I receive over 300 emails a day. Guess which question I get at least a few times each week?
It has nothing to do with sets, reps, exercises, stubborn body parts, why my nose is so big, or supplements. Over and over I get asked: "Does sex and/or masturbation positively or negatively affect my muscle gains?"
You don't just want to know what the impacts of your bed sessions are on your workout progress but you also want to know if time spent alone is detrimental to your ability to get the muscle size you're looking for.
What's the truth on this matter? Does sex really hinder your workouts? Or, can you have as much bedroom activity as you like while still keeping right on track to reaching your goals? Let's get the facts straight once and for all.
Frequent Sex As An Indicator Of Libido
As any guy knows, sex is a necessary part of life. In fact, a recent study on men reported that sexual satisfaction was ranked the number one quality of a happy man.
And whoever said men were complicated? Whether you choose to satisfy this need with a partner or on your own, it's not something you're likely to sacrifice even for winning the lottery.
I read another report that stated that men have a sexual fantasy at least one time every 5 minutes. And the other four minutes they are waiting for that one minute to come around!
That said, many guys consider cutting back on the frequency thinking there could be positive benefits to doing so as far as their gym progress goes.
One issue to think about with regard to this fact is that having a high desire for sex, which most guys aged 20-35 do have is indicative of a very healthy libido level.
Further, high libido levels are characteristic of higher testosterone surging through the body, indicating that if you've got the high level of desire in the bedroom, this could indicate you've also got an advantage in the gym.
Since testosterone levels in the body are highly indicative of capacity to build lean muscle mass, the more testosterone you have, chances are, the faster you will build muscle.
For some guys, when they drop down on their sexual activities, their desire actually decreases as time goes on (at first you may see a surge in desire), so if anything, from this standpoint cutting back could hinder your muscle growth potential.
Sex's Impact On Hormonal Release
Second on the list of things to assess is the hormonal release in the body after you've had sex. Immediately after sex has taken place, men are going to see increased prolactin levels in the body, which is a hormone that works in opposition of dopamine - a 'feel good' hormone.
When prolactin levels are raised, the common side effects for a man include a decrease in libido levels, mood changes and sometimes even depression, impotence, headaches, infertility, and most importantly, decreased testosterone levels.
So while having a high desire for sex is indicative of healthy testosterone levels, immediately after you've done the deed, your testosterone is going to drop.
This makes a strong case for avoiding sex or masturbating before you have a workout scheduled. If you attempt to workout, you may not get as great of results from it since overall testosterone levels will be lower, and having the higher level of testosterone moving through the body is one thing that will help boost lean muscle development.
Another factor that works against your favor when it comes to workouts right after sex is that most men, as you've likely experienced, tend to feel quite sleepy after sex. Trying to force out a max amount of weight when you'd rather lie on the couch and watch reruns of The Simpsons is unlikely to have you shattering personal bests.
This is due to the fact that there is an increase in the hormone oxytocin immediately after sex, which serves the purpose of creating feelings of bonding in humans. In men, it'll decrease your central drive so chances are you'd be less effective in the gym.
Stress Reducing Properties Of Sex And Masturbation
Looking from an alternative angle, another thing to keep in mind is that stress is also detrimental to muscular gains. When you are highly stressed out you'll have cortisol surging through your veins, and this can also counteract muscle gain progress.
Since most guys find sex great for stress relief, this makes for another reason why you don't want to restrict yourself from it.
The Sex And Body Fat Level Connection
Since many of you out there are going to be aiming for the ripped look which comes when body fat levels get low enough, one thing to keep in the back of your mind is that the leaner you get, the greater chance you may start seeing your libido levels drop.
This is both tied into the sheer amount of body fat you have on the body as well as the number of calories you are taking in. If you're on a competition diet, don't be surprised to see your libido suffer throughout this time.
The good news is that once you come off the diet again and start eating normally, it should return back closer to the normal range.
The Importance Of Zinc Supplementation
Finally, to finish revealing the truth about sex and muscle building, I want to mention that you should be adding a zinc supplement to your diet.
After each orgasm the body is going to lose a significant amount of zinc and zinc happens to be one of the major micronutrients necessary for the growth and maintenance of the muscle tissue. Replacing this lost zinc will therefore be critical in the overall results you see.
To summarize, if you want to gain larger and more powerful muscle mass, lift heavy and eat hard. Having sex is not going to have a negative influence on your results unless you're doing it so frequently that you can't make it to the gym to do your workout sessions.
If you are really concerned about it, then just be sure you are spreading out the two activities by at least five hours, which will allow the body's hormonal status to return closer to baseline, reducing any small negative influences that might be present.