One myth has been going around for the longest period of time – the myth that athletes and bodybuilders should refrain from sex before a competition. Is this really a myth or is there science in support of the claim? Let’s find out.
The premise behind this requirement for male athletes is simple. It has a lot to do with maintaining hormone levels high, particularly testosterone levels.
Abstaining from sex in the days before a competition leads to a testosterone buildup. The high level of the hormone is needed to maximize lean muscle mass gains and strength. In some sports like boxing or MMA, high testosterone levels could also contribute to more aggression and drive. Obviously, these are required to fuel a powerful performance.
Because of these claims, many athletes and fighters abstain from sex for months at a time. Needless to say, the practice can contribute to relationship problems and high levels of personal frustration. Are the gains worth going through so much distress on a regular basis?
Scientists Try To Find Some Evidence Of Effectiveness
Because the myth is such a prominent one, researchers have decided to take a deeper look at it. There are several clinical studies that relate to the claim.
One of the experiments involved 14 former athletes. The results were published in the Journal of Sex Research in 2010. The men were asked to perform a maximum strength grip test two times – on the morning after having had sex with their partners and after six days of abstinence.
Researchers did not find statistically significant differences in the strength results of the volunteers.
One more study produced similar results but it looked at a bigger number of factors used to determine athletic performance. The results were presented in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine in 2000.
The experiment involved 10 fit male volunteers aged 18 through 45. They were tested for several things like reaction time, aerobic power, grip strength, VO2max, balance and lateral movement among various other criteria. A treadmill test was performed, as well.
in the results of all of the volunteers, there wasn’t any significant difference noted in the performance factors after sex and after a period of abstinence. As a result, the researchers concluded that the recommendation for abstaining from sex prior to a competition does not lead to sensible benefits for the athlete.
The Psychological Effects
Some claim that the effects of abstaining from sex could be purely psychological. If this is the case, testosterone concentration and gains would have nothing to do with the performance of the athlete.
Some men find it easier to concentrate and remain focused on the competition after abstaining from sex. They need to dedicate themselves to the training process without focusing on side distractions like being with a partner. If this is the case, abstaining from intimacy before a competition could contribute to some slight psychological advantage.
Others believe that sex could take away from the energy of the athlete, especially if it takes place the night before the competition. For a bodybuilder or a fighter to be exhausted in the morning, however, the sexual activity would have had to take place over the course of hours. It should have been pretty rough and physically-demanding, as well.
Often times, coaches will insist on a no sex before competitions policy in an attempt to give their athletes much-needed nights of sleep. For most young guys, looking for sex would be a much more challenging and time consuming activity than the getting dirty between the sheets itself.
Does Sex Decrease Testosterone?
The claim that ejaculations lead to a reduction in testosterone levels has been disproven time and time again. Testosterone is seen as a “use it or lose it” hormone. It can’t just sit in the organism for a long period of time and keep on accumulating,
Physical activity itself is one of the ways to increase the levels of testosterone in the body. This is why men who are sexually active generally tend to have higher testosterone levels than the men who don’t have sex at all.
Researchers have also found out that increases in testosterone level can enhance performance over time. This means that abstaining from sex for a night or two prior to a competition is not going to lead to massive gains.
What’s even more intriguing, researchers have found out that sex could be psychologically beneficial for athletes. Many fighters and bodybuilders find themselves anxious and restless on the night before an important competition. Having a brief sexual encounter with a partner can help these men relax, focus and approach the upcoming big event in a confident manner.
So, What Should Athletes Do?
Just like every other aspect of training, having sex should be a personal decision.
There aren’t strict rules that will apply to all sportsmen. Some athletes need to focus entirely on the training and forget about their everyday life. In such instances, abstaining from sex may prove to be beneficial.
Other athletes, however, will get anxious before a competition and they’ll need a bit of positive energy/relaxation. They can find this positive energy in sex. The fact that sexual activity could potentially boost testosterone levels will come as an added benefit.
There are massive differences from one sport to another, as well. While endurance athletes are typically advised to refrain from sex, other sportsmen could see the benefits. Consulting a sports physician and working on a regimen with a coach will be required to get the best results.
There Are Other Options For Boosting Testosterone Levels
There are many possibilities for boosting testosterone levels in a safe and legal way. Natural supplements rank among the best products for athletes.
Natural supplements are products aimed at helping the body make more testosterone on its own. Because these supplements don’t contain synthetic hormones, they’re allowed for use in the period leading to the competition.
Testosterone boosters are not created equal and picking the right one will be of paramount importance for getting the desired results. Products like TestRX or Spartagen XT can get the job done much better than inferior market options.
So, what should you do if you’re a sportsman and you’re preparing for an upcoming competition? The answer depends on your training routine and your preferences. Working closely with your coach can help you improve your focus, strength and stamina. Ultimately, you’re the person who’ll be determining whether sex before a competition makes you feel good or if it takes your mind away from more important matters at hand.