Bodybuilding 4 MIN READ 790 VIEWS March 20, 2017

Top 4 Effects of Smoking on Bodybuilding

Written By Archana

Smoking Effects on Bodybuilding

Smoking has several effects on the body but do you know smoking can also affect your bodybuilding goals. Read this article to know the top 4 smoking effects on bodybuilders & why you should quit!

Does smoking affect muscle growth or does vaping affect muscle growth? Yes, it does. Smoking and vaping is not only bad for lungs but can also damage your muscles as smoking decreases the number of blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen to the leg muscles. Smoking is hard to quit. If you have been smoking in the past, there are high chances that you won’t be able to discontinue this habit. Even with a disciplined diet, exercise and right supplement, you will not get the desired results in bodybuilding. Smoking and bodybuilding can go together, it is injurious to your health, which means your bodybuilding goals are at risk too. There are various harmful effects of smoking on bodybuilding.

Learn the top 4 ways in which smoking affects muscle growth and  go smoke-free. Your lungs will thank you and your muscles are going to swell with happiness. 


Cigarettes contain nicotine which makes it addictive as smoke in it gives you a temporary high. The health issues related to smoking come from the tobacco’s toxic effects that come from chemicals and these are harmful to muscle seekers. Therefore, bodybuilding and smoking is not a great idea.


If you have been smoking before workout or smoking after a workout, you need to stop that. Do you know that a smoker’s heart rate is 30% faster than a non-smoker? Yes, due to which it becomes difficult for a smoker to push himself to the maximum during the workouts. Since the heart has to work harder to ensure adequate circulation during the workouts. The increased heart rate also raises blood pressure.

As the blood flow decreases due to narrowed blood vessels, the working muscles don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood when it is needed the most during intense workouts, which means you can get into the anaerobic state (a state where your body starts producing lactic acid, the reason behind the burning sensation felt in the muscles) very easily, which leads to very low endurance.

Moreover, the carbon monoxide inhaled from cigarettes binds to the blood’s haemoglobin, which impacts oxygen transport throughout the body. Tar in cigarettes gets collected in the airways and it hampers lung natural cleansing mechanisms and lungs don’t perform at the perfect level, due to which muscles become oxygen-starved, and affects your physical performance and reduces endurance and muscle recovery rate. When your endurance goes down, you are not able to push yourself through the last reps and in a set. As a result, you build less muscle than a non-smoker.


Testosterone level is linked to the muscle building. Muscle cells have receptors for testosterone called androgen receptors. When testosterone binds to the receptors, muscle fibres are maintained. Without testosterone, maintenance stops and muscle is degraded.

Another risk of smoking cigarettes is that it can damage the testosterone-producing cells within the body. With decreasing testosterone level, the muscles start to turn to fat, particularly in unwanted zones like chest and stomach. According to a study, low testosterone is replaced by a hormone called estrogen that is linked to increased belly fat or where you least want it.


Smoking is responsible for an increase in the level of a stress hormone called cortisol, which decreases the production of testosterone. It also reduces protein synthesis, an important requirement for muscle growth. In smokers, there is an increased level of myostatin, a hormone that inhibits muscle growth reduces the strength of the muscles and prevents the toning of muscles.


Smoking can cause insulin resistance, which can hugely impact your muscle-building goals. Insulin is a protein cum hormone, released after consuming carb-rich foods and works as a signal for the muscles to absorb glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose releases after consuming meals and produces ATP energy cells for the body. Whereas when you become insulin resistant, the muscles refuse to respond to the signal to absorb glucose from the blood and your energy levels decrease due to overload of glucose in the blood.

It makes you feel tired and prevents you from performing to the optimum level. Insulin resistance hampers the storage of glycogen. Glycogen is a longer chain version of glucose and the body’s energy storage mechanism. Less glycogen means that your workout intensity will be lower than normal. Insulin resistance also affects the nutrient absorption of the body and increases fat deposit, especially belly, a complete ‘no’ for the muscle builder.


Quitting smoking can be a bit difficult due to its psychological and physical affect. The nicotine offers a momentary and temporary high. Same smoking quitting method doesn’t work for every individual.

It is important to recognise the fact that it is a kind of addiction and requires help to get over it. When trying to quit smoking you not try to wean away from the psychological and physical high provided by the cigarette, but unconsciously move out from the circle of friends and co-workers with whom you enjoy your smoke, which can be difficult.

In fact, quitting smoking is stressful, which is why it is very important to prepare yourself for that stressful period of quitting by following the below-mentioned things.

  • Opt for therapies like laser and acupuncture.
  • Talk with a friend that can understand your quitting journey and support you. It actually becomes easier if you have a partner who is also trying to quit smoking.
  • A key part of quitting is to manage cravings that can make your quitting program successful. Find ways to divert your attention when the craving strikes.
  • Try nicotine replacement therapy as it works for many people and is worth trying.

If you want to know how much smoking is too much? Just forget that as to achieve your bodybuilding goals you have to say bye to smoking.

Don’t lose hope when trying to quit. Always remember quitting will help your lungs and overall health that will help you in gaining muscle. So, keep trying!

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