>you can't lift weights and gain muscle (i.e. grow) without also gaining fat
Of course you can. I'd be happy to share my Google sheet of daily weight, losing about 0.06lb/day, and my BodPod measurements showing going from 28% to 20% body fat while gaining 2.5lbs of muscle mass. Sarcopenia would have taken another 0.5lbs of muscle in that one year period.
Drew Baye has several articles on losing fat while gaining muscle. In the first few pages of Body by Science, Doug McGuff defines health as (1) the absence of disease and (2) a balance between anabolic and catabolic processes. Except McGuff makes it clear that almost the entire population in the developed world lives in a catabolic energy state, eating way more than we need, never flushing the stored glucose out of our muscles, the tank is always full. But while that is happening, sarcopenia [catabolic] is removing muscle mass as we age.
Sure your muscle/fat percentages changes over time. But you didn't simultaneously grow muscle and lose fat, that is not possible.
>Drew Baye has several articles on losing fat while gaining muscle
Again its done over time. There is never a point you are "losing fat while gaining muscle" simultaneously, you gain both or lose both...you can certainly gain more of one than the other, or lose more of one than the other.
Just as an example:
1. You lift putting yourself into a catabolic state, you will lose both fat and muscle in this state (your body if burning more fat than muscle...but its is breaking down both, it is not burning fat and growing muscle);
2. You refuel after your lifting with protein like Whey and some glucose to spike your insulin to force the protein into your muscles, you are now anabolic (your muscle cells and fat cells are both growing and storing this new fuel you consumed, and the protein is rebuilding the muscle, as a result your muscle growth slowly outpaces the fat cell storage and growth)
3. rise and repeat over time and yes you will lose fat and gain muscle (like you did), but the growth/losses never happened simultaneously. Your body was always either catabolic or anabolic...never both.
It is over time you achieve net loss of fat and gain in muscle, but physiologically it is impossible for those processes to occur at the same time.
Your theory of absolute anabolic vs. catabolic body state is absolutely bonkers. Biology does not work that way. Comprehend-able things are the simplified ones and every rule has exceptions.
That is exactly how physiology works (I think you may be mixing up chemical reactions with metabolic reactions). Its why when people talk about losing weight there is always a certain number of people who refer to the laws of thermodynamics (calories in/calories out), and generally that is true (calorie surplus = growth and calories deficient = break down).
Of course there are exceptions such as the body has hormones which cause certain exceptions like HGH which can trigger growth (anabolism) in caloric deficits or cortisol can cause breakdown (catabolism) in caloric surpluses.
Can you identify any metabolic pathway that is simultaneously both anabolic/catabolic?
>Countless chemical reactions take place in cells and are responsible for all the actions of organisms. Together, these reactions make up an organism's metabolism.
>When a chemical reaction takes place energy is either taken in or released.
>Two types of metabolic reactions take place in the cell: 'building up' (anabolism) and 'breaking down' (catabolism). Anabolic reactions use up energy. Catabolic reactions give out energy. They are exergonic.
At the lowest level there are chemical reactions, is it not fair to say that chemical reactions are binary? Either releasing or taking in energy?
Within the cell the net of the chemical reactions is the metabolism which are either anabolic or catabolic.
There is no doubt there are many processes where one reaction triggers the other in an ongoing but the chemical reactions or metabolic reactions (net chemical reactions) are either anabolic or catabolic.