Does Sex Make You Weak?

We reviewed all the studies, and research has reached a verdict about how your bedroom activity affects your gym performance.

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Does sex make you weak?

  • Lengthen your lifespan

  • Arnold’s weekend challenge

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Motivation every day. Want Arnold to help you start your day? Each morning, we post a new podcast with tips you’ll find in the daily email and bonus stories, wisdom, and motivation from Arnold. Listen to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's like the daily newsletter but with additional narration and thoughts from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

From the Village: Does Sex Make You Weak?

We were recently asked the sex question during a Q&A in The Pump app, and we decided to share the answer with the rest of the village. (For those asking, we will open up more spots soon. You can join the waitlist here.)

As funny as it might sound, the relationship between sex and performance has been studied many times (who says scientists are boring?). Recently, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of nine different studies.

It appears that sex does not have any impact — positive or negative — on performance. 

The scientists found that having sex anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours before exercise does not boost or harm your aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, strength, or power.

The exception? There might be some truth to the idea that “sex gives you weak legs?” As we shared months ago, one study found that subjects who had sex the night before their workout saw a five-pound decrease in lower body strength (the researchers tested a 5-rep max on the back squat).

Is five fewer pounds worth it? That’s your call. But sex has health benefits, even though it doesn’t make you stronger in the gym. Research suggests that sex supports immune function, lowers stress and blood pressure levels, and is linked with reducing the risk of heart disease. Plus, sex can burn up to 150 calories (cardio, right?).

Our take? You have enough decisions to make already. Worrying about how sex might affect your workouts is the last thing that should be on your mind.

Lengthen Your Lifespan

Being lonely isn’t just a challenge for your mental health; it might also significantly impact your mortality.

A massive review of 148 studies and nearly 310,000 people found that individuals with stronger social relationships lived up to 7 years longer than those with weaker social connections.

The findings from this study are particularly relevant today, with increased social isolation. The research indicates that the quality of our relationships — not necessarily the quantity — substantially impacts our overall well-being.

The study also highlights the importance of both giving and receiving social support. Being there for others in times of need and having others provide support to us can significantly reduce our mortality risk. 

According to the lead researcher, "Our relationships deserve just as much attention in our health as factors such as smoking, exercise, and diet."

Remember, the power of social connections can lead to a happier, healthier life. Don’t forget to call or text a friend, join someone for a workout, see a family member, or even connect with an online community. You don’t need many friends, but the good ones make a difference.

Arnold’s Weekend Challenge

If you read this week’s Monday Motivation, you probably had an idea of how I would challenge you this weekend. (If you missed it, you can read it here.)

I discussed the dangers of comfort. We’ve all become a little too comfortable. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the privileges and advancements in technology. I have no desire to go back in time. But I don’t want you to forget the timeless qualities that lead to the greatest successes.

Being too comfortable means avoiding the struggle, pain, and work. As I wrote in Be Useful,

If there is one unavoidable truth in this world, it’s that there is no substitute for putting in the work. There is no shortcut or growth hack or magic pill that can get you around the hard work of doing your job well, of winning something you care about, or of making your dreams come true. People have tried to cut corners and skip steps in this process for as long as hard work has been hard. Eventually, those people either fall behind or get left in our dust, because working your ass off is the only thing that works 100 percent of the time for 100 percent of the things worth achieving.

Work works. So this weekend, my challenge for you is to identify the areas of your life where you’re not putting in the hard work.

Where are you cutting corners or cheating yourself? When are you being too lazy or not pushing yourself? What have you done to push above and beyond? Or how are you limiting your ambition?

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that when you put in good reps — the reward is always worth it.

This weekend, ask yourself the hard questions. Challenge yourself to abandon comfort, even in small ways. And let me know what you’re doing to make sure you’re giving maximum effort.

Thanks again for joining us for another week. We love pumping you up every day. Here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell