By Greg Burkett
Fitness Trainer

Ok, I am going to say it. IF YOU SMOKE STOP AND IF YOU DO NOT DON’T START. I have as a personal trainer witnessed people that workout and smoke. But the real question is what effect does the smoking have on their exercise regime? Do the two balance each other out? Can one outweigh the other?

I too was once a smoker so I understand. But the research results are everywhere you look. Smoking is much more serious than a lack of exercise. And while working out is great for your cardiovascular health, cigarette smoke is so toxic that it will hurt you in the long run, regardless.

In fact, because of what it does to your heart and lungs, it increases the stress that is put on your body when you hit the gym. Smoking raises the chances of a medical emergency occurring. Additionally, puffing away before and/or after the gym will prevent you from achieving any kind of optimal workout. Sitting in your car for that last drag. Putting it out on the ground on your way into the gym. Its just plain bad.

To put it another way, if you’re a smoker …focus on quitting smoking NOW. Put all of your energies into this, as it is impossible to be healthy and smoking. A strong exercise regime may help you achieve this feat (I know how difficult it can be!) by keeping your mind off the butts, and giving you an adrenaline rush as reinforcement for your good behavior.

For starters it decreases your endurance. Working out is difficult. No question about it. That’s why it’s called a WORK out! When you smoke, it puts an additional burden on your body, decreasing your endurance by about 10 percent. It can also make your workout FEEL a lot more difficult, causing you to become frustrated and quit working out altogether!

Smoking will additionally cause cardiac problems. Smoking and exercise puts an extra burden on your heart. When you smoke, less oxygen is reaching your body parts that it need to get to. This causes your heart to beat faster in order to keep your body supplied with oxygen. When you smoke AND exercise, this can be too much for your heart to handle, and can cause cardiac arrest!

Now here is the one thing we are all after. The positive benefits of working out. You need oxygen replenishment to your tissues (not the carbon monoxide in smoking) to help your ability to gain muscle! If your muscle tissue is not repaired quickly after a workout, this has negative effects on your ability to build muscle.

In terms of quitting smoking, I think it’s safe to say that the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. If you quit now, your body will work quickly to reverse the damage you’ve done to it. You will notice a positive difference in endurance and post-workout recovery only a week after quitting! So no matter what your age, remember it’s never to late to make the right choice and kick the habit forever.

If you aren’t working out or exercising it will make a huge difference in your life regardless. Its real simple. Just stop smoking for life. You will notice a big difference in the way you feel soon after quitting. Again I say, just do it. Stop!!