Ask Davey

Every week, Davey Wavey answers fan questions about fitness, nutrition or general health. If you have a question, send it to Davey at davey@daveywaveyfitness.com

Is Masturbation Healthy: How Often Should You Do It?

Dear Davey,

I have a really embarrassing question to ask. I know that you’re not a doctor, but is masturbation healthy? Does it impact my workouts and how often is too often?

From,
Joe

holdhandsbillboard

Someone spent money on this?

Hey Joe,

This is probably my favorite question. Ever.

As it turns out, a lot of people rub the nub. One national survey found that 95% of men and 89% of women reported masturbating; the other 5% and 11%, respectively, reported lying. In other words, a little hand to gland combat is a very common and normal part of the human experience.

First things first, masturbation is actually quite healthy. Despite antiquated medical assumptions to the contrary, science has shown that masturbation is a good thing. Benefits range from sleeping better to stress management and improved brain health. Apparently, orgasms are better for your brain than crossword puzzles or Sudoku.

As to the impact of masturbation on athletic performance, the research is also clear. Back in the day, coaches would steer their athletes clear of sexual activity including self pleasure; the assumption was that getting your rocks off decreased testosterone – a hormone that many believe boosts athletic performance. But science is a beautiful thing! In actuality, regular sexual activity increases testosterone. Myth busted!

So when it comes to draining the dragon, how often is too often? According to Logan Levkoff, PhD, a sexologist and sex educator:

It’s not how many times you masturbate in a week (or day) that really matters. It’s how it fits into your life… If you masturbate many times a day and have a healthy, satisfying life, good for you. But if you masturbate many times a day and you’re missing work or giving up on sex with your partner because of it, consider seeing a sex therapist.

What is harmful, on the other hand, is the shame and guilt that many people feel because of the views that their culture or religion impose on this healthy and natural human practice.

As if you needed another reason for some five knuckle shuffle. Enjoy.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want to give your forearms a break and train another muscle group, give Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Workout a try. It’s five, 12-minute ab workouts that you can do just about anywhere.

 

Is “Happy Fat” Real?

tumblr_m9y694AJqk1qiv9dfo1_500Hey Davey,

In the six  years of my relationship, I’ve put on what my friends call “happy fat.” Happy fat is the extra weight that a person gains during a relationship. Do you have any tips for reversing this trend or am I doomed to be happy fat forever?

From,
Duane

Hey Duane,

The idea of being “fat and happy” during a relationship is quite popular, but there’s a few points we need to clarify:

  • You don’t need a partner to be happy
  • Having a partner doesn’t need to result in fat gain
  • Having a partner doesn’t necessarily make you happy

Having said all of that, research does show that married individuals have a higher body mass index (BMI) than single people. All other variables held constant, a recent study found that the increased BMI for married men and women translates to about 4.5 pounds of extra fat. Another poll found that 62% of respondents reported gaining 14 pounds or more after starting a relationship.

We can certainly speculate at the causes. For one, the aforementioned study found that married individuals are less likely to engage in sport; decreased physical activity, especially as other family commitments increase, can certainly be a factor. In other instances, being “off the market” might decrease superficial motivations for staying trim.

Whatever the cause, the “happy fat” narrative doesn’t need to be your story. In fact, staying in shape as a couple can become a great bonding experience. During our current stay in Austin, for example, my boyfriend and I spend a half hour at a nearby playground doing a bodyweight workout each afternoon. For us, it’s a great way to connect while prioritizing our fitness goals.

To that end, here are a few tips to turn “happy fat” into “happy healthy”:

  1. Create opportunities for shared physical activity. Even if it’s small, commit to consistent physical activity. A few calories burned, when repeated over and over again, can result in transformative changes. Some ideas include going on a walk with your partner, doing yoga together, take a hike or have an outdoors bodyweight workout.
  2. Cook healthy food together. While exercise helps increase calories out, it’s important to be mindful of the calories going into your body. With your partner, go on a culinary adventure and explore healthy foods and recipes that you can enjoy together. Go to the market and get excited about fueling your body with the nutrients it needs.
  3. Take responsibility for your health. Your partner can not make you gain weight without your permission. You control what goes into your mouth. You control the amount of physical activity in which you engage. Having a partner isn’t a reason for gaining weight; it’s an excuse. At the end of the day, it all comes down to choices. If you’ve made choices that have resulted in fat gain, you can make choices that result it in coming off.

Having said all of that, it’s worth noting that BMI and body fat aren’t the only measures of health; overall, despite the fat gain, married individuals tend to enjoy better health when compared to their single counterparts. Indeed, married people live longer, eat better and drink less. So let’s keep it all in perspective.

P.S. If you’re looking for a fun bodyweight workout that you can do with a friend or partner, try Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. As a free gift, you’ll also receive my Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. Both programs are great tools for getting on track!

Am I Gaining Fat Or Muscle?

Dear Davey,

I’ve recently started strength training at the gym and eating more calories because I’m trying to build muscle. Over the last two months I’ve gained 12 pounds. How do I know if it’s muscle or just fat?

