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

  • Entirely anecdotal, but I smoked a pack a day, and swam on a master's swim team, deadlifted 2x bodyweight, and could run a 6 min mile. That being said, you're better off without it, as long as quitting doesn't make you depressed and kill your motivation. I quit using the patch + zyban + a few days of nicotine lozenges Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 19:27

4 Answers 4


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.


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
  • 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.


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.


Of all the destructive habits that anyone can have, smoking is considered the worst. Almost all organs of the body are affected by the action of toxic compounds from cigarette. Learn how they can seriously harm your gains in the gym and why you should use this as an incentive to quit smoking.

If you are targeting a remarkable change in the composition of your body, you better get used to the idea of quitting sooner. Smoking may be more harmful than using other drugs like alcohol and marijuana, for those who train with weights. Learn why:

1 - Smoking causes irreversible damage to the respiratory system

Damage to the respiratory system have a direct connection with the performance within the academy, either weights or cardio. The damage caused by smoking, causes the body can not absorb oxygen into the blood, affecting muscle oxygenation, ie you do not get to train with the same intensity that a person can not smoke.

2 - The heartbeat of a smoker is 30% faster than a non smoker.

This forces the body of a smoker to expend more energy than usual. This acceleration in heart rate is due to the stimulating effect of nicotine, the resulting change in blood pressure is paradoxically decreases the flow of blood in vessels, which consequently reduces the physical performance.

3 - Smokers produce twice phlegm

The change can disrupt production of phlegm in breathing that can affect physical performance. The habit also causes a chronic swelling in the mucus glands that can frame the problem worse.

4 - Smoking significantly reduces oxygen available for muscles

Carbon monoxide present in the cigarette has a higher affinity for hemoglobin (a molecule that carries oxygen in the blood) than oxygen itself. The act of smoking encourages the body to exchange oxygen for carbon monoxide, causing less oxygen is available to the muscles which in turn will also affect performance.


Smoking is clearly a destructive habit. It is difficult to understand why someone starts to smoke, knowing all its evils, especially for those who train with weights attached and the quality of the body.

It is extremely difficult to stop smoking, aiming to build muscle mass and try to always take the body beyond the limit itself is the perfect inspiration to drop this destructive hábido forever. Think about it!

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