Physiology Influencing Life Choices

As stated in one of my earlier posts, a huge part of my early life was competing in martial arts. I started doing taekwondo when I was 9 years old and began competing two years later. I traveled the country with some of my best friends that I am still close to today. I got as high in competing as earing a bronze medal at the Junior Olympics one year when it was in San Jose, California. The next move for me and some other members of “Team New England” were the Pan-Am games in South America. However, I soon hit a cross roads in my life…high school.

Coming into the high school I knew I did not want to follow in the shadows of my older brother who was at the time going to be a sophomore. Therefore, I played freshman football instead of joining the cross country team that he was on. When the winter season came along, I joined the freshman basketball team. All this time I was keeping up with my taekwondo on top of everyday athletic practices. When the spring rolled around I decided that since my brother played volleyball I should join outdoor track and run distance. I soon found it was very tiring to run everyday then later in the night workout for taekwondo. So I started questioning which I liked more, but my dad had a friend that wanted to help me with the decision. He just so happened to be an exercise physiologist.

Dr. Paolino told me about the difference between fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. Taekwondo utilizes the fast-twitch fibers with the quick kicks and powerful moves needed to beat an opponent while sparring. Distance running utilizes the slow-twitch fibers since it is more endurance based and needs the muscles to keep working for long periods of time. He claimed that if I continued to try to do both activities, I wouldn’t allow either of the groups of muscle fibers to truly flourish and strengthen so I would end up being mediocre at both. However, if I only practiced one, I would have the chance to be able to compete at a high level. I realized that even though my life before this was very highly influenced by taekwondo, it was time for me to experience something new. From this decision my life has changed greatly. My life is now basically defined by running, as it influenced my college selection and other facets of my life. I know running won’t last forever, so I am excited to see what new passion


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1 Response to Physiology Influencing Life Choices

  1. I loved reading this post, and it really hit home with me. I’ve always played ice hockey which is all short sprints, using fast-twitch muscle fibers, but recently I’ve grown to love endurance racing, which is the exact opposite in every way. I run every day in addition to hockey and like you, I’m finding that the longer the distance or time, the more fatigued I am after practice, even though I can do a Dawn’s speed and agility class and practice no problem. I was really inspired by your decision to leave taekwondo for running, and hope to follow in similar footsteps after I graduate and finish hockey.

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