The difference between anabolic and catabolic processes can be summarized briefly: anabolic (‘constructive’) processes result in less fat and more muscle mass, while catabolic (‘depleting’) processes do the opposite. In other words, when your body is in an anabolic state, you use energy to build muscle, and in a catabolic state, you burn muscle tissue to release more energy in the short term. It will be clear to you that to grow muscles is better in an anabolic than in a catabolic state – but beware, there are also times that you really should end up in a catabolic state.
The gains made by athletes in uncontrolled observations have been much more impressive. Weight gains of thirty or forty pounds, coupled with thirty percent increases in strength, are not unusual. Such case studies lack credibility because of the absence of scientific controls. However, it would be foolish to completely disregard such observations because the "subjects" have been highly trained and motivated see the articles on pharmacology of sport and sports medicine in the countries of the former Soviet Union for more information on anabolic steroids.
As we age, the balance slowly shifts towards a more catabolic dominant metabolism, initiating the many physical and energetic changes we associate with later stages of life. The body becomes less efficient, losing the ability to keep pace with the rate of break down that is occurring. This shift results in decreased energy levels, physical deterioration, increased susceptibility to illness and injury, and longer recovery times. While this is a natural process that everyone experiences, the choices we make over the course of our lives can greatly improve our body’s ability to age gracefully. A healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet, regular exercise, and good rest is essential.