Men who regularly exercise or train are concerned about how training will affect their sex lives. Will training affect your sexual performance? Will frequent sex impact your energy levels, making training more difficult? These are valid questions that every man asks themselves when thinking about the relationship between the two.
So how do they relate to each other? The key to understanding how exercise affects sexual performance and drive is knowing the role that testosterone plays in both. Testosterone is one of the main sexual hormones in men, and also affects the results from training. Because of this, it is not difficult to see how the two are related.
The first thing to be concerned with here, is your libido or sexual drive. How will training affect it? Will training too often make you not want to have sex?
No! As mentioned earlier, both libido and the results you get from weight training are related. Because of this connection, it is no surprise that high testosterone levels in men increase their sex drive as well. Additionally, as men age their testosterone level drops, as does their sexual drive and ability to gain muscle as well.
In some cases the levels of testosterone are so low in some men that they have to seek medical treatment. This involves receiving testosterone through replacement therapy, which results in testosterone levels returning to normal. Afterwards, the patient will experience more energy, stamina, and increased libido. In some cases where testosterone levels were so low that the individual experienced erectile dysfunction, replacement therapy alleviated this issue.
Understanding how testosterone now works, and that the level in testosterone in men decreases with age; it makes sense to do anything we possibly can to increase these levels through natural means.
When men partake in weight training, the training causes the level of testosterone to increase. The extent to which this happens is of course dependent on the exercise program itself, and the level of exertion the individual is causing, or intensity.
It is worthwhile to mention that overtraining is possible too, where the muscles are overexerted. This can cause injury which can require a long recovery time, defeating the purpose of participating in the exercise program itself. Also overtraining without injury, lifting too heavy of weights too often, can run the body down. This robs you of the stamina and libido you are looking for, so it is important to exercise in moderation.
Using the Right Program
Choosing the right program and knowing your limitations will help to prevent you from over exerting yourself. Again this depends on the individual, but in general you want to be doing only 10-12 repetitions per set, and doing 20 sets maximum per workout. This gives you plenty of time and allows you to incorporate a large variety of exercises in to one single routine.
Again make sure you are not using too much weight, but are stressing your muscles enough to see results. If you are not struggling to squeeze out rep 10 or 12 then you aren’t going heavy enough and should increase the weight. Remember, the more weight you use, the more you are stressing your muscles and because of this, more testosterone is released. Understanding and using proper form is extremely important so that you do not injure yourself as well.
Another thing to consider is that you will get more out of some exercises than others. You want to be doing as many exercises as you can that utilize multiple muscle groups. This means not focusing on isolation exercises like bicep curls, triceps extensions, calf raises etc. These exercises are great if you are looking to specifically target a particular muscle group, but that is not the purpose here. Compound exercises are what we are looking for.
Compound exercises allow for accelerated overall growth with is going to help us rise our testosterone levels back up faster than doing isolated exercises would. Good compound exercises to incorporate in to our routine are:
Squats are one of the best exercises out there that incorporates all the leg muscles. You will be working your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, hip flexors and other smaller muscle groups all at the same time. There are also various ways to perform this exercise, so if you have a bad back or are a beginner, there is no reason to avoid squats. The zerker squat is great on the back and also works the core as well. Goblet squats on the other hand are great for beginners.
Deadlifts along with squats are the two of the best exercises you should bring to your routine because of how many muscles it works. Deadlifts target mainly our legs, our core, inner thigh and our upper backs. This exercise is great for building multiple muscle groups at once, and saves a lot of time in the process.
Pullups are not only a great exercise to bring to your routine, but require little equipment to perform as well. This means that there is no excuse not to do them, hanging up a pullup bar at work or at home is easy and inexpensive. Pullups work your triceps, lower back, and chest. This exercise is different than chin up, which can also be performed using the same equipment. Pullups are performed with palms facing out as opposed to palms facing in, or a chin up. If using your bodyweight is too easy for you, you can always add weight with a belt or weighted vest to increase the difficulty as well.
Like the Pullup, there really is no excuse as to why you can’t do this exercise. A pushup requires absolutely no equipment, and works multiple muscle groups. This includes the chest, abdominal muscles, the deltoids, and tricep.
Incorporating these four exercises in to your workout routine will improve your sex drive dramatically.
The Impact of Sex on Exercise
The flip side to this is wondering if too much sex will affect your performance in the gym. This is really important to some men, especially those that make a living from being an athlete. So will too much sex impact your training?
The answer to this question for the vast majority of people is no. Of course there will be exceptions to this rule but you would have to be having an excessive amount of sex, multiple times daily on a regular basis, which simply isn’t the case for most people.
Having sex not only will not negatively impact your training, but it should do the opposite. Again the additional testosterone circulating in your body as a result of sex should allow more muscle to built, increasing recovery time as well.
With this being said, having sex and then immediately going to the gym or exercising may not be the best idea. Depending on the individual, sex can be tiring and can also cause muscle strain. If this sounds like you, then going to the gym immediately after sex probably isn’t a good idea.
Other Things to Consider:
Testosterone is far from the only thing that is involved in, and affected by training and exercise. Many people are training not only to increase muscle, but to decrease fat as well. These same individuals are going to limit fat in their diets as well if they are looking to do so. It is important to keep in mind what fat’s role is in testosterone production.
Lipids and cholesterols are what our body uses to manufacture testosterone, without them we can’t make it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t limit your intake of these in your diet, your body does produce some cholesterol on its own, but you should monitor your intake of these nutrients.
Sleep is another factor that influences both sex drive and ability to perform exercise. Sleep affects many processes and functions within the body, so getting adequate sleep is just as important as exercising in maintaining high sex drive.
Stress reduction from exercise is another huge benefit to consider, which will have an effect on virtually every aspect of your life. This includes work relationships, and personal relationships. Reduced stress has shown to have other positive health effects as well, including the influence on libido.
The last thing to consider but certainly not the least, is what type of supplements you are taking. Depending on what they are, they could be either positively or negatively affecting your results at the gym. Steroids for example will increase muscle growth, recovery and sex drive, but have severe side effects. These include atrophy in the testes, impotence, increased breast size and emotional side effects as well. Over time the negative impacts of steroid use like an enlarged heart far outweigh the benefits so it is best to seek another option.
There are also other supplements out there that are plant based which can influence sex drive and the production of testosterone as well. If you are planning on using a supplement, this is the best bet due to how effective and safe they are in comparison to other products in the same market. A product like Progentra or Xtreme Testosterone are good choices because they contain ingredients like L-arginine which is known to influence testosterone production.
Human growth hormone is another supplement people try to enhance their gains through training. Unfortunately what most people don’t know is that most men at least till the age of 40 or so are producing enough hgh as needed. This means that taking a supplement of additional human growth hormone will have little to no effect, except on your bank account.
What is the End Result?
Next time you are trying to decide whether or not your training program is having a negative impact on your sex life, keep these idea in mind. As long as you are not excessive in training or in sex, you’ll find that doing both regularly will result in positive effect. You will be in the mood more often because of the physiological effects of exercise on sex, and vise-versa.
If you feel that you are really dragging and are having a lot of difficulty try taking some time off. Just a week or two off from training to recover can make all the difference in the world. If this doesn’t work your best bet is to see a medical professional in case there is an underlying medical reason as to why this is.