From,
Shaun

muscle-mirror-selfie-manHey Shaun,

Congratulations on starting with a strength training program and kudos for sticking with it.

When it comes to exercise, evaluating results against our goals is crucial. Beyond helping us stay motivated, tracking progress lets us know what works – and what doesn’t work. By evaluating results, we can make changes toward a more efficient workout.

In your case, building muscle is the goal. Gaining weight, as you’ve noted, is an incomplete metric to measure against your goal. Excess weight can be indicative of added fat, increased water retention, muscle mass or any combination thereof. This is why it’s important to think beyond the scale.

Though there are fancy body composition tests that you can take and equations that can be utilized, there is a very simple trick for measuring muscle gains versus fat gains. Get a tape measure. Using a tape measure, record the circumference of your biceps, neck, chest, forearms, etc. Every few weeks, mark down your new measurements.

As a general rule, larger muscles and an unchanged waistline means that you’re gaining mostly muscle. If your muscles and waistline are both increasing, it means you’re adding both muscle and fat. And if you’re just noticing an increase around your waistline, then it’s mostly fat.

Taking a picture of yourself under the same lighting conditions (i.e., same time of day) every few weeks can also be helpful in observing changes. You can also notice how your clothes fit differently over time. Or, if you have the resources, take a monthly body composition test and crunch the numbers.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want a guaranteed strategy for adding lean bulk, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle!

The Weakest Guy At The Gym.

Dear Davey,

I recently joined a gym and I’m completed embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I’m the weakest guy at the gym. Everyone is strong and fit, and I’m just a twiggy skinny guy that can’t lift much weight at all. I’ve been skipping the gym because it’s just to embarrassing. What’s your advice?

From,
Christopher

Bodybuilder Dan Decker Working Out In The GymHey Christopher,

I’m so glad that you emailed me because I have a few thoughts.

First and foremost, being the weakest guy at the gym is actually a blessing – not a curse. Being surrounded by people that are stronger and fitter means that you’re in a position to learn from their success. Don’t use the fit people around you to tear yourself down; use them to lift yourself up.

This is especially true for group fitness classes. I love being surrounded by strong, athletic class participants; beyond being inspired, it’s an indication that the class is effective. If I want to look and perform like these individuals, then I need to incorporate aspects of what they’re doing into my routine. Through this process, I can elevate myself to their level.

Befriend some of the people at your gym. Ask about their routines. Have them show you a few exercises. At the very least, observe some of the exercises that they’re performing and, if you feel safe, try them out for yourself. It’s a great way to discover what works for you.

And remember that even the bulkiest bodybuilder or the fastest athlete started somewhere. No one is born with bulging arms or a defined pecs; these transformations happen as the result of hard work performed consistently. None of these individuals will judge you for getting started; in fact, they’ve all been in the very same spot that you’re now in.

There’s one thing that’s certain. If you continue skipping the gym, you won’t reach your goals. If, on the other hand, you change the way that you approach your situation, you can accomplish great things.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want to add lean bulk, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a step-by-step guide to achieving the results you want!

My Boyfriend Is Making Me Fat.

Dear Davey,

My entire life, I was always very lean. Until I met my boyfriend. In just 2 years, I’ve gained more than 30 pounds with no end in sight. I’m officially overweight. What do I do?

From,
Keith

b7b225c4dddf23bc08eb45f6b5381930Hey Keith,

While we might joke that relationships make us “fat and happy,” there may be some truth to the age-old adage. According to one poll, 62% of respondents report gaining 14 pounds or more after starting a relationship. And a frequently referenced study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that having an obese spouse makes you 37% more likely to become obese yourself.

And it makes sense. When we’re in a relationship and off the market, we might become less concerned with our appearance. For some people, this might be an excuse to slack off on exercise or indulge in unhealthy foods. Maybe we make more time for our partner, and less time for ourselves. Or maybe our partner is an enabler, and we adopt his or her unhealthy eating habits. Instead of the usual salad, we opt for the pizza.

But let’s be clear: Unless there’s a feeding tube down your throat or you’re being held prisoner, no one can make you fat without your permission. All of us, regardless of relationship status, must take responsibility for what goes into our mouths and the exercise we get. We must take responsibility for our health.

The reality is, being off the market isn’t an excuse to skip exercise. Beyond looking a certain way, exercise is a necessary component to a healthy and productive life. And while it’s great to make time for the people we love, we have more to give others when we prioritize ourselves. If your partner orders a pizza, you can still choose something healthier. It’s not an excuse.

As a human being with free will, don’t use your partner as an excuse; take responsibility for your choices and subsequent weight gain. Understand that through smarter food choices and through increased movement, you can reverse the trend – and perhaps even inspire change in your partner’s lifestyle.

Your boyfriend didn’t make you fat. You made yourself overweight. But by utilizing that same power of choice, you can also make yourself healthier and fit.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you need help getting started, I’d recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. With a series of at-home workout programs, you can lose weight and build muscle.