Muscle Catabolism and How You Can Avoid It!

What is Muscle Catabolism you ask?
  • Eating enough protein every day is essential for many bodily functions. For endurance athletes, sufficient protein means maximum muscle development and recovery can occur. Much is made of the fact that Americans on average eat more than enough protein to satisfy daily requirements. However, as an endurance athlete your nutritional needs are greater for every nutrient than a sedentary individual. A diet that is nutritionally adequate for a sedentary person may leave a hard training athlete feeling run down and unable to train and compete at his or her full potential.

  • If you fail to ingest enough protein, your body will break down its own muscle tissue to get the protein it needs for survival. This mechanism, known as muscle catabolism, is convenient when you face starvation, but highly detrimental to your everyday health and athletic performance. (Via: Personal Best Nutrition website)

A lot of people think that working out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is the way to go and that if you do that, you will lose weight/ fat at a greater weight, when in theory, this isn't always true..

Lets say for example: Your last meal the previous day was at 10pm. You wake up at 6am, right here you have already gone 8 hours with no type of nutrients entering your body at all.

Lets say you proceed to go on , get ready and head off to the gym, saying prep time is 30 mins, including your time to get to the gym, now, you spend 1.5 hours in the gym( still, no nutrients in you at all), you leave the gym , head back home, then , maybe you eat 30 mins later..

What's your total now for having no type of nutrients in your body? 10.5 hours with no food. Wow, what is your body feeding off of? It must think you are starving it, so when it thinks you are starving it, it holds onto fat and begins to eat upon muscle to fuel you. Fat is what makes you survive, if you had no fat on your body, there is no possible way to live..

So now with you in this catabolic state and all this muscle being destroyed, is this what you are looking for?

Wouldn't you prefer to have a nice meal upon waking so you can get your body out of this catabolic state and back into an anabolic state?

So, here is my advise, Eat pre workout, even if it is a 25-40 gram protein shake, depending on your gender.

Have that in 12-14 oz of water, 30 mins -1 hour pre workout...Workout, then have another intake of a whey protein , where you are consuming 25-40 grams, depending on gender..You should also have a nice fast acting carb intake here as well, and what I mean as fast acting is, a carb in the form of table sugar, you need to replenish those glycogen levels asap so you don't go back into this catabolic state..My suggestion of post workout carbs is gummy bears, take in enough to give you a shot of 50-75 grams of fast acting carbs(table sugar). This will keep the emphasis on fat burning and will not allow you to waste your hard earned mass..

I suggest eating every 2.5-3 hours to get your metabolism spiked and keep it there, you will never go catabolic when you do this and use the proper amount of proteins..

You should eat even at bedtime, this should be a meal such as egg whites , Low fat cottage cheese or a Casein protein, Casein protein is slow digesting meaning, it will break down a little at a time overnight, while continuing to feed your body the proper nutrients while you sleep.

So here you have your reasons to eat and eat often..

If you would like to add to this post or correct me on anything you feel I have mislead on, feel free to do so..

Thanks much,




  1. Hey now that's some good advice there Boss. People can also use Skittles if they don't like gummie bears :) I'm an avid Red Vine Licorice user haha.

  2. Good post. I was just gonna suggest that depending on what's eaten during the pre-workout meal, you may consider adding some healthy fats, maybe 10-15 grams, to help slow the absorption and ensure the nutrients are able to fuel the entire workout.


  4. Great Info Steve..I've been on and still apply your suggested eating plans, right down to the gummi bears after I lift. This works and more people should do it, they would see a world of difference.

  5. Those are great ideas via(Mary G. & Justin)
    Thanks guys!

  6. I prefer great harvest white bread for post workout, just because I crave white bread sometimes but I dont like candy that much.

  7. My only problem is that I'm diabetic and the gumi bears could be a problem. Though I have heard that right after the workout is a great time to eat the bad carbs.

  8. Too bad so many people can't get the old "don't rest after 6pm" thing put of their head. Glad I'm part of the team who is trained the right way with your programs at www.fitnesspoynters.com... And what about black licorice.... Good or not? Haven't had that in a long time! The gummy bears have been my best friends!