We think “speeding” up our metabolism is good for us, but this is far from what our bodies actually desire.
The only thing our bodies worry about is survival, even if it doesn’t appear so at times. To mediate this, our bodies run on a complicated survival system that is loaded with mechanisms to help maintain stability. All of these mechanisms directly or indirectly influence two overall responses, which create the foundation of our metabolism: catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism is cellular disintegration (breaking down) while anabolism is cellular growth (building up). To maintain a balanced homeostatic state, we are perpetually breaking down, building up, or doing both with an emphasis on one. This emphasis is our “metabolic direction.”
Our metabolic direction causes confusion because we label the symptoms (expressions) of these responses as “good” or “bad.” These adjectives are inherently subjective and are not aligned with how our bodies actually respond. Our survival mechanisms are all good, because they are meant to keep us alive – even when they appear to be bad. We see fat gain (anabolism of fat cells) as bad, but it’s really an unfavorable response to a good mechanism that’s meant to keep us alive. If we couldn’t store fat, then we couldn’t survive a famine. If we increase anabolism in our muscle fibers, this is favorable because we are growing and adapting. What about our muscle fibers being catabolic (breaking down)? Is this “good” or “bad?” If we are stranded in the wilderness with no food and our muscles are catabolic for days – this is unfavorable, but not bad. If our muscle couldn’t breakdown, then we wouldn’t be able to use it as an energy source to survive – and we would die. Now, that is objectively bad. If we are exercising and breaking down our muscles under controlled conditions, then it’s favorable because we can adapt and make them stronger. Understanding how all survival mechanisms are good, even when they result in unfavorable responses, gives us insight into signaling our bodies into doing what we desire.
This relationship between anabolic and catabolic mechanisms can be seen continuously interacting throughout all our physiological functions. At first glance, it’s easy to view their relationship as duplicitous, due to our perceived, never-ending contradictions in studies. Our bodies are made to survive in extreme conditions, so our metabolic direction is meant to be efficient. If we send our bodies signals to be both anabolic and catabolic, or signal the direction opposite of what they desire, this can weaken responses for both directions. A deeper look shows just how intertwined they truly are, in a constant yin and yang balance. Too much of either will weaken the other, while strengthening one can greatly increase the power of the other. If we help our bodies move in their natural metabolic direction, we can strengthen our metabolism and achieve unbelievable results. Specific environments and food will have a direct influence on our metabolic direction, which means we can categorize them as anabolic or catabolic. Once we know this, it’s as simple as plugging in the best “influencer” for our needs. This allows us to reverse-engineer the most important factors that affect fat loss, muscle gain, and overall health in our bodies. This means we don’t have to count calories, we don’t have to eat gross “healthy” cheat foods, we don’t have to change the quantity of food we eat, and we don’t have to follow someone else’s meal plan. We can eat the foods we already enjoy eating, even “junk” food, and still achieve amazing results – as long as we do so in a manner that supports our metabolic direction.
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