You train regularly, eat well and take care of your body and mind, right? Well, if the science is anything to go by, you're not the only one who's benefitting. Of course you see the fruits of your labour every time you look in the mirror, but without even realising it, you're probably seeing them in the bedroom too. Here are seven of the raunchiest rewards for all your hard work-go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back... as soon as she lets you off it.
01. It's not just your abs that are rock-hard
You know that the only extra weight your body should have to support in the bedroom is hers - ideally up against a wall with her legs wrapped around your waist. Aside from getting in the way, a boep is only going to get you down, and in more ways than one. According to one report from the Harvard Medical School, a man with a 100cm (size 40) waist is 50 per cent more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) than a man with an 80cm (size 32) waist. This is because that extra padding not only increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (both major causes of ED) but messes with your hormones by converting erection-building testosterone into oestrogen too. Along with making your muscles work and controlling your weight, exercise gives your blood vessels a workout too - and the better your bloodflow, the stronger your erections.
02. Yes, you do last longer in bed
Seeing her sprawled naked across your bed should be enough to quicken your pulse, so if the prospect of sex doesn't get your heart racing you're probably doing something wrong. There's no doubt that love making ranks right up there as one of our favourite
cardiovascular workouts, and as you would with any other form of cardio, you need to pace yourself. But you also know that like any well-rounded workout, it's not all about cardio either. To elicit more than a few groans (of pleasure, that is) focus on strengthening your shoulders, back, core and thighs. You also know that despite what anyone says, kegels are not just for girls. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is the key to really supercharging your sexual stamina. In a study presented at the European Congress of Urology, researchers demonstrated that pelvic floor exercises can play an important role in helping men who have experienced lifelong problems with premature ejaculation (PE). Within 12 weeks of embarking on a pelvic-floor training programme, 33 out of the 40 men in the study saw a marked improvement, with the average ejaculation time showing a four-fold increase, from 31.7 seconds to 146.2. Even if you don't experience PE, a strong pelvic floor still improves the rigidity of your erections by pressing on a key vein that stops blood from flowing out of the penis. Identify the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles of the pelvic floor by interrupting your stream mid-flow next time you pee. The muscles you just used? Those are them.
03. You've got more moves than the Kama Sutra
Because you know there's more to gain from doing yoga than simply being surrounded by a room full of women in yoga pants doing the Downward Dog. Far from being only "for girls" or for getting in touch with your inner hippie or whatever other misconceptions may be out there, this ancient discipline has some steamy benefits . Of course there's the obvious one, which is increased flexibility, not to mention multiple yoga positions that suddenly, sans clothing, double up as sizzling new sex positions. But it's not all just about putting your feet behind your ears. A large part of yoga is centred on meditative breathing. Yes, better sex can be as simple as breathing-if you're doing it right. Better breathing directs blood away from your limbs, which is what happens when you are in stress.
04. When you cheat, you do it right
We're talking about your diet here, guy. Dark chocolate is another food that feeds your erection - like oats, it contains arginine, as well as epicatechins and flavonoids that work on making your arteries dilate. Eat 50g a day and you could increase your blood vessel dilation by more than 10 per cent, according to a University of California, San Francisco study. Need more temptation to indulge? How about the fact that dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, which causes your brain to release euphoria-inducing endorphins-the same ones triggered by sex and falling in love, as it turns out. One British study even showed that eating chocolate can give you more of a buzz than kissing. So go on and share that decadent, gooey chocolate dessert with her - we have no doubt you'll have worked it off by morning.
05. You're putting your bed to better use
Making sure that your bed sees as much action as possible comes down to making sure it's used for its other purpose too: Sleep. According to the University of Chicago, sleeping for fewer than five hours a night can lower your testosterone levels. German researchers found that low levels of night-time blood oxygen, caused by obstructive sleep apnoea, are linked to a lowered sex drive. Speak to your doc if you're a loud snorer or wake up gasping for air.
06. You really did get it all this morning
Forget all the flak they get for being boring; oats are nature's Viagra. Kind of. Serve your breakfast oats with a spoonful of nut butter and you're not only getting a dollop of protein, but a double dose of the amino acid arginine too. Arginine plays a role in the production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which is a potent vasodilator, meaning that your arginine-amped breakfast works along much the same physiological pathways as those little blue pills. Remember too, that your primary sex hormone is testosterone and its levels are shown to be at their peak first thing in the morning (oh hey there, morning wood), making it the ideal time to rise and, er, shag.
07. Of course you're in the mood
While it doesn't hurt to be strong enough to sling her over your shoulder, having the stamina to go for hours, there's much more to truly satisfying sex- and here you can thank your healthy lifestyle again. Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and sleeping well go a long way towards moderating stress, which is one of the biggest libido killers.
High-intensity and strength training also bump up your testosterone, which in turn can send lust levels soaring. Studies have even shown that people who are regularly physically active rate their own sexual performance and sexual desirability higher than those who are less so. But hey, you don't need us to tell you that, right?