Anabolism and Catabolism
Hypertrophy refers to the increase in total mass of a muscle and atrophy is a decrease in the total mass of a muscle; whereas, catabolism involves all of the metabolic processes that tear down biomolecules and anabolism involves all of the metabolic processes that build biomolecules. But hypertrophy–atrophy relationship and catabolism–anabolism relationship are interdependent. For instance, if you are in a catabolic state, you cannot experience hypertrophy. Similarly, if you are in an anabolic state you cannot experience atrophy.
A friend called me yesterday and said that he had regularly been lifting weights for one year, and that he was also performing the routine, which I had suggested, but he dejectedly blamed that he hasn’t experienced any sign of hypertrophy. I replied to him saying that he hadn’t been consuming the required amount of protein. More importantly, I said to him that his present lifestyle wasn’t conducive for anabolism. For example, the work ethic of the company at which he is employed seemed despicable to him. Also, his newly born daughter’s tantrums hadn’t been allowing him to sleep well. Although his earnings were handsome, he wasn’t obtaining sufficient sleep. As a result his lifestyle was suffering. High quality of sleep is a robust indicator of well-being. Rather than being in an anabolic state he was in a constant catabolic state. The loss of sleep caused his cortisol levels to rise, his melatonin levels to dip and a disrupted circadian rhythm. In a highly stressed environment building muscle is very difficult. For one to be in an anabolic state a positive environment is the prerequisite. Perhaps, when one is in their 20’s they can get away with less sleep, night partying, stressful lifestyle, and smoking and alcohol consumption. However, when one reaches their 40’s they can’t sustain such a lifestyle. In the same way, their recovery rate becomes much slower. Building muscle turns out to be difficult. It is also known that testosterone–the male hormone which also is primarily responsible for anabolism–declines as one reaches their 40’s.
So, is there a way out? What is required is a positive environment which is conducive for anabolism. A certain kind of mentality is required. A strong mindset which can deal effectively with challenging situations. I believe it’s possible to develop such a mindset in this frantic world. As Natalie Goldberg, in her book titled Writing Down the Bones, says, “Our culture is built on busyness. And that’s why we are so unhappy.” Rightly said! How do you get away from the busyness? By practicing calmness. By becoming unmindful. For example, pranayama, spending time in solitude, meditation, etc