Why No “Boom Boom” Before a Fight?

by Krix Luther

I was in my usual go-to restaurant the other day, and I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of two guys wearing Muay Thai T-shirts. They were talking about the current Coronavirus isolation situation. They were 2 very loud Americans who had no problems talking openly about how Pornhub and Brazzers were giving away free porn accounts for people with Covid-19. I am pretty sure everyone in the entire restaurant could clearly hear what they were saying.

It got a bit awkward when they started talking about masturbation and sex before training, they expressed their opinion on how they thought it affected performance. It reminded me of a couple lifetimes ago when I fought for Rawai Muay Thai. The trainers always used to tell me every day in the weeks before a fight “No Boom Boom, No Checkwow, OK?” Not sure if I am spelling this right phonetically but “Boom Boom” is a slang term for sex and “Checkwow” meaning to masturbate. Everyone who has ever competed in Muay Thai will have been told this over and over. It’s not just Muay Thai or combat sports, any competition that requires a certain level of physical prowess. And people will always tell you to restrain from sexual activity before the day of the event.

But why? Is it a myth? Or is there some science to it?

The debate on whether sex affects your training or fight game focuses around how it affects testosterone levels. Testosterone plays a fundamental role in physical fitness and vital for protein synthesis. They say the result of sex before a fight will make your legs weak, you will lose aggression/killer instinct and lowers your testosterone levels. Furthermore, they say you need high Testosterone levels during training to help build muscles and speed up recovery.

So, let’s break these down into their most common questions.

Does masturbation drain you of testosterone?

The answer is “no”, actually testosterone increases during sex or masturbation and falls to normal levels afterwards, nor does masturbating a lot lower your testosterone levels.

Does frequent masturbation increase testosterone then?

Also, “no” frequent masturbation will not increase your body production of testosterone. But some studies have shown it could actually lower your androgen receptors; these help the body utilize testosterone. So, your levels remain the same but masturbating too much might hamper your body’s ability to use it.

Does abstaining from sex/masturbation increase testosterone levels?

This is dependent on the time frame. Studies have shown abstaining from sexual activity for 3 months can decrease your testosterone levels. However, abstaining from all sexual activity for 1 or 2 weeks has been proven to increase your Testosterone level but never to any significant level.

Does having sex before a workout affect performance?

Some people debate whether having sex or masturbating before a training session affects your stamina or endurance, but no studies have yet to back up this claim.

Well, if the science says no, does that mean I can do it?

Unfortunately, not! Despite the science disproving the main reason people think you shouldn’t. The real reason is not physiological but psychological.

It all boils down to our evolution of the human species or any species for that matter. We are all hard-coded for one purpose and one purpose only, to reproduce. It’s in the DNA’s core programming of pretty much every living organism. The “theory of attainment” states that, for males, having sex is the primary source of all motivation and drive to be successful. Without this objective, men would simply not have the desire to succeed. The theory goes on further to say that men who have lots of sex regularly find it hard to succeed in anything. And if men lost the want for sex (Attract Females), then they would never have the desire to succeed. Hence, the reason for not having sex before the competition is because by having sex, you lose the need to have sex. So, you lose the inner desire to succeed as subconsciously you have succeeded.

So, when you are in an evenly matched fight or competition, the will power, the heart, that ability to dig down deep into your soul to conjure up the energy to keep fighting, to keep pushing forward when it’s tough… It won’t be there.

My Personal Experience

For me learning of this theory makes sense. However, despite what the science says, I believe there still to be a physiological aspect. I personally have tested the theory when fighting for Rawai Muay Thai. I am retired now, and Tuk, the owner of the camp, lives far away, so it’s safe for me to confess that I have had sex the night before a fight and during the last week of training. The statement they say about it making “your legs weak” I found to be very accurate. Training the morning after having sex, I found I was easily tripped up, easier to be swept or thrown off balance. When I abstained from all sexual activity, I felt I was more grounded, harder to be shifted off balance.

I also believe it can be dependent on the sport. I remember an interview with British footballer Gary Linker’, who swore having sex before a match made him lighter on his feet. Also, in Sugar Ray Leonard’s biography, he mentions he had a conversation about it with Mohammed Ali, and both confessed to each other they only abstain from sex just days before a fight. Perhaps it’s the placebo effect, but I personally believe for maximum performance you should refrain at least 1 week prior to your match.