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Does smoking effect the muscle building process? I understand it can effect your endurance.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In my experience, the most detrimental aspect of smoking while bodybuilding is the lack of energy.

When I smoked, I was quite lethargic most of the time and in gym I used to just quit whenever it got too hard, or took too much energy.

Since I didn't feel fresh or rejuvinated even after a good nights sleep, going to the gym was usually out of the question, because I just didn't feel like it.


From a medical standpoint, probably the most detrimental aspect of smoking is lack of oxygen. Whilst smoking, the oxygen intake is lessened and it is replaced by various other elements, usually, ones bad for the body.

Also, the toxins that the cigarettes contain may lead to various diseases, in which case, doing serious weight training is probably out of the question.

Standard Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so anything I say should not be considered an advice to bet your health on.

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Good Question.

Not to direct you away from StackExchange, but Bodybuilding has the answer.

I'll just copy over the ones related to muscle building and fitness:

  • Increase in heart rate
    • Increase in hormone production
    • Increase in blood pressure
    • Constriction of small blood vessels on skin
    • Changes in blood composition
    • Changes in metabolism

In the spirit of positive thinking, here are the benefits of quitting:

  • Breathing improves
  • Improved ability to cope with sudden exertion
  • Loss of smokers cough and reduction of phlegm
  • Sense of taste and smell improves
  • Natural decline in lung efficiency slows down to a rate similar to
    nonsmokers
  • Reduced risk of smoke related diseases

I'd say the increase in heart rate, and the incremental damage to the lungs will be most problem.

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Also keep in mind that nicotine acts as a coronary vasoconstrictor and increases insulin resistance. I imagine the decreased blood flow might adversely effect your cardiac output despite the increased rate, or likely reduce your total potential cardiac output. I know it also does some peripheral vasoconstriction, potentially in muscle cells, the extent to which that is overcome by the metabolic hyperemia that comes with weight training but there is a good chance you're forcing your muscle cells into switching to anaerobic energy metabolism early than they should. (thus reducing force of contraction)

Also, decreasing insulin sensitivity is a bad thing if you are trying to put on muscle. Just ask any of those bodybuilders who inject the stuff. It is an "anabolic" hormone.

The improvement in lung function is probably more important than all the other stuff I just mentioned. Better lung function = better oxygenation to muscles during exercise = increased output

Buyer beware, I'm not a physiologist, and it's been a while since I studied it formally.

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