There are a lot of things that can affect your metabolism. Age, genetics, and diet play a role, of course, but for women looking to maximize their calorie burn, there’s another factor to consider: your menstrual cycle. And we’re not just talking about your period. “A woman’s metabolism is affected by her hormone fluctuations throughout the month,” Alisa Vitti, HHC, AADP, functional nutritionist and founder of FLOLiving.com, told POPSUGAR. Here’s how to use those hormones to your advantage.
Step Up Your Workouts in the Follicular Phase
That’s science speak for the phase that begins on day one of your period and ends when you ovulate. “Peak athletic ability in women occurs in the time preceding ovulation, a fact that’s been studied in professional female athletes,” said Dr. Felice Gersh, MD, founder of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine in Irvine, CA. You may even feel the difference — like you’re crushing your usual Spin class.
There’s a relatively simple explanation for this, Dr. Gersh said. During the luteal phase — which begins right after ovulation and ends the day before your next period — your body’s production of progesterone makes it less efficient, causing it to work harder for the same results. (This actually causes you to burn more calories — more on that in a minute.) Once you’re in the follicular phase, your body doesn’t have to exert as much effort, so your workouts feel easier.