Does Constant Masturbation Make It Harder for Men to Build Muscle?
The "NoFap" community is concerned that wanking is tanking their gains
In a recent video, fitness guru Jeff Cavaliere — he of 2.2 million Instagram followers and a dedicated YouTube following — broached a subject most gym rats have considered at some point in their adult lives: Is masturbation getting in the way of my fitness gains?
The worry originates from an often-unquestioned piece of advice coaches give to athletes: don’t ejaculate the night before a big game or match. That concept has been further popularized by sports movies, if referenced a bit more subtly. In the original Rocky, the trainer Mick bellows “Women weaken legs!” after a pair of female admirers try to get Rocky’s autograph during a training session. In the comments section of the video, one account wrote: “First Nofap reference in a movie.”
Cavaliere says he wanted to address this debate as a response to the growing “NoFap” community online. While he supports efforts to curb debilitating porn addiction, he’s wary that some men (and women) are convinced resisting the urge to masturbate will help them get bigger in the gym. Their contention? Save your testosterone. If you don’t ejaculate it away, you’ll have a higher T count, which means bigger muscles, stronger bones and a better mood.
Well, it isn’t that simple. While a couple studies have shown that testosterone levels increase a week or 10 days after someone quits masturbation cold turkey, just as many have shown the opposite. (The former studies could be criticized for their small sample sizes, too.) Besides, as Cavaliere points out, the premise that masturbation alone puppeteers testosterone levels is problematic; the body releases hormones on its own in an effort to achieve homeostasis.
Medical News Today sums up the debate succinctly: “Masturbation does not typically pose a threat to any other aspects of a person’s physical health.” It will not sabotage your muscle growth. Of course, low testosterone does relate to a dip in muscle mass, but there are medical ways to combat that issues — patches, injections, supplements — as well as natural ways, including diet, stress reduction, frequent activity and sleep.
That very last point is interesting, considering Cavaliere’s final thought was pro-masturbation, specifically as a tool to calm the body down before sleep. Cavaliere recommends masturbating as a pre-bed activity, on days where you didn’t exercise enough. He imagines that this could help deliver you a better night’s sleep, which — theoretically and ironically — would improve your testosterone and fitness gains over time.
You heard the man.
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