When people hear the term “anabolic” they immediately think “OMG STEROIDS!!!” But here’s a newsflash: Anabolism is a metabolic state that your body either is or isn’t in right this second. And if you aren’t in an anabolic state right now, than you’re probably in a catabolic state, another metabolic state of the body. Let me explain the difference between the two & what they mean.
An anabolic state is a positive metabolic state that you want to keep your body in whenever you can. You can read about how anabolism is using monomers to build polymers and how it is using ATP and bla-bla-bla… Simply put & what you need to know, is that when your body is ‘anabolic’, it is in a muscle building, fat-burning state.
Anabolism is using energy [nutrition from the food you’ve consumed] to stimulate protein synthesis and build muscle. An anabolic state can actually even increase your bone density.
To keep your body in an anabolic state, you must focus on giving it the right nutrients at the proper times. A body lacking sufficient amounts of protein or carbs at certain times can cause your body to be ‘catabolic’ thus hindering your progress.
The reason steroids are referred to as ‘anabolic steroids’ is because they basically make the body remain anabolic; therefore positively reacting to any nutrients it takes in. But if you can naturally keep your body anabolic by proper nutrition & meal timing, then you can mimic the effect naturally.
[Side-note: Certain hormones in your body are anabolic hormones. Testosterone, Estrogen and Insulin are all examples of anabolic hormones]
A catabolic state is a negative metabolic state. Catabolism is the exact opposite of anabolism. When your body is catabolic, it is lacking the nutrients it needs and goes into panic-mode, eating your muscle & storing fat.
It is very interesting how insanely complex the human body is. For an example, I will use a typical time that the body goes into a catabolic state: nighttime/morning. Often times people will finish their dinner around mid-evening, let’s say 7pm and will maybe have some junk snack such as a bowl of ice cream and then hit the sack. Due to not having any protein since dinner [if you even had any then], then the ice cream not lasting very long as energy in your body, you will go to bed & a couple hours into sleeping, your body will actually run out of energy. Once it runs out of energy to burn, it may tap into fat cells, but shortly after will begin panicking that it may be getting starved and will tap into what it feels is a much better source of energy: muscle. [You should consume casein protein to combat this.]
In addition to burning your muscle as energy, when your body is catabolic, it isn’t using any available energy to synthesize proteins & burn up fat cells; Due to this, your body could have excess energy that it will store as fat.
[Side-note: Certain hormones in your body are also catabolic hormones. Cortisol & surprisingly, Adrenaline are examples of catabolic hormones]
Now that you know the difference between the two metabolic states, here are a few tips to keep your body anabolic as often as possible:
DO NOT skip breakfast!
Consume protein/carbs post-workout
Consume proper protein before bed
Be sure you are eating enough food throughout the day
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