I’ve seen some bodybuilders complain in forums, that ever since they started weight training they have lower libido or even erectile dysfunction (ED) problems. Like many other bodybuilders, I always thought weight training promoted healthy testosterone levels, so it wouldn’t have this effect. It wasn’t until I started studying the hormonal reactions from weight training recently, that I realized it certainly could have an effect.
Within about an hour of starting a weight training workout, there will be a spike in cortisol. There will also be a spike in testosterone and other hormones. A few hours later though, testosterone will drop quickly below normal pre-training levels. They won’t return to pre-training levels for a day or 2. Testosterone plays a crucial role in men, for libido and erections. I believe during the time it is well below normal, is when problems libido or ED problems could occur.
Excessive weight training (overtraining) would just make the problem even worse. Bodybuilders sometimes find that they’re sex drive goes up when they take a couple weeks off. This is because taking a break off does restore your hormone levels, if you have been overtraining or gone months without any breaks from lifting. After reading this you may, think that bodybuilding does more harm than good for healthy hormonal levels. In the long run however, bodybuilding will help maintain (or slightly increase) your resting testosterone levels, provided you aren’t overtraining. It is just during the period of immediate recovery for about 24 to 36 hours, that your testosterone levels drop temporarily. Common diet and supplement practices of bodybuilders, such as high calorie diet and plenty of healthy fats and getting plenty of sleep has been shown to increase natural testosterone production.