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Anabolic vs. Catabolic to Lose Weight

author image Vanessa Arellano Doctor
Vanessa Arellano Doctor has more than 10 years of professional writing experience, specializing in business and finance, health and fitness and general interest subjects. She has been published in the "Financial Times," "European Banking News Network," "Entrepreneur," and WealthBriefing Asia.
Anabolic vs. Catabolic to Lose Weight
A fit woman is exercising on a yoga mat. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Exercises can be categorized into two types of workouts: anabolic and catabolic. Each has a different effect on your body but will ultimately lead to fat loss. You can increase your muscle mass while shedding fat through anabolic workouts. By contrast, you can reduce your overall body mass through catabolic exercises. Perform a combination of both to achieve fast and long-lasting weight loss.

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Anabolic State

To reach an anabolic state, focus on strength training, which will help increase muscle mass. Some of the associated hormones that lead to muscle growth include testosterone and growth hormones. The effect actually takes place when you sleep or rest after workouts. During strength training, you perform exercises that offer resistance using weights and machines. These exercises break down muscle tissue. When you sleep or rest, new and more muscle fibers develop to replace the broken ones.

Catabolic State

Reaching a catabolic state involves hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenalin. These are useful in burning fat and calories. Many catabolic exercises involve cardiovascular techniques, usually lasting at least 20 to 45 minutes. Examples are biking, running, swimming and playing sports. You will notice a loss of total body mass because more catabolic hormones are released compared to anabolic hormones, which build muscle and mass.

How They Complement Each Other

Performing both anabolic and catabolic exercises provides you with variety in your workout routine, which will prevent boredom as well as continuously shock your body to continue shedding fat and burning calories. Your workouts will also be more intense if you use both approaches alternatively or simultaneously. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, high-intensity interval training involves catabolic and anabolic exercises that boost your endurance and aerobic performance.

Sample Exercises

Sprinting is one of the best exercises because it boosts both your catabolic and anabolic states, since you apply a lot of power to run a short distance within a limited time. Wrestling is another sport that requires you to achieve both catabolic and anabolic states to perform optimally. You can also do circuit training, which alternates weightlifting and cardiovascular exercises for maximum weight loss. According to a November 2004 study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," circuit training improves both your muscular and cardiorespiratory response.

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