Understanding the Anabolic State

Anabolic State

Anabolic state is the process in which the body repairs itself for muscles to become bigger and stronger. This metabolic process of growth is opposite of catabolism. A catabolic state is when the body experiences a breakdown in metabolism. By understanding and applying these principles to fitness, you will be able to accomplish your physique goals.

Reaching Anabolic State 

To achieve an anabolic state, you must undergo a training stimulus. High-intensity exercise produces a series of catabolic reactions in the body in which the breakdown occurs. After muscle tissue breaks down, it needs to be repaired. This is where the body becomes anabolic. It is important you train at a high intensity and replenish the lost nutrients. Intense training promotes anabolic hormone production to build muscle and repair muscle tissue. 


The longer you workout, the more catabolic the body becomes. In this case, it is not beneficial to be in the gym for long hours each day, but to aim for workouts that last around 45 minutes to avoid an increase in cortisol. This stress hormone promotes a catabolic state and increases when all energy is depleted from the body.

Benefits of an Anabolic State 

Generally speaking, all fitness goals are achieved through anabolic training. Anabolic training improves body composition, lean body mass, hormone production, and strength. Anabolic training also boosts the metabolism and improves performance levels as you continue to grow. The longer you stay in an anabolic state, the more muscle tissue you retain. Perform anabolic training to improve the following:

  • Muscle function and growth
  • Exercise abilities
  • Heart function
  • Blood circulation
  • Blood sugar levels 
  • Bone density and strength
  • Immune system function 
  • Calorie burn

These benefits impact overall health by preventing disease and other health complications.

Nutrition for an Anabolic State 

Consuming a well-balanced and nutritious meal two hours prior to a training session provides fuel for the entire workout. Roughly 30 minutes to two hours after a workout the body will begin craving the nutrients it has lost. 

Real, whole foods that contain macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are what fuel anabolic reactions. Healthy fats, high levels of protein, and complex carbs serve as the body's main energy sources.

Here are some foods you should consume to increase anabolism:

  • Lean protein (chicken, eggs, steak, fish)
  • Carbohydrates (beans, whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa)
  • Fats (oils, nuts, avocado)
  • Vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli) 
  • Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) 

Avoid consuming alcohol, packaged foods, and processed foods. Foods high in sugar and preservatives contribute to higher levels of catabolism. Another great way to achieve the benefits of these nutrients is through supplements.

It is important to remember the balance between anabolism and catabolism. By combining anabolic state with the correct nutrition plan, you will be able to achieve the body you are striving for.