Smoking against muscle growth

Are smoking and sports compatible?

On the one hand, we all know that smoking is harmful to health. On the other hand, in Russia more than 40 million adults smoke, 60% of all men and 23% of all women smokers( 1).Many of them can not overcome the bad habit, but are actively involved in sports and fitness.

Such people are always interested in the question of whether smoking really affects the growth of muscles and what will happen if you smoke immediately after training. Responding briefly - yes, smoking interferes with strength training and even a few puffs with a cigarette after physical exacerbations exacerbate this harm.

How does metabolism work and with what methods can you speed up the metabolism for weight loss?

Smoking and impairment of metabolism

Scientific research indicates that regular smoking changes the metabolism of a person at the cellular level, worsens the processes of synthesis of muscle protein and increases the activity of genes that cause sarcopenia - the age-related loss of muscle mass( 2).The smoker's body literally ages faster.

In addition, smoking introduces a dangerous imbalance in the athlete's hormonal system. The level of stress hormones( first of all, cortisol) increases, the level of testosterone( 3) and a number of other hormones important for recruitment and maintenance of muscle mass gradually decrease.

Effect of smoking on muscle growth

Smoking disrupts oxygen exchange in the body, and lack of oxygen directly harms muscle growth. Negatively affects both the fact that smokers have a smaller volume of lungs, and the fact that nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes significantly reduce the activity of blood flow.

The most harmful to the muscles element in cigarette smoke is carbon monoxide( carbon monoxide).Getting into the blood, it binds to hemoglobin, disrupting the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. As a result, muscles( just like the whole body) begin to experience oxygen starvation.

Harm to cigarettes for heart

On average, the heart of a smoker beats 30% faster, which increases blood pressure and creates an additional burden on the cardiovascular system during exercise. Totally, this is expressed in a decrease in strength and fatigue.

Since the lungs and the respiratory system work less efficiently( they actually contain soot), dyspnea appears and the load on the heart intensifies even more. Even if a sports smoker can run a marathon, he will force his heart to work at the limit.

Fatigue and poor sleep

The change in the short-term relaxation caused by a smoked cigarette after five minutes comes with stress, provoked by the absence of nicotine. In the end, smoking exhausts the nervous system, increases irritability and fatigue - all this critically harms sleep.

Among other things, nicotine inhibits the action of the hormone melatonin sleep and the smoker often takes more time to fall asleep and fully sleep. It's no secret that poor quality of sleep negatively affects the recovery processes in muscles after weight training.

Diseases caused by cigarettes

The harm of smoking for health is difficult to ignore. Smoking at 23( !) Times increases the risk of developing lung cancer in men, narrows the blood vessels and makes the blood thicker, leading to blood clots and significantly increasing the risk of developing varicose veins( 4).

The most important smoking trap is that the destructive effect of cigarettes manifests itself gradually - a person does not notice how every day his body works a little worse and worse. One puff does not really affect your health, but constantly smoking kills the body.

How to quit smoking?

Smoking is a typical social habit. It is formed under the influence of others and is destroyed in just a few weeks, because the physical dependence on nicotine is low. It is important only to tune in to a positive result and understand that quitting smoking is very easy.

It is more difficult to resist the influence of their smoking friends and habitual reasons for smoking. That is why in the first two weeks of giving up cigarettes, it is especially important to abandon past habits and try to form new ones - this is the key to success and smoke-free life.


Cigarettes adversely affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, reduce endurance and the ability to exercise in full force. Smoking worsens the availability of oxygen, disrupts the processes of protein synthesis and activates premature aging and muscle loss.

Scientific sources:

  1. World Health Organization, Tobacco Smoke Profiles: Russian Federation, source
  2. Smoking impairs muscle protein synthesis and increased the expression of myostatin and MAFbx in muscle, source
  3. Effect of cigarette smoking on levels of bioavailable testosterone in healthy men, source
  4. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, source

Date of first publication:

  • November 1, 2012