Gym goers are often aware they need to have plenty of rest and eat healthy for optimal muscle growth and strength. You’ll often find them eating loads of eggs, nuts and meat. They also make sure they get sufficient amounts of sleep for their muscles to recover. There is an important factor that is often overlooked by gym rats however: smoking. Some are too addicted to stop but others are unaware of the negative effects smoking has on their bodies. I interviewed Brad Gouthro on the matter. He is a fitness professional and was named one of the hottest trainers in America. I asked him how smoking affects your body’s physical performance.

Here is what he has to say: “For peak performance with lifts and sprints, it’s crucial for your muscles to efficiently receive the required flow of oxygen-rich blood. Smoking quickly halts this as it causes your blood vessels to narrow, which then slows the transport of oxygen-rich blood to the working muscles. The carbon monoxide inhaled from cigarettes also binds to the blood’s haemoglobin which hinders the transport of oxygen throughout the body. When your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, your physical performance and endurance decreases. This makes it hard to push through those last few important reps. “

Pacific Islander man lifting weights in gym

According to him a smoker can’t optimally transport the required oxygen-rich blood throughout the body in the presence of carbon monoxide, tar, and all the other 3000+ chemicals found in tobacco. He also points out smoking is bad for the heart: “To top it off, this narrowing of the blood vessels also puts extra strain on the heart every time it pumps as it’s trying to get the necessary blood throughout the body to function properly.”

Now we have established smoking is bad for gym buffs I wonder if there is hope. Can a smoker quit his bad habit and reach his potential?

Gouthro: “ Yes, fortunately many of the effects of smoking on performance can be reversed for adult and younger smokers. I’ve seen people, who smoked, collapsing and almost passing out after 10 minutes of jogging on the track compared to now, as a smoke free person, they’re going beyond their comfort zone for 10 km at a pace of 12 kilometres an hour!”

So there you have it. Smoking is a bad habit but luckily smokers can reverse the negative effects they are punishing their bodies with and reach their fully ripped and muscular potential. Time to stop smoking and start hitting the gym!