What Is Anabolic Protein?


You might be considering the different protein powers on the market to choose from, however it can be a difficult process. With terms like isometric, weight gainer, and of course anabolic being thrown onto these tubs of protein powder its often a challenging decision to decide which ones are best. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of protein powders and supplements on the market that are downright scams. However at the end of the day we all want to have the question answered, “what is anabolic protein?’.

Before we really get into the nitty gritty of what anabolic protein actually is, we first need to understand what the term anabolic actually means. The term anabolic is thrown around a lot in the fitness industry in different ways but put plain and simply, anabolic means muscle building. As you might expect the term catabolic means breaking down muscle or deteriorating muscle.

Therefore anabolic supplements are supplements that aid the growth of muscle, anabolic workouts are workouts that build muscle and anabolic foods do the same. Put simply any protein powder labeled as anabolic is (in theory) muscle building. However there are a few things you need to consider before fueling up with protein powder labeled “anabolic”

How are muscles build after a workout with anabolic protein

Protein allows our muscles to grow after a workout but how exactly?

When your muscles experience resistance training you essentially make tears in your muscles. As you push your body in the gym by doing tricep pulldowns for example, your tiny muscles fibers respond by ripping or tearing slightly. This process is what is known as ‘microtearing’. After your muscles are put into this vulnerable state. They can either wither away and die (a catabolic process) or they can either survive, grow, and become stronger (anabolic).

After the workout is over your body moves into the recovery period or the anabolic phase as it is often referred to. This is the point where the muscle experiences the most dramatic growth. Your body will utilize the available amino acids or building blocks of protein in your system and repair all the torn muscle fibers in the body. The process allows for your muscles to grow more resilient then they once were.

However, if your body is scrambling to find amino acids and comes up shorthanded your body will not be able to build muscle like it would if they were available. Hence you would enter the catabolic state. Your muscles would actually begin to deteriorate and lifting hard would have the reverse opposite effect on your body than if you had enough available protein.

So how do we ensure that our muscles get the right protein they need so that we don’t fall into a catabolic state? If you guessed protein shakes, you guessed right.

Really when it comes down to it any high quality protein will get the job done. However there is such a thing as the catabolic window there your body utilizes the proteins you feed it most effectively 30 minutes after your workout. Some people claim that its 15 minutes, and some claim that its longer than 30 minutes, but the bottom line is you should digest your protein of choice as soon as possible. That is why protein shakes are the proteins of choice after a workout. You can consume them quickly most importantly, you can consume a lot of protein relatively quickly, and they taste good… most of the time.

So what workouts are best to get the most out of my protein shake

As briefly touched on, to stay in an anabolic state of growth, you obviously need to focus more on lifting and lifting heavy. You will never be able to break down your muscles through light exercises. Drinking a protein shake after a walk around the block does more damage than good.

Also avoid doing heavy cardio. Protein powder intake after a long cardio session will not result in eye popping muscle growth. Your body will need the protein and calories, but overtraining with cardio is generally catabolic.

How to find the best anabolic protein.

As said before, most protein powders by definition are anabolic meaning that they promote muscle growth. However there are some features of protein powders to take into consideration. You may be confronted with the choice of deciding to either go with anabolic or plain whey protein and it is important to understand the difference.

Whey protein consists of milk proteins and is also the most popular type of body building industry. This compound is extremely effective in building muscle and is most certainly a tried and true source of protein. In addition because it is a milk protein, it is much more easily digestible than proteins that come from say red meat or eggs.

Protein powders labeled as anabolic are often whey as well but may contain a higher concentration of proteins. To put it in perspective, the generic GNC whey protein is 67 percent protein while anabolic proteins can have 80% or more protein. The key difference for many proteins labeled as “anabolic” is that they don’t have as much filler or mass gainer as some of your generic whey protein.

So which one do I pick?

The decision really depends on your body, your goals and your overall situation. Protein powders dubbed anabolic on the market often are much higher in protein content than whey as mentioned before. It is important to consume the right amount of protein but not too much. Unless your goal is to build mass that comes with muscle and a considerable amount of fat than you should not overconsume protein. That being said if you aren’t getting enough protein from your meals, then perhaps anabolic protein powders are the way to go. However for most people, simple whey protein is just fine. You cant go wrong with it.

Also you have to keep in mind that there are companies and brands out there that label their products as “anabolic” just for marketing purposes. Since it’s a general word, the term “anabolic” does apply to most muscle building products, but sometimes it has nothing to do with the amount of protein per serving you are getting or the quality of protein.

It is critical that you do your own research before purchasing any supplement to begin with. Be sure to always check the protein, calories, and carbs per serving as well.



The term “anabolic”- anabolic vs catabolic

How muscle is built after a workout w protein

How most proteins are anabolic since their goal is to build muscle

How to find the best anabolic protein (whether to choose just whey or anabolic)

How too much anabolic protein is bad/ how some companies write anabolic for marketing

Proteins to avoid