T Nation

Cigarette Smoking and Lifting

I haven’t been able to find reliable info on the effects of cigarette smoking on weightlifting. Anyone know how detrimental smoking might be to muscle gains? Fat loss??

I am in no way an expert in the subject other than i used to be a full fledged smoker for 13 years. The obvious effects are lower cardiovascular capacity means less oxygen in the blood therefore there must be some detrimend to muscle growth. Plus the fact that it is bad for your Respiratory system I.E. less conditioning. Plus that last small detail…It can eventually KILL you or render you with one of many afflictions like Cancer ETC… Hey not that i think smoking is bad!!! But i defenetly have inproved my over all conditioning and have seen more increase in muscle. Big part i believe is my higher amout of stamina and energy!!Which my wife has been very happy with also.

Cigarettes will kill you, no joke…thats detrimental to your lifting. Its scary all the nasty shit cigarettes do to your body.

I used to smoke and lift when I was in college and I don’t think smoking has any short term negative effect on muscle gains. Smoking is obviously bad for your health in the long term for a myriad of reasons and I quit years ago, but in my opinion, cardiovascular capacity is such a minor part of weight training that it probably doesn’t make much difference. I would also guess that the nicotine would actually make you a bit leaner, though smoking is an awfully unhealthy way to get lean. Case in point: guess what the Bulgarian weightlifting team did when they came to the States for the olympics? They bought all the cigarrettes they can find!

Smoking eventually destroys lung tissue, so your breathing capacity will decline over a period of time. Lung tissue cannot be regenerated or repaired so quiting smoking will stop the degenerative affects, but you will never reqain the capacity you have already lost. You should be as concerned about the inside of your body as the outside.

I smoked for 10 years and it really lowered my testosterone level. I had a very very hard time putting on muscle at the time. And still have a hard time putting on muscle. Smoking is just like pumping estrogen into your blood. If you are a serious body builder, I would STOP right away.

Deplete your body of it’s anti-oxidant defenses and as a result could make you more catabolic.

Though I am not a proponent of smoking (nor am I able to tolerate any nicotene), there is the interesting point that nicotene, much like caffiene, increase mental alertness. This could be an arguement to use the patch, or gum before workouts. I know its off topic, but I thought it interesting.

As much as I hate to admit it, I was a smoker until last tuesday. I got good gains and could run 15km. In addition to causing some damage to brain cells and shrinking your … its now been proven to negatively effect the healing of injuries and collagen in the skin (thus leading to that terrible smokers skin). Thats good enough for me.

Personally, I recommend Nat Shermans 5fth ave., although my experience is very limited. I have tried Newports, but they’re plainly addictive, and I dislike that. For a good, leisurely time, I smoke a Nat Sherman CLove or Black and Gold label, especially after leg days. Wouldn’t try the mainstrain M lights; I guess I just have high taste.

People who smoke are incredibly, ignorant morons! nuff said.

I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I do like an occasional cigar, and i do notice an increase in heart rate, temperature, and a general “hyped-up” feeling, plus difficulty in sleeping if smoked to close to bedtime.
I guess it must be raising my metabolic rate, as well as all the bad things.

I’m sorry. Maybe my question was a little too vague. Let me try again. Aside from all the other negative effects of smoking, and the stupidity it takes to do it, is there a coorolation between lesser muscle gains in smokers vs non-smokers?

Lipo, I don’t think you are going to get the answer you are looking for. Most studies done on smoking have to do with addiction or onset of disease. It’s hard to find someone who really cares about bodybuilding and their health who is willing to take up smoking to see how it affects them. You are more likely to hear it the other way around, i.e., a smoker who becomes a bodybuilder and in doing so I would think they would eventually come to the realization that quitting is the best thing to do for their health.

[quote]Otisboy wrote:
Lipo, I don’t think you are going to get the answer you are looking for. Most studies done on smoking have to do with addiction or onset of disease. It’s hard to find someone who really cares about bodybuilding and their health who is willing to take up smoking to see how it affects them. You are more likely to hear it the other way around, i.e., a smoker who becomes a bodybuilder and in doing so I would think they would eventually come to the realization that quitting is the best thing to do for their health.[/quote]

That’s where I’m at right now.

Cardiovascular weakness should matter for you if you deadlift, or while doing any exercise involving valsalva breathing (holding your breath). I know nothing about olympic weight-lifting, but I believe most of those lifts require that type of breathing.

[quote]Lipo wrote:
I’m sorry. Maybe my question was a little too vague. Let me try again. Aside from all the other negative effects of smoking, and the stupidity it takes to do it, is there a coorolation between lesser muscle gains in smokers vs non-smokers?[/quote]

I had a friend in college who was a smoker we were very close in build and body type. We were also lifting partners and I do not smoke. I gained 22 Lbs of LBM during the year we lifted together and he only gained 7. We both used very strict diets and never missed a workout. I would say smoking is BAD for muscle gains, not to mention he could barely run a mile without stopping to hack up a lung.

I hope this helps.

I think all the bodybuilders in France smoke. I personally met one who won the title of something like “Mr. France” (forget what it was) in France. He smokes like all the French do and he’s still doing alright.

I wonder how long he can keep it up though. I also don’t know if he does roids or anything so there could be a lot of variables other than just smoking.

On that note, I can only imagine smoking damages your lungs which decreases your capacity to do work for an extended amount time which means less reps, less sets, and ultimately shorter workouts because your lungs can’t keep up. That’d be “bad” for muscle growth yeah?

Lipo,

I smoked from age 19 to 27, nearly ten years. Nicotine helped me focus and it kept my weight down. I was physically active, too. I used to leave the gym to smoke between muscle groups. Once I won a race swimming across Walden Pond; the first thing I did when I got to shore was bum a cigarette from a stranger. I’d go running with people and put a pack of cigarettes in my gym bag with my sneakers.

You can get away with smoking while you’re quite young, but its effects will catch up to you eventually. They are extremely unpleasant and quitting is horrible. I quit only because I was waking up unable to breathe. The nightmares my subconscious wove around being strangled to death were harrowing.

It’s been 23 years since I quit; the first year was very difficult, but it gets easier. One thing that helped was thinking, “OK, I’ve been without a cigarette N days. It was hell, but I don’t want to squander that effort by starting again, and now I know I can do N more days.”

I also had to quit three times before I finally got it right, so don’t beat yourself up if you quit and start again. Keeping quitting until yoou get it right.

When I quit, my lifting took off: I needed an outlet and I was eating more. Lifting pretty much saved my life then.

If you’re smoking, plan on HAVING to quit unless you want to die a slow death tied to an oxygen tank. (And just think of the exciting possibilities when an ignition source is in close proximity to a fuel source.) If you’re not smoking, DON’T START.

Dre, congratulations for quitting, and good luck to you. It’s been almost a week!

/Sully
Big. Old. Pissed off.

Ha ha smoking and liftin…(shaking head).