athletic Performance

GxPerform is a DNA-based athletic performance solution that would analyze your genetic profile and offer you the best recommendations and training strategies based on your genotype. 

Here, at DNA Is The Way, we use GxPerform to look at several markers that indicate your athletic potential. Each of these markers influences your athletic abilities, and the genes that are responsible for these markers would, therefore, give you a better shot at managing your full potential.

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Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to the motivation that an athlete has, which is their meaningful personal rewards that fuel them. You may train more heavily or work harder to learn or utilize your full potential, and this would mean that you are intrinsically motivated. 

Research conducted by psychologists at Ohio State University suggests that factors that affect intrinsic motivation are learning ability and concentration, which are strongly influenced by genes.

Addictive Behavior and Stimulus

Your DNA plays a crucial role in determining the addictive behavior of humans to be addicted to drugs and alcohol or exercise for that matter. Researchers have shown that a person’s hereditary traits are half of the risk for a person to develop an addiction. Research has also shown that genetics help in determining genetic response to the stimulus.

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Power and Endurance Potential

The University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine researchers have identified a gene that regulates a human’s power and endurance potential. The study verified that the absence of the gene gives Olympic-level athletes an edge in endurance sports such as swimming.

Grip Strength and Muscular Fitness

Functional muscular fitness is essential for an athlete’s optimal performance, as is grip strength. Muscle strength and grip strength are clinical indicators of muscular fitness. 

A study carried out at the University of Cambridge in the UK proved that muscle strength is linked to 16 locations in the human genome, and play a crucial role in identifying your athletic prowess.

Testosterone Levels

In a study carried out in 2011 that involved more than 14,000 men, they discovered that small changes in a single gene resulted in low levels of testosterone in the blood. These changes are called ‘risk markers,’ and can be a reliable indicator of identifying men with lower testosterone levels.

VO2 Max

The maximum volume of oxygen that you consume when doing intense exercise is known as VO2 max. This marker greatly influences your inherent ability to work out without breaking a sweat and is significantly influenced by genetics. 

While VO2 max is also affected by external factors as training and weight loss, they also have a genetic component that widely determines your potential.

Exercise Heart Rate Response

A study conducted by the University of Guelph in Canada noticed genetic differences in receptors found in skeletal muscles in the body. The study involved measuring the heart rate and blood pressure of 200 people before and during a handgrip exercise. The results showed that the presence of the receptors caused a significant change in blood pressure responses during exercise. They concluded that heart rate and blood pressure responses are linked to genetic traits.

Exercise Stroke Volume

Stroke volume refers to the volume of blood that is pumped by the heart per beat. Research that took place at the University of New Mexico suggests that many factors influence the exercise stroke volume, and genetics is one of them. Other factors that affect stroke volume include age, sex, and the fitness of the person.

Strength Training

Lean muscle refers to the muscle that is without any significant layer of fat.  But also, lean muscle plays a vital role in determining the strength of an athlete. However, it is known that some men and women can quickly add lean muscle to their bodies, while others struggle. 

Research has concluded that how much lean muscle you can add to your body is widely dependent upon your genetic profile.

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Fuel Utilization

Fuel utilization can be of various types: fat utilization, carb utilization, protein utilization, or caffeine utilization. It refers to how effectively your body is using up nutrients present in your body. Studies conducted on siblings and twins suggest that there are strong links between genetic susceptibility and energy expenditure or fuel utilization by an individual.

Systematic Inflammation

Often, in athletes, stressors such as heavy training, lack of sleep, or an unhealthy diet can result in chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation, in turn, can heavily interrupt normal bodily functions of athletes and their ability to train. However, research conducted at the NYU School of Medicine, have discovered a gene that controls inflammation and accelerated aging, and determines how much an individual will be affected by them.

Injury Risk

Athletes are susceptible to injuries, and genetics can cause this susceptibility. A study conducted in Ipswich, England, involved the DNA testing of 289 soccer players. The study resulted in the identification of genotypes from four genes that influence an athlete’s risk of injury.


In conclusion, the markers tested by GxPerform can give you a better understanding of your full athletic potential, allow you to analyze them, and thus train accordingly. However, it is also essential to keep in mind that the markers are only indicators and not set in stone. 

While the tests carried out may surprise you or disappoint you about your athletic abilities, DNA only plays a role in determining your prowess. Other factors, such as regular training, a healthy environment, balanced nutrition, and a controlled lifestyle, can make up for the mental and physical attributes that you may lack with heredity.

As an athlete, you are in top shape, but a DNA test can help you determine where you can excel the most and what areas you may need to work harder. Here at DNA is the Way we provide you with the option of using an oral DNA test to help you improve on your stats. Not all DNA tests on the market measure your VO2 Max. A VO2 Max can significantly enhance your performance, or it can tell you what you can do to improve it.

If this information is new to you then you, may have questions. Or have you heard of it before and are curious. Either way, I am here to help. Please leave comments and questions below. 

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4 thoughts on “Can Your DNA Determine Your Athletic Performance- Surprise!”

  1. I am pretty sure that DNA has a lot to do with athletic performance. Some people are built to be more athletic than others, although as a species I do agree that we are getting to a stage where we are more athletic than we were 100 years ago. I can definitely attest to the fact that DNA plays a role in addiction, I have a very addictive personality, fortunately, I have learned to focus my “addictions” on things that will help make me better, such as working out. 

    • Hello Travis, Yes DNA does play a role in telling us if we have an addictive personality. With an athlete, it is important for the trainer to know if the person has a tendency to become addicted to the training or the diet. Addiction of this sort can be detrimental to the training process. 

  2. I have always had this conflict when it comes to testing someone’s DNA for a specific thing. For example, you can determinate if the child may be born with a disability but I can’t wrap around my head that people can actually be genetically made into athletes. May I ask where was the research that you stated from? 

    • As we progress in science and technology it can be difficult to believe things like DNA for athletic performance. We are so used to things like DNA testing performed for very serious medical conditions. But an athlete training for an event is serious to them. 

      The important thing I like to remind people of is; people are not genetically made into an athlete. We also have to take a look at the environment a person is in. When a person is a strong athlete it does not mean they have all the markers and that is why they are successful. It does mean that how hard they work and how much they want to advance is the biggest factor. 

      But on the other hand, if someone is training for an athletic event and they have their DNA tested it can help them know what they have an advantage in and what they need to work harder on. 

      Your DNA is unique to you. It does not make or break who you are. 


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