Luke Teuma | UK Personal Trainer
So we all hear the word ‘anabolic’ a lot – but what is it? And can it help you speed up your metabolism to burn fat?
I use this training method with most of my clients and have seen some great results from it. Anabolic training partnered with a great choice of foods can make your body strong and lean!
What does anabolic mean?
All anabolic means is to build muscle. This is the opposite of catabolic, which is breaking down muscle. Training in the gym with resistance machines/weights are anabolic as they will help you build muscle.
On the other hand, overtraining is an example of something which is catabolic as it can actually lead to muscle breakdown and atrophy.
What is anabolic training?
Essentially anabolic training is to build muscle, and is targeted toward stimulating the parts of your body that produce anabolic hormones. These hormones stimulate protein synthesis and help you increase muscle growth.
Anabolic training will help burn fat – however, it will largely consist of weight training and resistance exercises.
As you gain more muscle mass, your metabolism will change, resulting in the more fat burning which is why it’s beneficial for both men and women.
Firstly, anabolic training will help build lean muscle a fairly self explanatory benefit as building lean muscle is great to improve your strength all around your body, this will also makes the muscles grow giving them a more ‘toned’ appearance.
The more muscle mass an individual has affects their metabolism, your metabolism can speed up doing more anabolic training as muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue which aids to a more efficient body to burn any unwanted fat.
Will anabolic training work on a ‘bad’ diet?
To build muscle we need to progressively work our muscles past their boundaries in order for them to cause micro tears and rebuild. Weight / resistance training alone will increase muscle mass and make you stronger. However, the muscles also needed to be rebuilt adequately.
Each individual will have different nutritional needs depending on your size, gender and how much muscle mass you have, but essentially if you’re aim is to build muscle, more protein is needed.
Therefore nutrition wont essentially stop anabolic training working, but you will most definitely see and feel the difference and achieve the best results by eating a well balanced high protein diet in correlation to your training.
Most of us have heard of this magical hour which is the perfect time to refuel post workout. And in my opinion it is!
Realistically, whether you do a weights session or a sprint session, your body would have used up a lot of energy and also created micro tears within the muscles. Therefore when you finish your workout, your body is screaming to refuel and repair what it’s lost! This will help quickly replenish your glycogen stores and aid to help rebuild the broken down muscle and muscle tissue to allow it to grow.
Some people may disagree and say that it doesn’t really matter, but I have always seen my clients feel better and are more energised the quicker they replenish their bodies and also get better results in regards to muscle growth too.
Best foods to eat
High protein foods!
As we mentioned the body is either anabolic (building muscle) or catabolic (losing muscle) therefore if we want to keep aiding protein synthesis to maintain muscle, we need a high protein diet.
Anything from the below table will help your body stay in a anabolic state maintaining your strength and size!
|Animal Protein||Non-Animal Protein|
|Chicken (avoid skin)||Soy Protein/Edamame|
|Beef – Steak & mince (lean)||Tempeh & Tofu|
|Turkey – (lean)||Quinoa|
|Whole Eggs & Egg Whites||Green peas & Leafy greens|
|Fish – Salmon, Cod & Trout||Beans & legumes|
|Whey Protein||Vegan protein powder|
|Greek Yoghurt||Non-dairy yoghurt|
|Cottage cheese||Seeds e.g Chia, sunflower|
You may see many people drink BCAA during their workouts, these contain some essential muscle building amino acids which also helps avoid the breakdown of muscle during a workout – therefore in my opinion, they are very useful too!
Take home message
Don’t let the word anabolic scare you as is isn’t a complicated or scary word at all! Whether you’re male or female, with a fat loss or muscle building goal, anabolic training can really help with building more muscle mass which will aid to a stronger body and allowing your body to burn more fat!
Mix up your training if you’re not using this training method already to see if it makes a big difference in your strength and body composition. Eat protein regularly throughout the day to keep your body maintaining muscle and avoid going without food for more than 3 hours!