Spend some time browsing the archives of any popular bodybuilding forum and you most certainly come across multiple threads on the topic of masturbation and testosterone levels. Every guy secretly wants to know if masturbation affects muscle building. So it seems like every week some novice lifter who doesn’t know how to use the search function posts a new thread about it.
“I’ve heard excessive masturbation will cause my t-levels to plummet and make me go catabolic”,
“Does sex increase testosterone levels but masturbation lowers them?”,
“Will I turn into a vegan yoga addict if my t-levels get too low?”
“Will masturbation affect muscle growth?” etc. etc.
While the internet is great for articles like these, unfortunately it gives every idiot out there a voice to ask the dumb questions – anonymously.
On a more serious note though, it’s easy to see why people might think that excessive ejaculation can drop your t-levels. Those of us who aren’t forever-aloners and have actually had sex with a women before know that feeling you get after sex.
You don’t feel motivated to do anything except lounge around, eat junk food and watch tv.
If you’ve slept with multiple girls in a short time you might not even have the motivation to answer a text message even!
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Unfortunately, however, we don’t have access to a limitless supply of horny women (unless you are Leonardo DiCaprio.. or Rich Piana…) and eventually get that motivation to get off our asses and actually do something productive. We often wonder what would happen if everyone had access to that kind of sex life – would anything even get done?
Anyway this is getting off-topic, let’s get back to the focus of this article.
So why do people worry that masturbation will impact their gains in the gym? Their fears stem from two general ideas. The first is that ejaculation contains zinc (this part is true) and therefore doing it too frequently will cause a zinc deficiency.
Studies have linked zinc deficiencies with lower testosterone levels, hence the concern. Second and probably more common is the idea that testosterone levels decrease after ejaculation.
Therefore by masturbating regularly you are going to suppress your testosterone levels.
So are these ideas valid or just complete broscience?
Well for starters, during ejaculation many nutrients are lost however most are in such small amounts that it doesn’t have a material impact. However, quite a lot of zinc is actually lost so depending on how frequently you are masturbating and what your normal baseline zinc levels are it is definitely possible to create a zinc deficiency in your body this way.
To make things more interesting, we’ll add that zinc is an important nutrient when it comes to muscle growth and maintenance of existing muscle tissue not to mention it helps regulate testosterone levels.
As a result, if you are ejaculating frequently – either from masturbation or sex – it is recommended that you increase your zinc intake to make sure you don’t lose those sweet sweet gains.
Now on to the testosterone issue.
This is the one that gets the most attention and is the most discussed by broscientists around the world – for good reason. It impacts how much muscle you can build, how much fat you carry and a variety of desirable behaviors and physical traits.
Obviously a lot of people who commit significant amounts of time to bodybuilding would be devastated to find out that one of their favorite activities was impacting their gains and limiting their potential.
Well we are happy to announce that numerous studies have shown that ejaculation – either from masturbation or sex – does not impact testosterone materially. That’s not to say there won’t be some minimal positive or negative effect – it just won’t be enough to really change your long-term bodybuilding progress.
One famous study looked at the impact of men who abstained from ejaculation and found that testosterone levels peaked after 7 days of abstinence – then returned to normal levels on the eighth day.
So if you want your testosterone level to be at its highest level on a particular day, for whatever reason, stop masturbating for the 7 days preceding it. Other studies on t-levels and muscle growth show that t-levels need to rise significantly in order to have a material impact on your gains.
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One particular study by the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science showed that subjects needed at least a 30% boost before there was a consistent and noticeable increase in muscle mass.
What many people out there don’t tell you is that minor boosts in testosterone levels don’t have a discernable impact on your gym performance as long as you are still in your normal range. In order to see a difference you need to significantly increase the range at which your testosterone level normally sits. Avoiding ejaculation simply won’t do that for you.
So what should you take away from all these studies about ejaculation and testosterone levels?
Simply put, minor short-term changes in testosterone levels really have no material impact when it comes to building muscle. In other words; does masturbation affect muscle building? NOPE, not really.
All guys want to higher testosterone levels. It’s a fact. And you should do everything you can to keep them up. You can read more about how you can increase your testosterone levels naturally in our ultimate guide to testosterone here.
If you want to see a nice boost in muscle growth from testosterone levels you will need to boost them way up – and keep them there. That can only be done with taking dangerous steroids or by supplementing with a high quality natural testosterone booster. Just make sure it contains ingredients that actually work. You can learn more about testosterone boosters in our ultimate guide here.
Where you do need to pay attention is when it comes to zinc levels. As mentioned earlier, ejaculating frequently can cause you to be zinc deficient. As we explained earlier, zinc plays in a role in regulating testosterone levels so this zinc deficiency could impact your levels negatively.
However, in order for it to impact your actual muscle growth you would need to bring the levels down much lower.
Nevertheless, if you are going to be ejaculating frequently (we’re not judging) we recommend taking a zinc supplement or consume a diet that naturally contains a lot of it.
Ok so we’ve seen that masturbating won’t cause you to lose 2 inches on your biceps – we can all stop holding our breath. However, it’s worth mentioning here that there is something that most definitely can hurt your testosterone levels – worrying.
Yes, stress plays a major impact on testosterone levels, just look at high-stress individuals – they exhibit many traits of people with low testosterone levels (overweight, difficulty sleeping, etc). If you are constantly worrying about what every little activity will do to your gains chances are you are probably worrying about a lot of things in your life that you shouldn’t be.
Just let these things go and relax – otherwise you’ll be letting your gains go. Many studies have shown that having high stress levels brings down testosterone levels a lot not to mention all the other diseases and symptoms they can bring on.
So don’t worry about the minor things too much – life isn’t just one giant conspiracy trying to kill your gains. So to finish this article with an answer: Masturbation does not affect muscle building nor your testosterone levels.
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