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Fitness

Will smoking harm muscle gain and your performance in the gym ?

Regardless of whether we work out or not, we all know the dangers of smoking and how detrimental it is to our health. So, if you already are a smoker, there’s no need to list the hundreds of reasons why you should stop doing it. It’s entirely your choice. What we’re about to discuss in this article is whether smoking affects muscle gain and general performance inside the gym.

These are the main negative effects that smoking has on the body which have a direct impact on your workout:

  • It increases the amount of carbon monoxide in your blood.
  • It increases the amount of tar in the lungs.
  • It causes a nicotine addiction.

Let’s discuss each of the 3 points above in detail and examine how they negatively impact your gym performance.

  1. Carbon monoxide increase

Whenever a smoker inhales the smoke from a cigarette, he/she also inhales carbon monoxide which is extremely poisonous gas. Once inhaled, it bonds with the hemoglobin molecule in the blood, which is in charge of transporting oxygen to the cells to such an extent that it sometimes completely replaces the oxygen. So, when this blood is transported to various parts of the body, it’s carbon monoxide that is being transported along with the oxygen.

When body cells and tissues don’t get enough oxygen supply, they are not able to perform their main functions optimally. Now, when the oxygen supply remains insufficient for longer periods of time, the body can find it really hard to perform its basic functions like cell growth and repair.

The absorption of various nutrients, the most important for muscle building being protein, also becomes very difficult. As you already know, in order to build muscle, you want protein to be absorbed optimally. When smoking this process is impaired, which means smoking is counterproductive for your muscle building goals.

  1. Tar increase

Smoking causes the accumulation of tar in the lungs. Approximately 70% of the tar found in every cigarette you smoke is accumulated in the lungs. This accumulation limits your lungs’ capacity and decreases the amount of air you can inhale. Tar accumulation also causes coughing, a mucus increase in the lungs which greatly impairs their capacity to perform their function properly.

Because of the fact that you’re not able to inhale enough air through the lungs during the training session, the muscles won’t get the optimal amount of oxygen, which in turn leads to you experiencing fatigue early in the workout and overall weakness.

This is why people who smoke always fall short of breath early in the workout compared to a someone who doesn’t smoke at all. This means that smokers are not able to train with high intensity, which limits the number of reps they can do and the amount of weight they can lift.

  1. Nicotine addiction and its effects

Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and the main reason why smoking is addictive. It hits the brain up to 7-8 seconds of inhaling the smoke. The effects of nicotine inside the body include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, constriction of the small blood vessels on the skin, slower metabolism, reduced testosterone production and many others.

All of the effects listed are completely counterproductive for your bodybuilding goals. Some people may be thinking that getting an increased heart rate would help their workout. Here’s why they are wrong: to get a similar rate of blood circulation as a non-smoker, the heart of the smoker has to beat at least 30% more.

Since a smoker’s heart is already working a lot more compared to a normal heart, when the smoker does a demanding workout, it will need even more energy which is the main reason why they get exhausted so easily. This is why when it comes to bodybuilding a smoker will always have sub-par results compared to a non-smoker.

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Fitness

Cardio boosts metabolism more than strength training, study claims

When it comes to the world of exercise, no debate is as contentious as cardio vs strength training.

While some fitness aficionados will happily endure hour-long slogs on the treadmill, others will turn their noses up at anything cardiovascular, choosing instead to spend their workout time lifting heavy weights and ‘getting their pump on’.

As for which form of training is superior, there is no clear winner as this largely depends on your fitness goals and basic preferences.

However, despite claims that strength training burns more calories than its cardio counterpart, a new study has revealed that cardio training may offer more benefits in terms of metabolism.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen examined the differences between levels of hormone production after a group of participants completed both strength training and weight training programmes to see how they compared.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, the study involved 10 healthy young men who were divided into two groups, completing either strength or weight training once a week.

Those doing cardio completed their exercise on a bicycle while those doing strength training did a weights-based programme consisting of five exercises, each of which had to be repeated 10 times, designed to work each of the major muscle groups such as the chest, biceps, triceps and quads.

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After completing the workouts, which lasted 60 minutes each, blood samples were taken over a four-hour period to measure participants' levels of lactic acid, bile, blood sugar and the different levels of hormones in their body.

The analysis revealed that those who had been cycling experienced a significant increase in the production of the hormone FGF21, which offers numerous positive effects on one’s metabolism, the process by which our body converts food into energy.

Boosting one's metabolic rate can be beneficial because the higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn at rest, which can help promote weight loss.

Those who trained on the exercise bike had three times as large an increase in FGF21 production compared to those who did strength training, who experienced no particular changes with regards to production of that particular hormone.

“Of course it is very exciting for us researchers to see how different forms of physical activity actually affect the body differently,” comments co-author Christoffer Clemmensen, associate professor from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.

