Becoming anabolic. What does the mean? When most people hear the word “anabolic,” they automatically assume the subject is drugs. Specifically anabolic steroids. This isn’t a word that was coined for or by drug-using athletes, however. It’s been around for a long time. Before anyone even knew about anabolic steroids.
The word “anabolic” is the adjective form of “anabolism”. According to one dictionary, it is “constructive metabolism characterized by the conversion of simple substances into the more complex compounds of living matter.” In terms of bodybuilding that means turning amino acids into the complex proteins. That’s what makes up muscle fibers and increases muscle size.
Let’s Define Catabolic
Catabolism, the adjective form of which is catabolic, is the opposite of being anabolic. In catabolism fat and muscle is metabolized into simpler substances such as fatty acids and amino acids.
It’s All About Balance
The world of muscle is ruled by the balance between these two forces. That’s what determines your muscle mass. If anabolism is greater than catabolism, you’ll get bigger muscles. If the reverse is true, your muscles will shrink. The whole premise behind bodybuilding is to have the anabolic heroes whip the catabolic villains. Everything you read and hear about bodybuilding revolves around this central issue.
Is that all it takes to become a bodybuilding success? I hear you ask. Then how do I do it? How do I stay on the right side of the anabolic fence? Well, it all depends on your genes and your know-how.
Becoming Anabolic – Good Genetics Help!
Sure, it helps if you’re built like a brick outhouse. It helps if you have the genetics of Ronnie Coleman. If you have the genes, it’s easier to remain in an anabolic state. Still, even that’s often not enough. You’ve got to have sufficient information about training, diets and supplements. That’s how you make use of those genetics.
Never Mind Pee Wee Herman!
What’s if your genes are geared for the Pee-Wee Herman look? Then you really have to know what you’re doing. Doing things almost right may give people who are metabolically blessed dramatic results. Yet the rest of us don’t have that luxury. Most of us can’t afford to make any mistakes if we want to make dramatic gains. Our workouts, diets and supplementation have to be spot on.
We can’t afford to over- or under-train. Also, we can’t afford to use anything less than the most anabolic diet. We can’t afford not to use the handful of supplements that really work. Finally, we must carefully, deliberately and intelligently shape our less-than-perfect potential. That’s how to be all that we can be.
Becoming Anabolic – You Have To Have Dedication
There’s something we have to have before we do all that training, dieting and supplementation. We have to have balls. I’m not talking about testosterone levels.
For most of us it takes guts to stay in a positive anabolic state and make it into the big leagues. If you haven’t got it where it counts, it doesn’t matter how much potential you have. You’ll always be a never-was or a flash in the pan. Are the words “courage,” “dedication, perseverance,” “concentration” and “desire” are too strong for you? Then stick to the suds in the backroom with the good old boys. You’ll never make it.
Of course, those who are genetically blessed have an easier time of it. They can make it despite being less consistent in their training. Or taking longer layoffs and paying less attention to their diets and supplements. They can sometimes even get away with abusing recreational drugs and alcohol. They can still succeed. At least for a while and as long as they’re using anabolic drugs.
Never Mind The Other Guy – Be Willing To Work
I know bodybuilders who skip workouts, abuse their bodies and pay only lip service to nutrition. Yet they are still ahead of many others who have less potential but train harder and longer. Or take all the right supplements and watch their diets. Not to mention get enough rest and don’t overdo any of life’s so-called pleasures. Regardless, do you want to develop what you have to the fullest? And not lose it overnight? Then you’ve got to be willing to work for it and persevere in the face of pain and frustration. If you don’t have the desire to succeed or the ability to carry it through, you’ll waste your physical potential. It’s the desire that fires your workouts. That pushes you to your limit. It helps you develop your physique and strength to the maximum.
Becoming Anabolic – A Master Plan
You’ve got the potential of a Coleman. The courage of a lion. Plus the conviction of a Martin Luther King. You have the ability to concentrate on your training in the middle of an earthquake.
Still, you have to have a master plan.
You have to set realistic goals for yourself. You need to plan your workouts. Experiment with training methods and equipment. Injured? Pace yourself. Eat right. Avoid abusing your body. Take whatever help you can from bodybuilders and trainers. That includes anyone more knowledgeable than you.
Your Master Plan Needs Flexibility
Your master plan should have built-in flexibility. This is so you can make adjustments for injuries and shortcomings in your physique. If you compete, your contest performances. If things don’t go as planned, then you must make changes. That means in your training, diet, supplementation, and pre-contest preparations. Not to mention whatever else is limiting your progress.
Shooting for the top? You have to be realistic about your capabilities. Pushing too fast, too hard will only result in overtraining. Also unnecessary injuries. These are two things that rapidly put a stop to your progress.
Set reasonable short and long-term goals for yourself. Realistically, what bodyweight and bodyfat % do you want to hit in the next 12 weeks? For your next competition? A year from now? Eventually? It’s essential to know what you hope to achieve. And by when. You have to be able to plan all the factors that contribute to reaching your goals.
Do You Compete?
Do you compete? It’s best to schedule your competitions so that there’s a natural progression. That means local to regional to national to international. That gives you enough time to prepare yourself properly for each event. Also it helps you improve as the competition year progresses.
After each event reassess your goals. Judge your performance and make any necessary changes. These changes should lead to an improved performance at the next contest. Learn to coolly dissect your performance at each competition. That’s how you learn from your mistakes.
Relax A Little!
Along with the ability to drive yourself to new heights must come the ability to relax effectively. This includes relaxing between workouts, getting enough sleep and maintaining a reasonable lifestyle, which means no smoking, no excessive drinking and not too many so-called good times. Learning how to deal with the stress of training and competition is also part of the overall plan and, like improving your physique, takes a calculated effort.
As you meet your short-term goals, visions of sugar plums will start dancing in your head. You’ll enjoy what you’re doing and feel good about the progress you’re making. You’ll look forward to your workouts, and, in turn, your workouts will be more consistent and productive. (No half-baked excuses for missing workouts here.)
The result of all this positive thinking, dedication and hard work, along with your training, dieting and nutritional wisdom, will be success, perhaps not right away but eventually.