Is there any evidence that work capacity in humans has a precise limit or is there a chance to possibly increase work capacity by increasing food intake, cardio and general physical preparedness without limits during your youth?

What else would be considered a limiting factor other than time and age if there are any at all?

What im trying to ask if you start training at young age to get good endurance, can you expect constant progress as long as you are young and eating optimallly ? Or is there a chance to stop making progress anyway?

  • You get older and time is limited? At one point you will start degrading because you have aged. At one point you die. That's a precise limit, isn't it? Are you asking about a person that is 25 years old for all eternity? If so, maybe head over to the worldbuilding SE
    – Raditz_35
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:04
  • So age is the only limiting factor ?
    – Esrien
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:07
  • I believe not, I don't know if someone can list everything that is or could be limiting. However it prevents the infinity in your question better than anything else. Maybe you should edit it so it makes sense
    – Raditz_35
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


What you're referring to is genetic potential which is:

...theoretical optimum performance capability which an individual could achieve in a specific activity, after an ideal upbringing, nutrition and training. In real terms it may be assumed that the finalists in a world championship are among the human beings whose performance comes closest to their genetic potential. Also known as genetic endowment. See also performance genes.

I am unaware of any studies that conclude genetic potential exists as any formal study would take decades to do (even then may be impossible to do properly).

However, it is generally regarded that everyone has a certain performance limit they are capable of, and the closer you get to the point, the harder fitness becomes. Some people have very low genetic potential while some people have very high genetic potential.

There are multiple factors that could limit performance such as (but not limited to):

  1. Limited physical ability. For example, people unfortunate enough to be born with skeletal deformities would not be as capable as someone without such impairments.
  2. Limited ability to grow muscle.
  3. Limited ability to recover.

Beyond that there are people who are just physically better built for a certain sport which gives them a competitive advantage. For example, Michael Phelps is regarded by some as having the "perfect body" for swimming.

Beyond that you start getting in to even more theoretical limitations on what the human body is physically capable of. So far, to my knowledge, we have not found these limitations, but one must assume that they exist. The human spine can only hold so much weight, the legs can only move so fast, etc.

Beyond that you start getting in to what's physically possible. For example, if Superman existed, he wouldn't be able to pick up a plane because his hands would punch straight through it.

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