Staying Young – Anabolic Edge
Has anybody ever told you that you are not the same person you used to be. Well they are right, biochemically speaking that is. Every ten or so days all the water in your body is replaced for fresh water. In fact every 4 months your entire blood stream is replaced with new cells. All the proteins in your body are replaced every 6 months. Believe it or not even your bones are replaced annually.
This is important information because it reveals the fact that your body is in continuous change irrespective of your age, the old is being replaced by the new. The human body never stands still. Its changing all the time. The cells that make up your body are been broken down (Catabolic) from daily activities and greatly accelerated from stress, poor diet and lack of sleep. On the other side they are being replaced or re built (anabolic). In order to keep your body strong healthy and lean you must prevent the catabolic process overcoming the anabolic process. So we don’t need more tissue breaking down than we can develop on a daily basis.
So imagine two characters. The first is anabolic man and is the summation of all the anabolic activities in your body. The second catabolic man is the summation of all catabolic activities. Anabolic man replaces and rebuilds. Catabolic man breaks down and this is especially true for muscle which is one of the primary biomarkers of aging.
In a normal adult in their early 20s these forces tend to be quite equal, the battle can go either from time to time but overall the score tends to be the same. As we start to age catabolic man starts to win the battle. The body starts breaking down more than it can rebuild. Its accelerated aging .
However it is unrealistic to expect anabolic man to win all the time irrespective of our genetics, age or lifestyle. In truth it would kill us. Catabolism is important, what we are trying to do is to sway the odds in anabolic mans favour thus slowing down the aging process. To slow down the aging process we need to win 51% of the time so we edge in the direction of the anabolic process which keeps our bodies leaner lighter fitter and stronger.
So let’s take a closer look at what triggers both of them. Exercise can be an anabolic agent to an extent. Except there is a problem, especially as we get older as our testosterone levels start falling making us prone to the side effects on the bodies primary stress hormone cortisol. If training goes beyond a certain point, 30 to 40 minutes it turns the other way. You see stress is catabolic mans most powerful weapon because it saps anabolic mans strength. In simple terms it means shorter workouts are more anabolic and less catabolic. In fact a workout is in itself a battle between the two forces. They both come into play right from the start but as time goes on the balance of power shifts.
After 30 minutes cortisol levels start rising and undoing our good work and just for you information excessive levels breakdown muscle and connective tissue, slowing down our metabolism and making us prone to injury. Physiotherapists, physical therapists are over run from 30 plus individuals over training in boot camp style training. Remember every pound of muscle lost can slow your metabolism by as much as 60 calories per day which in turn can increase your metabolic age making it more likely you will store body fat in the future.
Voices in your head
Like two prophetic angels, anabolic and catabolic man perch upon your shoulders whispering subliminal messages into your ears.
Catabolic Man can take on many forms and it’s hard to tell that its him. He tries to drag you off the road of self improvement. Telling you not to train not to eat, to eat badly, to stay up late, to drink too much alcohol and smoke, to over train and feel depressed. He will use all the tricks of the trade to shake your resolve and undermine your confidence.
Perhaps the very best anti catabolic of all is the ability to shut out these messages. Your mind is the most powerful organ in your body. It is linked to the secretion of some very powerful hormones which can be both catabolic and anabolic, This can depend upon your state of mind. You have a gland called the Pineal gland which is influenced by your emotional state and in turn the pineal gland influences your pituitary gland which is the master gland of your body, it influences every other gland. These glands secrete the hormones, chemical messengers that migrate through your blood stream to cell receptor sites. It isn’t just talk , state of mind has a major physiological effect on the internal battle between the catabolic and anabolic process and our ability to stay in good physical condition.
Ignoring negative influences and managing most of the time to focus on the positive ones, this is your mind set. For example going home to find your home burgled, how you handle it makes a all the difference. If you panic catabolic man wins cortisol levels rise ripping into your body breaking down muscle, making you glucose intolerant. The difference between staying calm and over reacting day in day out can dictate our ability to hold on to hard earned muscle which is the bed rock of our metabolism and the primary bio marker of aging.
I read a report a few years back that getting angry significantly increases your chances of dying prematurely. Once again catabolic man is racking up the points. Winning the daily battle so when the score is totalled up he has won and you have failed.
One key to slowing down the aging process or helping your body to turn back the clock is to recognise the voices. They are often confusing. A good example is over training. Especially when you are trying to reduce body fat. The voice tells you to go on for another 10 minutes or do an extra three sets when you are already worn out. It seems the way to go but it’s the voice of catabolism. The same voice spreads the paranoia that tempts you into radical diets and fat burning products which your rational mind knows will have a negative effect in the long run. Don’t just look for the obvious.
Anabolic man pushes for proper discipline and for what makes sense. A structured approach, plenty of rest and sleep, a healthy diet a balanced approach to training and health. He will steer you away from lethargy and, on the other hand, obsession. He will tell you to resist stress, let it flow over and through you unhindered. He tells you to train with intensity but not for too long because he is trying to keep your cortisol levels down and make sure you don’t secrete too much adrenaline.
I like this particular saying that makes me think about what I am doing.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING I COULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW
This could easily be Anabolic Mans mission statement.
We all have lifestyles, careers, families. These have to be worked around because they are part of what makes us special. Every day in everyone’s life has some gaps and these are perfect opportunities to focus on the anabolic forces at our finger tips. Relaxing, sleeping properly, and planning your food, being on time for your workouts. By adapting anabolic habits we are on the road to staying younger leaner and fitter.