Your metabolism is important to maintaining life in a variety of ways. It is an entire group of biochemical processes that allow you to grow, respond to your environment, reproduce, and even repair damage that occurs in your body. There are two main parts to your metabolism: anabolism and catabolism. The former is the building of things, and the latter is the breaking down of things. Both play a vital role in bodybuilding and athleticism.
Anabolism vs. Catabolism
Metabolism in general can be described as the body’s use of energy. The process of anabolism consumes energy to build new molecules in the body, or to turn simple molecules into more complex ones. You can think of it in the same way that a builder uses bricks to complete an entire house. On the other hand, catabolism is the process by which the body breaks down complex molecules into smaller units. Most of the time, this breakdown of molecules results in the release of energy that the body needs, whether at the cellular level or the athletic level.
About the Catabolic Process
When you consume food, your body first digests it to make it manageable, and then your intestines absorb the nutrients from that food. The energy that is released from this catabolism is stored inside very specific molecules known as ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. There are several natural catabolic hormones in the body, including adrenaline, which is part of the “fight-or-flight” response. Another catabolic hormone is called cortisol, which is widely known as the “stress hormone”. Not only does it increase your blood sugar and your blood pressure, but it also reduces your body’s immune response.
About the Anabolic Process
The anabolic part of your metabolism makes use of the broken-down molecules created during the catabolic process to build more complex molecules. For example, anabolism utilizes the amino acids that result from digestion and uses them to build proteins, which your body needs for muscle. Some of the natural anabolic hormones in your body include growth hormone, insulin, and even testosterone or estrogen. These help regulate a variety of body functions including sexual characteristics, reproduction, the use of sugar, growth, and cellular regeneration.
Steroids and Anabolism
Because anabolism is responsible for the growth of lean muscle mass, athletes and bodybuilders turn to anabolic steroids. These help boost the anabolic processes in the body in a number of ways. First, most steroids help the muscles retain more nitrogen, which is a necessary building block for muscle tissue. Next, steroids help the body’s muscle cells produce more proteins, which lead to significant growths in muscle size and strength. Finally, these steroids allow the body to produce more ATP, which is the molecule that feeds muscles the fuel they need to grow.
In conclusion, anabolism and catabolism are the two parts of your body’s overall metabolism. Catabolism is responsible for breaking down the food you eat into manageable molecules, and anabolism uses those molecules to create larger ones for building lean muscle.