What You Need To Know About Catabolism

What You Need To Know About Catabolism


What is Catabolism?

Catabolism is the state in which your molecules are broken down. It can come from different sources, but in the fitness world, it’s commonly assumed that it is the process in which muscles are broken down to create fuel. It is the opposite of anabolism (anabolic state) where your muscles build up.

Why do our bodies undergo catabolism?

Our bodies run off an energy source called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP). It is the chemical that allows us to do everything, whether it be sleep, walk, run, breathe, etc. Usually, our bodies will have sufficient ATP from the sugar in our blood to the glycogen stores in our muscle. However, when you do not eat enough, your body will still need a source of energy. Depending on what kind of exercise you’re doing (aerobic vs anaerobic) and the intensity you’re exercising at, your body may require a huge burst of energy. If our bodies were perfect, it would utilize fat and turn it into energy. However, more typically, our bodies begin to feed off of muscles, breaking down the proteins in our muscles to provide the energy.

How can I prevent catabolism?

Despite what nutritionist and fitness experts have thought, feeding your body six times a day does not prevent catabolism. Catabolism is a result from not eating enough food.

  • Post Workout, have your largest meal – Under the Saiyan method, you’ll find that you should be consuming 50 – 60 % of your calories after your workout. This is necessary to ensure your muscles are fed and your body retains an anabolic state.
  • Aim to lose 0.5 to 1 lbs a week (0.5 kg per week)¬†– Anything beyond this rate, your body has a higher potential to be shocked and utilize catabolism vs fat burn.
  • Reduce the high intensity interval training¬†– The so-called HIIT and afterburn workouts can negatively impact your goals. If your goal is to shed as much weight fast (regardless of if that is fat or muscle), then you can keep your training up. However, if you’re looking for body recomposition (lose fat and build muscle), then ditch the cardio.
  • Opt for low intensity steady state training (LISS) – Activities like slow walks for longer durations can help you burn more calories while prevent catabolism from occurring.
  • Eat enough food – This is particular important if you’re training for long distance exercises like a marathon, triathlon, etc. Your body needs much more fuel for your body to be fed. Eat more complex carbohydrates.
  • Keep carbohydrate, protein, and fat macronutrients balanced – If you follow my Saiyan method, you won’t have to worry about this; however, for those doing Keto and Paleo, you’re more likely to be teaching your body to use catabolic processes than those who eat a balanced diet.




Photo Credit: Jhong Dizon | Photography via Compfight

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. […] consist of only fruits and vegetables can be dangerous because it will damage your metabolism and enact catabolism. Things like grapefruit diets, apple diets, salad only diets, etc. can be incredibly dangerous your […]

Speak Your Mind