Sex Drive and Endurance Training

Sex Drive and Endurance Training by Hector L Torres

As humans we take care of ourselves in variable ways, we swim, bike, run, sign up for races and hit the gym several times a week. We glance in the mirror and we are very happy how our body is looking and we get compliments left and right from our peers and loved ones. Especially,

  • “You look great!”
  • “Have you lost weight?”
  • “You have phenomenal muscle definition….”

It builds your self esteem and your attitude during the day. However, when you are with your partner/husband/wife/boyfriend or girlfriend, you are not in the mood for anything. Especially when you are done riding the bike.

You spend so much time training, trying to achieve your peak performance and go on and on at miles to come… that your sex drive is completely depleted! If and when athletes train too much or too long (ring a bell?), or if they do not prioritize a balanced diet and proper recovery (ahem…), the “stress” hormone cortisol remains elevated. Cortisol is a necessary hormone for decreasing inflammation,  breaking down protein and fat, and for keeping homeostasis. In excess, however, it breaks down too much protein, disturbs our sleep patterns, and impedes proper recovery. This leaves us feeling fatigued, sluggish, and well…not in THE MOOD.

its important to remain balanced as athletes even when faced with the steep training demands of an ironman, 70.3 or other triathlon or endurance event. We have to understand the demands of the sport when it comes physically and mentally. It is an endurance event, so you may find yourself workout out 15 – 25 hours a week. If left unchecked however, athletes can become hormonally unbalanced and in a perpetual catabolic state.

However, studies have shown that too much exercise is associated with a decrease in testosterone and other male hormones, which can decrease sexual desire. In women, too much exercise can cause depletion of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones important to sex drive and satisfaction. Unlike strength training or power and speed sports that release a high amount of growth hormones and other “anabolic” hormones into the bloodstream, endurance training results in higher amounts of cortisol and “catabolic” hormones.

While focus on diet and proper recovery reap huge rewards, studies show that incorporating an appropriate amount of speed, power, and strength training elicits a greater anabolic response in our body to keep us balanced and recovering well (and increasing sex drive).
Diet affects the libido in numerous ways. Some of the effects are simple to understand. Getting enough to eat provides the energy to function sexually. Too much to eat can kill the desire. But diet also affects sexual response in several, lesser-known ways, involving hormone production, blood flow, lubrication and other symptoms of arousal. Just by watching what you eat, you can notice a difference in sexual response.

Volek & Kraemer have a fascinating paper where dietary fat (SFA + MUFA not PUFA) and cholesterol have the most significant positive correlations with testosterone levels (table 3).


To keep these systems in working order, a diet should be based on legumes, grain products, and other complex carbohydrates, with plenty of fruits and vegetables and modest levels of protein; this diet provides plenty of vitamins and minerals. Particularly important are citrus fruits for vitamin C to strengthen blood vessel walls, and low-fat dairy products, enriched or fortified cereals, whole grains, and green vegetables for riboflavin to maintain the mucous membranes that line the female reproductive tract.

It is known that zinc is tied to sexual function, although its importance to the sex drive has yet to be explained. Without enough zinc, sexual development in children is delayed, and men, too, need zinc to make sperm. Zinc is found abundantly in foods of animal origin, including seafood (especially oysters), meat, poultry and liver, as well as eggs, milk, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

Minimize saturated fats. People readily accept the link between a high intake of saturated fats, elevated blood cholesterol levels, and a buildup of atherosclerotic fatty plaques on the blood vessels around the heart. It’s less well understood, however, that similar plaques develop on the myriad tiny vessels in the penis. Without free-flowing circulation, the penis cannot physically respond to messages from the sex drive.

Avoid simple sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. These three compounds can deplete natural hormones and introduce synthetic hormones into the body, which create hormonal imbalances.

Avoid stress. There’s nothing that depletes hormones and negatively affects your mood like a hectic day with no breaks for breathing, stretching, and relaxation. Especially at work, take time at least several times a day to slow down and do something relaxing – whether that’s a catnap, a walk, a quick yoga session, or just 5 minutes of relaxed, controlled breathing.

Supplement if necessary. Contact your Primary Physician for more information.


6 Nutrition Strategies for a Stronger Sex Drive Read more: (2010, June 4). Retrieved from
Beck, E. (2010, August 1). The effects of diet on the libido. Retrieved from
Endurance Training And Sex Drive . (2012, June 25). Retrieved from
Helming, N. (2012, June 28). The hormone balance: Training and Sex Drive.. Retrieved from
Volek, J., Kraemer, W., Bush, J., Inciedon, T., & Boestes, M. (2006, April 10). Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Retrieved from

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