Adopt this three-pronged approach to your daily routine and you’ll soon be anabolic and growing rapidly.
Either you and your performance are growing or you are doing the opposite and regressing. Anabolism and catabolism are two types of metabolic reactions that take place in your cells. This can be simplified to ‘building up’’(anabolism) and ‘breaking down’ (catabolism). Anabolic reactions use up energy. Catabolic signals release energy. For the sake of training, being anabolic means that you have achieved the internal chemistry and energy status conducive to growing muscle, while being catabolic can be viewed as being in a muscle-wasting state. Optimal thyroid function, testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin can all produce or be considered anabolic hormones while other hormones such as high cortisol can be catabolic. While there are multiple factors that can naturally enhance the anabolic signal in the body to help muscles grow, the biggest players are sleep, training, and nutrition. Here’s how you can break down each factor and assess how you can maximize them to become more anabolic today.
Closing the Shutters
Sleeping well is one of the most anabolic elements you can gift to your body. Getting into deep sleep spikes the production of testosterone and growth hormone. Sleeping promotes recovery and healing starting with the most critical organs such as the heart and liver and then moving out from there. The more quality sleep you can get, the more anabolic and recovered you can be. When you train hard, tissues need to heal and hormones need to bounce back. Getting friendly with the pillow reduces stress in the body by enhancing recovery. Here are the best tips to optimize deep restorative sleep.
• Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep per night
• Make your room as dark and as cold as you find bearable (62-67 degrees). You can try blackout curtains and use them in the day to stop your room from heating up.
• Reduce exposure to artificial light such as computer screens and TV one hour before bedtime.
• Create white noise of ambient sound to drown out distractions. There are plenty of apps and YouTube videos that will help create this for free.
• Eat a light snack one hour before bed and have no heavy meals later than two hours prior to sleep.
• Learn to meditate prior to sleep to calm your mind and your body’s systems. Think of it as ‘beditation.’
• Full Spectrum High Potency CBD is effective for staying in deep sleep, take one an hour before bed.
Doing The Work
Training can be a critical time for becoming anabolic. Intense training can promote growth hormone and testosterone production while also doing the right amount of damage to muscle tissue to help it heal and remodel thicker and stronger. Here are training tips to get into a muscle growing state:
• Use mostly heavy loaded compound multi-joint movements for 5-15 reps (think heavy variations of squatting, pressing, deadlifting and pulling).
• Keep sessions short and intense so they’re 45-60 minutes of extreme punishment to your body.
• Go into workouts fueled well and re-fuel immediately after.
• Allow for 48 hours recovery before re-training the same muscle groups.
• Less training can mean more results, so take rest days. Train 3-5 days per week.
Grill Gotten Gains
Nutrition is arguably the most important factor for creating an anabolic state in your body. Having a positive caloric balance (slightly more food than you need to maintain your mass) is key for putting on muscle. The law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed so in simple terms, you need to eat more to grow more.
If your energy status is consistently low and you are operating in a caloric deficit, the preservation system of the body will do what it needs to do to survive and start reducing its mass. In addition to quantity, specific food quality that provides the right macro and micronutrient density can enhance the anabolic effect in the body.
For instance, eating enough bioavailable complete protein (with a full spectrum of branch chain amino acids) creates a positive nitrogen balance and enhances protein synthesis and the creation of new muscle. Essential vitamins and minerals optimize the body’s functions including the production of anabolic hormones such as testosterone.
Here are the top nutrition tips for getting anabolic:
• Consume 20 calories per pound of bodyweight per day to achieve a positive caloric balance.
• Consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day to achieve a positive nitrogen balance.
• Eat animal protein (things with eyes) to get a full spectrum of BCAAs.
• Food such as steak and eggs contain essential cholesterols which are vital for anabolic hormone production.
• Eat fruits and vegetables to get a wide variety and high density of vitamins and minerals.
• Consume carbohydrates around training (before and after) to keep glycogen levels in muscles full and replenished to minimize any catabolic effects.
Nothing operates in isolation, so you need to take stock of your actions as a whole. Enhancing your anabolic signal is about establishing healthy and consistent habits and patterns that all piggy-back on one another. There is no easy pill for a natural athlete – it is a commitment to a lifestyle and path that creates a slow ascent to a distant horizon of improvement. Follow these rules everyday and you’ll soon be rewarded by becoming the man you were meant to be.
EXPERT: Dave Lipson is one of the world’s strongest CrossFit athletes who works as part of CrossFit HQ staff and Thundrbro training programs