We have all seen the type of men who go to the gym, spend a good hour or two doing cardio or lifting weights. When they are done they then light up a cigarette, go for six pints of Guinness, and to top it off they pick up a kebab on the way home. They then spend the next day telling their mates at work how hardcore their workout was, while expressing their frustration that they are not seeing any consistent gains.
Clearly there are reasons why all three of the after-gym activities are going to impact on your gym performance, but let us focus primarily on the smoking aspect.
“I Can Be Just As Fit If I Smoke” – No, you can’t. You may be able to perform at a decent level at the gym, on the football pitch or wherever else, but non-smokers will always be a level above you. Smoking narrows your blood vessels, which also consequently raises blood pressure, which are both extremely dangerous. This means your heart is working harder to get the normal amount of blood and oxygen needed around your body, let alone the additional levels needed when you workout.
Killing The Lungs
In terms of cardio endurance, smoking basically puts a ceiling on your potential performance level, and no matter how hard you push, you are going to do yourself real damage before seeing any noticeable gains.
Remember what we said about your heart pumping harder? That is to get increased levels of oxygen into your body to support your workout. It then has to work even HARDER, as your oxygen capacity is massively reduced by your smoking habit. We want the heart to work hard to see the best gains, but for the right reasons. Not because you have clogged your arteries and lungs! Many believe that working out actually offsets the effects of smoking, the truth is that in many ways you are actually damaging your body to a much more serious degree.
Massive Muscle Gains
The man is back at work, now, and while outside having a quick cigarette break, he is talking about how no matter how much protein he puts into his diet, he is not getting the size or strength gains he wants to.
Again, you know what is to blame.
Protein is predominantly for muscle growth and repair, as anyone knows who takes resistance training seriously. They also know that the key to real, long-term gains is overloading the muscle during a workout. With the effects smoking has on the body as described earlier, you are never going to be able to push yourself hard enough to truly reach peak performance.
To see the gains you want, you have to treat your body with care and respect.
Quitting smoking should be the first point on that agenda.