Individual Variation / Variables

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While published science is a valuable tool to guide your success you are you are your own “N=1”. Culturally most of us are looking for simple answers or that “formula for success” from the experts. Most of the time the consumer is “sold” or “told” exactly what they wanted to hear…. “A formula for success”. This could not be further from the truth.  While most of you want to “cut to the chase”, like training, there are no easy answers to the myriad of variables and how they interact with each other. So, what are the variables? There are a myriad of variables and there is wide swath of variability within the human population to these variables. What this means is we are basically all the same but, at the same time, different. So, what works for you can be vastly different for what works for your training partner, spouse or friend, however, by understanding how the variables interact with each other often strategies can be found to improve performance health and recovery. All variables are closely intertwined with each other so a change in one variable creates an impact on all the others. Don’t try to overthink this, just understand it happens. Another very important concept for the athlete to understand about the variables is many which impact your performance are “dynamic”. This means they are constantly changing and not static so as they change an athlete has to understand how to compensate for the shift. A good example would be heat….as temperatures rise an athlete must become much more cognizant about their hydration including both water and electrolyte intake. If temps rise even more hydration/electrolytes becomes critical, and backing off of pace and caloric intake become necessary….so you can see from this example how dynamic many variables are. Everything is in a constant state of flux. The genetics card is in inevitably one of the first mentioned when it comes to variability and one most people resign themselves to as fate. While genetics play a key role, it is crucially important to understand environmental factors (variables) influence genetic expression. This is the emerging field of epigenetics ( Defective genetic lines tend to be eliminated pretty quickly in nature so if your family’s genes got you this far it is a pretty fair bet the genetic expression is triggered by other factors than simply your genetics alone. So, while the basic principles of OFM apply to virtually all athletes how each athlete achieves results is highly individualized due to the myriad of variables involved and their dynamic interactions. Finally, do NOT let the complexities scare you! Understand this is complex, but also recognize that by understanding the basics of the how variables influence your physiology and following the basic guidelines outlined in OFM achieving success is easily attainable for just about anyone! Common Key Variables: Athlete:

  • Age
  • Gender (for females this includes where you are in your menstrual cycle or peri-/post- menopausal etc.)
  • Genetics/Ethnic background
  • Diet & Fueling
  • Stomach & Gut Health including Biome
  • Profession / Lifestyle (re: stress load)
  • Training including Rest & Recovery


  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Inside/Outside
  • Sun Exposure