In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about anabolism and catabolism, defining exactly what they are, the differences between them, which is most important for bodybuilding and more.
What Is Anabolism?
Anabolism, also known as anabolic metabolism, builds up structures ― including muscle mass, bone density and fat mass ― by building up simple molecules into complex molecules. This process requires energy. Anabolic hormones include growth hormone, insulin growth factor (IGF1), insulin, testosterone and estrogen.
What Is Catabolism?
Catabolism, also known as catabolic metabolism, breaks down structures ― including muscle mass, bone density and fat mass ― by breaking down complex molecules into simple molecules. This process releases energy. Catabolic hormones include cortisol, glucagon, adrenaline and other catecholamines.
Anabolism Versus Catabolism Summary
Below is a summary of both anabolic and catabolic metabolism.
- Builds up structures.
- Requires energy.
- Turns simple molecules into complex molecules.
- Hormones involved include growth hormone, IGF1 (insulin growth factor), insulin, testosterone and estrogen.
- Exercise includes weight training.
- Breaks down structures.
- Releases energy.
- Turns complex molecules into simple molecules.
- Hormones involved include cortisol, glucagon, adrenaline and other catecholamines.
- Exercise includes cardio.
How To Maximise Muscle Growth
The key to maximising muscle growth is to maximize the time we are in a state of anabolic metabolism and the building of muscle and minimise the time we are in a state of catabolic metabolism and the breaking down of muscle.
As a general rule, when we’re awake we’re in a catabolic state and when we’re asleep we’re in an anabolic state. Moreover, sleep is known to be an elevated catabolic state, thus accelerating the repair and growth process.
Both anabolism and catabolism are biochemical reactions that form the process of metabolism that are necessary for maintaining life.
Anabolic metabolism builds up structures which requires energy. Catabolic metabolism breaks down structures which releases energy.
The key to maximising muscle growth is to maximize anabolic metabolism and minimise catabolic metabolism.