030918 "Fact OR Fiction: Sex and Athletic Performance"

I vividly Recall one of my Head instructors at Fire Academy. He always gave it to us straight, whether it was techniques on popping a door or how to angle my hose for optimal knockdown on flames. Another piece of advice he gave me was to 'never have sex the night before a practical exam, it will kill your aggression'. I dont know why but this has always stuck with me and today im going to dig into the research behind sex and performance, because we ALL want both!

A Brief History of Sex
Looking back on our Human History and thinking of who I would use as a starting point for my research I quickly searched the Spartans.. Right? Did Spartans and other Greeks, (who anecdotally were known far an wide for their sexual escapades) have sex before battle? Well Google wasn't much help. There are about a million articles about how Homosexuality and Greeks but only a few on sex in battle. What I did find was surprising; It turns out that Sex before battle was actually something that Greeks and Romans were very conscious of and thus the theory that it affects performance stems from these ancient times! It was thought, as it is today, that your 'spirit' and 'verve' were diminished because sex makes men soft and too relaxed. Aggression, as you can imagine, comes from increased testosterone and without much peer reviewed, double blind testing, pretty much every man in the world will tell you that the essence of aggression and fight decreases after sex. 
Fast Forward a couple thousand years and you see that sex before competition is still debated. Mohammad Ali used to stop having sex months before fights for both mental and physical preparedness, whereas Joe Namath was like a Rabbit the night before games because he said it increased his flow. Ahh! I need to keep looking to get to the bottom of this predicament. Lets turn to the science of sex. 

Science Of Sex
It may not break the calorie burning scale but sex can be a good workout. The research does on the subject vary slightly but women can burn 60-100 calories and men can burn 100-300 calories per session. Now this is all subjective I believe. I hypothesize that calories burned are relative to the positions used but this is another topic to be discussed seperately... we are here to talk performance in sport not in the bedroom.
But alas, they go hand in hand though dont they?
During the act of calorie burn while having sex there is a hormonal exchange that happens as well. Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is produced both in the brain and pituitary gland. Like other hormones the rate of production is related to how healthy you are, how well your systems are functioning, and how well you recover. Both men and women produce testosterone but men produce a significant amount more than women. When Testosterone is released into the body and used for muscle growth, sexual performance, back squatting ... whatever.... there is an opposite amount of estrogen and cortisol that back fills the system during recovery. Estrogen and cortisol are "catabolic" hormones. Catabolic hormones are not good to have coursing through your system if you are trying to get maximum performance from your brain or muscles. Testosterone is an "anabolic" hormone that increases performance. The optimal situation is to have ample amounts of "anabolic" hormone available for both sex and athletics but if your recovery time is slow, you need to choose one or the other. 
Heart Rate Recovery is just as important as hormone recovery. Both Sex and Athletics have an effect on your heart. Optimizing the amount of Recovery time between bouts of intense exercise is important, especially as we age. This gives the High School and college athlete the advantage of being able to perform sexually, hours before the big games. They are young and can take it. Whereas my old ass needs to be more thoughtful about coaching, training and then trying to have a go with my wife in the same day! My Heart just isn't recovering as well and therefore my performance is going to suffer. 
BUT THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT REASON TO BE FIT. When you are fit, no matter the age, you will have better heart rate recovery and Hormone recovery!

What Scientists and Athletes Agree On
SO we have learned that Sex and Performance have been a major topic for millennia. We have taken a look inside and seen that Sex really Does have an effect on the endocrine (hormonal) systems of the body. So what can everyone agree on? 
Well the one truth that can reinforce what I was saying about subjective findings, is that everyone is different. If you are a Powerlifter and 25 years old, you may be able to pull off a night of sex and then go out and hit your PB at the meet. If you are 35 years old and have sex the night before a marathon you may end up bonking by mile 20. It really depends on you, your training, your fitness, and maybe What positions you are using during sex? Also, it really does depend on your gender. Men produce more Testosterone and therefore have more to loose. Women may BOOST their Testosterone levels by engaging in sex and could stand to increase sex around the time of competition . 
From the research I found the remedy for boosting Testosterone around the time of competition is by sexual arousal but abstinence to maintain levels. You can put your own experience and thoughts behind this one because everyone has differing levels of arousal and if you are unable to contain yourself after arousal... well then I would just stick with abstinence! 

