When I was sitting down and trying to decide what to write today’s blog post on I couldn’t actually believe that I hadn’t spoken about smoking yet. Maybe that is because of how obvious it is – if you want to succeed with your training, make sure you kick the habit. Smoking is not something that can co-exist with a healthy lifestyle, period.
Smoking kills, we all know that. What I want to talk about though is how it directly effects your ability to train. So don’t think that I have forgotten the most serious impact that results from smoking, let’s just say that it’s a given.
Simply put, whether you are training weights or training cardio smoking is the worst habit that you can pursue. When you smoke, it has a negative impact on every organ in your body. Each organ is having to deal with all these toxic materials and that is what causes the endless list of potential health problems, including cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems.
I won’t pretend that I know how difficult it is to quit smoking, the truth is I don’t know. But when you are looking to kick any bad habit the best thing you can do is find motivation from other sources that help you to quit. When it comes to quitting cigarettes, training can act as that motivation. For starters a lot of smokers can be quite ignorant to the fact that what they are doing is seriously affecting them. But if you put that smoker on a treadmill for half an hour or get them lifting serious weights then they will soon notice all those negative impacts. As soon as you undertake any aerobic exercise your body’s demand for oxygen is increased. But smokers have less oxygen available to them so they won’t be able to train as hard for as long as non-smokers.
Let’s take a look at the individual problems caused by smoking:
- Respiratory Damage
Respiration is like the engine of our bodies and oxygen is the fuel. If you damage your airways that facilitate this respiration then you are just simply not going to be able to train as hard or as long. The real success in training comes from giving that extra little bit and pushing harder when you thought you had nothing else to give. Smoking prohibits this and means that if you aren’t trying to quit then you are just fighting a losing battle.
- Heart Problems
A smoker’s heart beats faster, fact. When you are in the gym you want as much of the energy you have to be used in completing the exercise you have in front of you. If your heart is beating unnecessarily fast then you are just expending more energy on keeping your heart going and will have less to give to the exercise. Couple this with the fact that smokers generally have a higher blood pressure and what you have is a body that is in no fit state to train.
- Oxygen Availability
As I mentioned above, oxygen is our body’s fuel. And if you want your engine to run smoothly you need to give it as much fuel as possible and make sure that you aren’t going to run out. Among the hundreds of toxic chemicals that smokers inhale is carbon monoxide. Without turning this into a science lesson, carbon monoxide takes the place of the oxygen that is being absorbed into our bloodstream. So the more you smoke, the less oxygen will be available to your muscles when you are trying to train.
Being a smoker doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t mean that you are any less entitled to train. But it does mean that it is going to be harder. Like I say, use a training regime as the motivation to help you quit. Then record your personal bests for every exercise and as you start to cut down and eventually quit smoking you will see the dramatic improvement in these results.
It really is a no-brainer. If you want to maximise your results then you have to be willing to sacrifice. Kick the habit and trust me, you won’t regret it.