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Anabolic vs Catabolic: Which State Is Your Body In?

Before we even begin this article, let’s just get one thing out of the way: This will have nothing to do with roids. Anabolic and catabolic states are metabolic states that either feeds your body or breaks things down in your body. Got your attention? Good, now without further ado, let’s get this party started.

Differences Between the Anabolic And Catabolic State

Anabolic Steroids

Since I threw the word “steroids” out there, that’s probably the only thing you will be thinking about until it’s addressed. So let’s start with that.

Anabolic steroids are called that because they promote anabolism, aka cell growth. And as we covered in the opening part of the article, they have nothing to do with the topic we’re discussing.

Steroids increase the protein synthesis inside the muscles, especially the skeletal muscles. That’s why guys who start hitting the juice go from Bruce Banner to Incredible Hulk in no time. It’s basically a real-life cheat code.



Anabolism is cell growth. Your body enters anabolism or an “anabolic state” after your muscles experienced catabolism (more on that a bit later) and now they would need nutrition in order to repair the damaged cells and make them grow.

Your body is usually in an anabolic state when you’re sleeping. Then you are not doing anything and only the basic functions are active so the body can go do its thing in order for you to look good when putting on an extra small T-shirt.


Catabolism is a general term for larger molecules and substances being broken down in your body. Once they are broken down, they begin to feed your cells. Digestion is also a form of catabolism.

Extreme catabolism is what happens when you don’t give your body enough nutrients. Your body starts eating itself because it needs to recover from muscular stress, but it isn’t getting outside help.

On a smaller scale, catabolism is okay. Your muscles use the glycogen storages in them to feed the rest of the cells. Extreme catabolism occurs when you don’t workout for a long period of time or you overtrain and then your muscles begin to devour themselves.

More on the next page…

Anabolism and catabolism both have a certain function in your body and occur naturally during your day in your body. Growing children’s bodies tend to be to more anabolic until they start reaching adulthood. Once they begin to reach adulthood, their bodies have a tendency to be more catabolic.

In fact, our bodies tend to lose 14 percent of our muscle mass for every decade of our lives after reaching adulthood. Which explains why retired bodybuilders age terribly. Mother nature is a bitch.

Okay, so we’ve covered the basics, now let’s see what some of the causes and symptoms for extreme catabolism are, how to prevent it and make how to turn your body anabolic.

Symptoms And Causes Of Extreme Catabolic State


A prolonged extreme catabolic state can lead to a number of serious medical conditions. It is very important that you recognize the symptoms and react to them. Some of the symptoms are:

Exercise Intolerance: If you start seeing that your regular workout routine is getting fairly difficult to perform it probably means that your muscles are not getting enough energy and are beginning to eat themselves.

Fatigue Easily on Exertion: Getting fatigued performing even the most basic household chores isn’t a good sign either. Doing everyday chores requires a minimal amount of energy and when that becomes as difficult as breaking a bench press PR, something’s wrong in your body.

Weight Gain Problems: Having a proper nutrition regime and still having problems with gaining weight is often a sign that, you’ve guessed it, your body has gone rogue on you.

Insomnia: Having trouble sleeping can be caused by a number of things and if it’s a recurring thing you’re doing something wrong. Very wrong.

Low Libido: Unless you are reaching your 40’s or 50’s, having a low sex drive shouldn’t be a problem.

Causes And Cures Extreme Catabolism


Now that we covered what the symptoms look like, let’s see what causes your body to turn into an action movie villain that wants to destroy everything.

Major Surgery: Going under the knife is not cool and it can cause all sorts of bad and weird things to your body, extreme catabolism included.

Dehydration: You can live without food for about three weeks but try not drinking enough water for a day or two and your body will go insane and shut down everything in order to get that water from somewhere.

Prolonged Fasting: If you try to force yourself to fast in order to cleanse your body for whatever other reason, your body might fight back with catabolism. Since it has to get energy from somewhere and you are not giving it that energy, it will start to get that energy from the muscles.

Severe Stress: Being stressed out all the time can cause your body to subconsciously start catabolising itself.


When it comes to curing catabolism, it all boils down to two important things:

Proper Nutrition: Without this, you are screwed. Having a balanced diet consisting of proteins and carbs that will fuel your body and keep it out from being catabolic and turn it to an anabolic. Your gains will be intact and you will continue to be a muscle-bound machine.

Regular Exercising: Without this, nothing will help you. If you don’t have a healthy habit of picking things up and putting them down again, your muscles won’t last long and neither will your health.

Thanks for reading, share this and check out our other stuff, like…

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