Generation Iron Arnold Schwarzenegger Sex and Bodybuilding

How does making the beasts with two backs affect your gains?

We’re sure most people have wondered about it once or twice in their muscle building journey. Does sex have an impact on muscle growth? It’s something that’s been associated with boxers and fighters, “don’t have sex before a match or you’ll lose your legs!” No they don’t mean your legs will fall off.  What they mean is the potential change in testosterone levels could have an impact on performance. So what does that have to do with bodybuilding you ask? Well sit down, be quiet, and open up your eyes.

When guys have sex and orgasm, they release a certain level of zinc. Zinc is important for building and maintaining healthy muscle growth within the body. So if you’re constantly having sex without building back your zinc levels then you can be sure you’ll be missing out on one of the key components of building muscle in the body. That being said, the frequency in which you’re having sex can be a sign of one thing: a highly active libido. Why is this good? Because a higher libido usually is an indicator of higher testosterone levels in the body. If you’re maintaining your zinc as well as testosterone levels through your diet, then chances are you’ll not only be more active in the bedroom, but that you’ll have all the tools you need to build muscle.


Not too fast. Before you go out there and start thinking you should be on a nonstop shag session, there are a few more things to consider. The release of oxytocin (or as some call it; the “love hormone”) through the body after sexual activity, you’ll find that you feel relaxed and often times ready to fall asleep. So what does that mean for hitting the gym right after a session? Don’t do it! Why? Because your testosterone levels are going to plummet after sex. That defeats the purpose of hitting the gym in the first place. When your body is too relaxed to push to the next level, you’re unlikely to attack the bench or leg press with the same gusto than when your testosterone levels are booming. Don’t worry, the levels do return to normal eventually, but hard training sessions after sex isn’t necessarily the smartest idea.

So what’s the bottom line? Sex does have a connection to muscle growth. On the one hand, it can be an indicator of above average testosterone levels, while on the other, the release of zinc after a session can prove to have a negative impact, at least if you plan on hitting the gym directly after. Solution? If you can’t refrain, then be sure to space out your sexual encounters and your training sessions. Hormonal levels will return to normal eventually so no need to worry. Be sure to keep those zinc levels up through your supplementation and diet. Be smart about the timing and you’ll be fine.

Has having sex ever affected your gym performance? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.