Just the Facts
From Greeks to Firefighters there is one true way to not effect performance in competition: Have sex after your are done winning! Thats right, stimulation may be a method for boosting testosterone but save your VERVE for the podium. After you have cash in your pocket and a medal around your neck, sex will undoubtedly be more special. 
And for the record, I did take my Instructors advice and crushed my practical exams during Fire Academy. But... It should be said, and Cristin can corroborate this fact, I was so damn exhausted during those months that it wasn't even a choice! HAHA ... 

Get after it this week everyone. Irregardless of all the information discussed today, having balance in your life between a healthy sex life and healthy athletic life is important. Train hard and Ill be back next week with more up to date science and commentary on all things training and nutrition related!
Love you all,

Programming Notes 9/3-9/7 ** This is week 2 of the Unilateral Exposure cycle. Last week the stimulus was eccentric loading and control and this week we are going to be adding dynamics to the same TEMPO control work. Also Sumo Deads on Friday for Adductor training. 1 Hero Wod and 1 Benchmark that is guaranteed to challenge your grip strength.

500m Row
20X Ice Skater Jump Lunges
20X Push Ups
20X Deadbug Contra Lateral Reach
20X PVC Pass Thru
500m Row

Lunge Flow:
- elbow to instep W/ twist
-hamstring pulses
-samson Lunges
-warrior 2 pose
-pigeon Stretch

Unilateral Work:
Kettlebell Front Rack LATERAL
Box Step Overs 24/20”
3X 12  @35/26
*The athlete will be positioned parallel with the box and laterally step up , shuffle over and step down, laterally. Control the descent when stepping down.

8:00 AMRAP
8 Overhead Squats 115/75
8 Burpee Over Bar

Rest 5 Minutes

4 Rounds For Time ,
8 Overhead Squats 95/65*
8 Burpee Over Bar

3X :45 Work / :15 Rest
-Jump Rope
-Piked Push Ups
- Jumping Pull Ups
-Barbell Good Mornings
-Squat Therapy

Hamstring Primer:
-Pendlay Row
-Deficit Romanian Deadlift

10 Handstand Push Ups
15 Deadlift 250#
50 Pull Ups
100 Wall Ball Shots
200 Double Unders
400m Run W/ 45# Plate

5 Minutes Easy Bike,
50’ Crab Walk
50’ Bear Crawl
50’ Elbow TO Instep Lunge Steps
50 Flutter Kicks
20 Bench Dips

Challenge #1,
For Total Time,
2 Minute Handstand Hold
4 Minute Plank Hold
*Every time you kick down or break, row 250m

Challenge #2
For Time
15 Power Clean 135/95
9 Ring Dips

Cool Down:
Lat band Mobility
Bully Stretch
Scapula Distraction

Agility Warm Up @ 10m Each
Quad Pull
Squat 180 **stepping the leg high over hip, swing opposite leg to 180, squat
High Knees
Butt kickers
Marching High Kicks
Straight leg shuffles
Fig 4 Drill
Lateral Shuffle
Lateral Bounding
Sprint W/ Change of Direction

Benchmark WOD:
6 Rounds For Time
400m Run
40 Russian KB Swing 53/35
20 Air Squats
:45 Rest Between Rounds
*all Russian Swings have to be unbroken, any time the KB is set down, you add 10 squats to the round.

Cool Down:
Reverse Hand Plank Hold
Pigeon Stretch

20 Cal On Bike
10 Banded Lateral Walks
10 Banded Good Mornings
10 Banded Pass Thru
10 Ring Row

Snatch Warm Up:
7@ Each W/ Barbell
-Snatch Grip DL
-High Pull
-Muscle Snatch
-Overhead Squat
-sotts Press
-Snatch Balance
-Hang Snatch

Adductor Training:
Sumo Deadlift
*across All Sets
*moderate Loading

A- 12 Cal Bike
B- 3 Snatch *@ 70-85% **no Misses
C- 12 Supine Ring Row
D- EASY Biking