Looking to build muscle fast? Then focus on these two weeks in your cycle

Looking to build muscle fast? Then focus on these two weeks in your cycle

barbellMy husband’s cousin is a world champion female weight-lifter-which I find SO cool.

I think of her whenever I’m curling my teeny-weeny eight-pound dumbbells in my home gym and wonder just how young she was when she passed eight pounds. Four years old? Five tops, I’m thinking.

Anyway, I’m not on a mission to compete in weightlifting competitions. However, I have been enjoying seeing my muscles get bigger and more toned in my workouts. I’m loving it so much, in fact, it doesn’t take a lot to convince me to start flexing and showing off my biceps. Just ask my husband, friends and neighbors whose passing mention of weightlifting or exercise or the weather or new quiche recipes leads to me suddenly whipping up my shirt sleeves and striking Hulk-style poses.

I bring this up to you today because if you or a woman you know has been doing resistance exercises in a bid to build or strengthen muscles, you may find this new study (full pdf) interesting:

Turns out, we gals build up more muscle size and strength from workouts during the first half of our cycle–Week 1 and Week 2–than during the second half of our cycle–Week 3 and Week 4.

The researchers say one key reason may be because estrogen is involved in muscle growth and repair (hence, why we tend to lose muscle as we age and estrogen levels decline).

So, if you’re looking for bigger, faster muscle gains, consider aiming for more workouts during the first half of your cycle. 

As for me, I’m thinking that once I get past my premenstrual Week 4 and into my Week 1, maybe I’ll try out my 12-pound dumbbells for the first time. Who knows, maybe there’s a competitive weightlifter in me after all?

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