T Nation

Catabolic State Beneficial?

I’m new to training, about 8 months in, and have been reading everything on this site to try to become as informed as possible. I’ve been lifting 3x a week and taking whey after and Metabolic Drive before each session, as well as Flameout everyday. So far I’ve lost 20 pounds (from 185 to 165) while gaining lots of muscle and becoming much stronger.

I was talking to my sister, a doctor, about keeping your body in an anabolic state to induce muscle growth. She asked why the catabolic state was so undesirable (besides the obvious point that I want more muscle), and if I was confident that my body never needs to be in a catabolic state. I wasn’t. Now granted, considering the fact that I’ve lost 20 lbs clearly I’m not always in an anabolic state.

But still, is there any scientific evidence out there addressing the positive side of catabolism? Is there a positive side? Is being anabolic all day safe in the long term?

When speaking of an anabolic state in this context it is referring to muscle growth. Every tissue in the body undergoes anabolic and catabolic states at some point, and both are necessary. Catabolism just means breaking down of tissue, which can be something as simple and necessary as clearing damaged or mutated tissue, or it can refer to something like breaking down muscle tissue for protein, or bone for calcium. Suppressing cortisol indefinitely is a bad idea as your body can’t take care of essential tasks (one example above). But consuming adequate calories or supplements to minimize local catabolism such as muscle degradation can be beneficial for maximizing muscle mass and performance.

There is no way to 100% shut down catabolism in any part of the body, and doing so would be very bad for health and physical functioning. In the context you’re talking about–muscle tissue–avoiding catabolism as much as possible has no significant negative consequences, especially since any necessary catabolism will still be present despite your best efforts.

makes sense, thanks for the quick reply.