Regardless of whether we work out or not, we all know the dangers of smoking and how detrimental it is to our health. So, if you already are a smoker, there’s no need to list the hundreds of reasons why you should stop doing it. It’s entirely your choice. What we’re about to discuss in this article is whether smoking affects muscle gain and general performance inside the gym.
These are the main negative effects that smoking has on the body which have a direct impact on your workout:
- It increases the amount of carbon monoxide in your blood.
- It increases the amount of tar in the lungs.
- It causes a nicotine addiction.
Let’s discuss each of the 3 points above in detail and examine how they negatively impact your gym performance.
Carbon monoxide increase
Whenever a smoker inhales the smoke from a cigarette, he/she also inhales carbon monoxide which is extremely poisonous gas. Once inhaled, it bonds with the hemoglobin molecule in the blood, which is in charge of transporting oxygen to the cells to such an extent that it sometimes completely replaces the oxygen. So, when this blood is transported to various parts of the body, it’s carbon monoxide that is being transported along with the oxygen.
When body cells and tissues don’t get enough oxygen supply, they are not able to perform their main functions optimally. Now, when the oxygen supply remains insufficient for longer periods of time, the body can find it really hard to perform its basic functions like cell growth and repair.
The absorption of various nutrients, the most important for muscle building being protein, also becomes very difficult. As you already know, in order to build muscle, you want protein to be absorbed optimally. When smoking this process is impaired, which means smoking is counterproductive for your muscle building goals.
Smoking causes the accumulation of tar in the lungs. Approximately 70% of the tar found in every cigarette you smoke is accumulated in the lungs. This accumulation limits your lungs’ capacity and decreases the amount of air you can inhale. Tar accumulation also causes coughing, a mucus increase in the lungs which greatly impairs their capacity to perform their function properly.
Because of the fact that you’re not able to inhale enough air through the lungs during the training session, the muscles won’t get the optimal amount of oxygen, which in turn leads to you experiencing fatigue early in the workout and overall weakness.
This is why people who smoke always fall short of breath early in the workout compared to a someone who doesn’t smoke at all. This means that smokers are not able to train with high intensity, which limits the number of reps they can do and the amount of weight they can lift.
Nicotine addiction and its effects
Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and the main reason why smoking is addictive. It hits the brain up to 7-8 seconds of inhaling the smoke. The effects of nicotine inside the body include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, constriction of the small blood vessels on the skin, slower metabolism, reduced testosterone production and many others.
All of the effects listed are completely counterproductive for your bodybuilding goals. Some people may be thinking that getting an increased heart rate would help their workout. Here’s why they are wrong: to get a similar rate of blood circulation as a non-smoker, the heart of the smoker has to beat at least 30% more.
Since a smoker’s heart is already working a lot more compared to a normal heart, when the smoker does a demanding workout, it will need even more energy which is the main reason why they get exhausted so easily. This is why when it comes to bodybuilding a smoker will always have sub-par results compared to a non-smoker.