femalerunnerI love to run on the treadmill and do resistance training. However, because of a herniated disc in my back that can make it painful to simply stand or walk for days at a time, I can’t always exercise when I want to. So, I have to make the most of my workouts when I can.

That’s why I take advantage of two hormone exercise-boosters we all experience in our monthly cycles to maximize the benefits of my workouts.

Whether, like me, you’ve got an unpredictable exercise schedule or you simply want to see faster results, here’s how you can squeeze more out of your workouts, too:

During the first half of your cycle–your Week 1 and Week 2, which lasts from the first day of your period through ovulation–research shows you build more muscle when doing resistance exercises, such as weight-training or using resistance bands.

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

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

During most of the second half of your cycle–your Week 3 and most of your Week 4, which lasts from the day after ovulation to a few days before your next period–research shows you burn up to 30% more fat during aerobic exercise, such as jogging, biking and skating. What’s more, aerobic exercise feels easier to do on these days.

Thanks goes to the combination of estrogen and progesterone that promotes more fat burn and reduces the production of fatiguing chemicals caused when you exercise.

So, if you’re looking to fast-track weight-loss, consider aiming for more aerobic exercise during the second half of your cycle.

Let me know if these tips help you see more results from your workouts!

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[Photo: Sangudo]