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“We have known about the effects of various forms of training on more well-known hormones like adrenalin and insulin for a long time, but the fact that strength training and cardio exercise affect FGF hormones differently is new to us,” he added.

Clemmensen explained that the results could be significant with regards to ongoing research into FGF21’s potential to be used as a drug to combat diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders.

“The fact that we are able to increase the production ourselves through training is interesting,” he concluded.

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Fitness

Full Cardio Workout Done in Only 4 Minutes!

If getting a full cardio workout done in less than 5 minutes sound appealing, try this out!

Remember, workouts without understanding your body type could be a waste of time! If you want to know your body type and exactly what to do to get i shape, take our free body type quiz now! Click here to take the quiz!

Truth is, we’re all pressed for time. With all the different responsibilities you have, how are you supposed to workout for an hour or even more?

START HERE!

Take our FREE 1 Minute Quiz to find out EXACTLY what Diet & Training is Best for You.

Take The Quiz

You don’t have to!

When you change your workout style, and start doing high intensity interval training, workouts become shorter and results happen faster.

This is only a 4 minute workout that will leave you gassed and will burn tons of calories!

Plus, you don’t need any weights or equipment, so you can do it anywhere, at any time. Try it out!

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4 Minute Cardio Workout

In this workout, I take you through a quick, but effective workout to target body fat all over!

It’s going to be 4 exercises done for 20 seconds on with a 10 second rest. Then you’ll repeat each exercise twice to equal the full 4 minutes.

The Exercises:

Half Burpees

For this exercise, you will start down on the ground on your hands and feet. From there, you will jump your feet backs if going down for a burpee. Then jump your feet forward towards your hands like you’re going to jump up for a burpee. But instead of jumping up, jump your feet back out and repeat as many times as you can for 20 seconds. Then rest for 10 seconds and move onto the next exercise.

Jump Squats

Here, you will get into a squat position, with your feet at shoulder width. From there, you will squat down, and starting from the bottom, you will explode up into a jump. Then land and go right back into your next squat. Repeat as many jump squats as you can for 20 seconds. Then rest for another 10 seconds and move onto the next exercise.

Bicycles

This is a great ab exercise where you will start by laying on your back with your hands on the back of your head. From there, you will bring one knee up as high as you can, while crunching up and bringing one elbow down to meet your knee. Then repeat to the other side and do as many times as you can for 20 seconds. After this, rest for 10 seconds and move into the fourth and final exercise.

Spider Man Pushups

Here, you will be doing an advanced variation of a pushup. Starting in a pushup position, you will lower yourself to the floor as you bring your knee up and out to the side. Bring it as close to your elbow as possible. Then as you press yourself back up, return your foot back to the starting position. Then repeat to the other side and do this as many times as you can for 20 seconds. If you already struggle with push-ups, don’t worry about the crunch and just do push-ups.

After completing all four exercises, you will rest for 10 seconds then repeat this cycle one more time.

Share this if you plan on trying it out and comment your thoughts down below!

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Fitness

Family Fitness: 5 Keys to Summertime Success

Get the Basics…

  • Make family fitness a priority during the summer.
  • Find fun and creative ways to work out together.
  • Learn how to eat healthy as a household.
  • Show your kids that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be fun!

The summer is a great time to prioritize family fitness. With more hours in the day and no evening schoolwork, the whole family can stay active together. Despite this extra time and warmer weather, it can still feel impossible to motivate your kids to get up and move. That’s where the keys to family fitness success come into play.

When you choose activities as a group, keep it less structured, and empower your kids to make healthy choices for themselves, you’ll find that everyone is excited to make more time for fitness. Use the following ideas to make this summer your most active one yet!

#1 – Do It Together

Family fitness is not about the “divide and conquer” mentality. You aren’t friends in a diet group, with your own training programs and nutrition plans. Family fitness is about moving your bodies together — taking advantage of this time as a unit, while staying active all summer long. 

It doesn’t mean you can’t work out alone; if you like to lift weights or have your own gym routine, you can stick with that, but making time to be active as a family is key. Not only will it give you more time together, but it will also allow you to be a fitness role model for your kids, which is important for their growth. Health.gov suggests:

If children see their parents exercising regularly, they are also more likely to accept it as a normal part of their own lives. They might look forward to exercising rather than perceiving it as some sort of punishment. If parents commit to becoming healthier themselves — making better nutrition choices and performing regular physical activity — their children are much more likely to emulate these behaviors.

Make time to introduce your kids to the fitness you love, in addition to other group activities like bike riding, and bring in props they’ll have fun with too. For example, this 30-minute playground workout is perfect to do as a family, complete with running up the slide and making your way across the monkey bars.

When working out at home, bring out props like yoga balls, medicine balls, and a jump rope. Kids will love throwing around the yoga and medicine balls and jump roping to their heart’s content, while you do your usual strength routine. Even better: Bring the workout into your backyard so everyone can breathe in the fresh summer air between sets.

