Sex and Exercise

Q: Does sex influence training in any way? I'm trying to convince my wife that it will help me lose a few pounds, but I need some ammunition!

A: I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "ammunition", but I can tell you that sex will help you shed some fat - not so much by improving your training (in fact, it may make you too tired to train) but more so by enhancing your recovery. I will touch on it - the subject of restoration that is - more in a future article.

In North America, we tend to concentrate more on training and not nearly enough on restoration. Many Russian and East European coaches actually account for restoration in their periodization plans - they feel it is as important as training. And rightly so! How good can the training effect be if you can't recover? Well, I propose that sex can be ideal for restoration by at least 3 mechanisms. Yes, you read that right! They are:

1. The first deals with the circulatory effect that will aid the removal of waste products (and of course, other things ... eventually) and deliver nutrients to the muscles to facilitate recovery. This is about the only cardiovascular activity that I generally recommend. Don't hesitate to use a heart rate monitor if necessary.

2. The next one involves the serotonin release upon ejaculation. We live in such a high stress society which places so many things on our mind that some people have problems falling asleep at night. This is a surefire cure as many of you are well aware of!

3. And, the final mechanism involves our favorite hormone, testosterone. It has been suggested that the average testosterone levels have dropped by approximately 30% over the past two decades due to environmental estrogens. Regular sex is one way to increase testosterone levels, but here's the catch: you must have sex with a partner and not yourself! (Sorry for the news, Mr. Stavrou!) That will, of course, prime the anabolic environment to prompt muscle gains and fat loss.

So, next time your wife says, "Not tonight", explain to her the importance of restoration!