You’re probably fully aware how bad smoking is for your health so you don’t need to be patronised by being told it causes lung cancer, but for whatever reason, whether it be social pressure or full-blown schizophrenia, you’re smoking a 20 deck a day. What effect, if any, is this having on your progress in the gym?
First of all smoking regularly works as a stimulant, so your heart is beating faster, you’re warmer and your metabolism is higher. This is a double edged sword in the sense that having a high metabolism is fantastic for fat loss, but at the same time, if you’re bulking you’re going to need more calories to replace those lost unnecessarily due to the fact you’re more stimulated. Your heart is beating faster, you’re breathing quickly and food is passing through you quicker.
So if you want a low body fat you should smoke? No, not at all. There are a whole host of other ways of getting those effects without smoking. Eating well, thyroid hormone and even caffeine to name a few – all of which aren’t nearly as damaging as smoking.
Smoking is proven to lower oxygen levels in your blood. Having a lung full of tar means your lungs aren’t working to full capacity so as well as you having to breathe more, you’re simply slightly oxygen starved compared to your average person. Less oxygen in the blood means less can be supplied to the muscles, they can’t function quite as well as they should normally and they can’t repair themselves quite as well or as quickly.
It’s worth pointing out however that early tests show that e-cigarettes don’t hinder breathing anywhere nearly as much as conventional smoking, but just as long as you’re using pure e liquid and not some junk make in a warehouse in the third world.
Testosterone, as well as being essential to the basic health of both men and women, is critical for muscle growth. There simply isn’t a hormone as important, hence why many bodybuilders are more than happy to acquire the stuff illegally so they have a surplus of it in their system. Smoking inhibits testosterone production to the extent that older men who’ve been smoking for many years have trouble “performing” as it were.
So to put it simply, there’s really no up-side and if you want to get more jacked, more quickly – stop smoking, or if you need your nicotine, which is harder to prove is detrimental in itself, start vaping.