#2 – Eat Healthy as a Household

Mealtime is about more than simply eating. It’s a chance to put something healthy in your body, while role-modeling good eating habits for your kids. But don’t just eat in the same room, at the same time — make healthy eating a household focus, which means choosing meals together, picking out healthy ingredients as a family, and then cooking with a little help from everyone.

As you consider the many ways to eat healthy as a household, keep these ideas and tips in mind:

  • Choose a variety of foods – Show your kids how many healthy options there are to choose from. “Offering a variety of foods helps children get the nutrients they need from every food group. They will also be more likely to try new foods and to like more foods,” the USDA says.
  • Make protein the star – Both you and your growing kids need protein. Make sure everyone in the family has protein at every meal, including breakfast. If you don’t have time to cook a full meal one morning, have protein shakes together instead. Before choosing protein powder for your little ones, check out Protein Powder for Kids: A Complete Guide.
  • Prioritize veggies over fruit – While fruit is important for everyone’s diet, it still contains sugar. An overabundance of sugar is never good for the body, regardless of where it comes from. Find different ways to cook veggies that make them more appealing to your children. Try sautéing veggies with a healthy sauce or roasting them with olive oil and spices. You can also sneak them into their smoothie, and they won’t even know.
  • Let the kids choose – Empower your little ones to choose fun healthy foods at the grocery store. While there needs to be some semblance of planning to make your life less hectic, start a tradition of choosing one new fruit or vegetable each week. They’ll be excited to look for fun new foods, and, better yet — even more excited to try it.

#3 – Make It Fun

Fitness should be fun, both for adults and kids. Exercise only feels like a chore if you were taught to think that way. You have a chance to show your kids that staying healthy and active is a fun part of life, not another thing they have to do.

For example, appeal to their love of friendly competition by signing up for a race. Kids have a way of making running look so effortless because for them, it is. Their young energy carries them back and forth across the lawn 15 times before they sit down to take a breath.

Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry’s Bootcamp, told Well and Good about how his young daughter and her friends love racing:

… our daughter Frankie loves races. We’ll race her over and over (and over) again. I remember thinking, ‘Okay, how long will this last?’ But we recently had a party with kids of all ages, and they started racing from one side of our yard to the next—for hours. We had elimination races, group races, relay races, and more. The kids saw that it’s fun to use your own body to move and compete with somebody next to you.

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If your kid isn’t into racing, there are dozens of other fun workout ideas you can use to keep things fresh and exciting.

Here are several ideas to try:

  • Rock climbing
  • Swimming
  • Hula hooping
  • Parent-child yoga
  • Kickboxing
  • Dancing
  • Obstacle or relay races
  • Family or neighborhood wiffle ball
  • Bike rides

#4 – Stick to a (Loose) Schedule

Creating a schedule is less about the schedule and more about accountability. Staying fit as a family is a great way to encourage routine during the summer months, while showing children how to stay accountable to themselves.

However, if the schedule is too strict — “You need to work out for one hour each day, seven days a week” — it takes all the fun out of it. Fitness quickly becomes another chore, which is the quickest way to keep kids from loving it. Instead, create a loose schedule together as a family.

A more effective schedule may look something like this:

  • We’ll find one way to move our bodies together every day, whether it’s a walk or a workout.
  • We’ll play until we’re all out of breath and ready to rest.

Notice the use of language like “play.” Gonzalez suggests making this language a habit: “The way you speak about fitness will shape the way your children do. So, along with ‘play,’ I use words such as healthy, movement, and activity. Those are much better for kids to hear than terms like skinny or fat. I also focus more on the mental and emotional benefits you get from exercise and physical activity.”

#5 – Take Turns Being in Charge

unsplash-logoDanielle MacInnes

Just because you’re the parent doesn’t mean you have to choose the family activity every day. Take turns being in charge, empowering your little ones to choose the form of fitness they love, whether that’s a game of tag in the backyard or a swinging competition at the park.

Example: Mom will choose the activity on Tuesday and Thursday, Dad will choose on Monday and Wednesday, Sister will choose on Friday and Sunday, and Brother will choose on Saturday.

Not only does this strategy empower your kids, but it also allows you to bring in other lessons, like compromise. Perhaps they would rather ride bikes than go for a hike, but when it’s Mom’s turn to decide, they have to find the positive in something they don’t want to do.

Get Fit as a Family This Summer

The summer is a perfect time to create a healthier lifestyle as a family. Not only will your kids motivate you to move your own body more, but you’ll also demonstrate a healthy lifestyle, which will make them more likely to adopt it for the rest of their lives. Use these tips to introduce accountability and new ways to stay active, while making fitness fun for everyone in the family!


IMG_1636Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and the owner of her personal training business, Honest Body Fitness in San Diego. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, and others. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips, and more!

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