What Effects Do Smoking And Drinking Have On Bodybuilders?

What effects do smoking and drinking have on bodybuilders? Apparently more than most people might realize. Get an eye opener to the realities of drinking & smoking and what bodybuilders can expect if they do.

TOPIC What Effects Do Smoking And Drinking Have On Bodybuilders?

The Question

We all know numerous people who drink and/or smoke; believe it or not, some of the people we see in the gym on a daily basis are drinkers and/or smokers.

What effects do smoking and drinking have on bodybuilders?

How much of a difference in results could one achieve if they didn't drink/smoke compared to one who does?

How can you convince someone to drop these bad habits?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners

    1. heather121212 View Profile

1st Place heather121212

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Effects of smoking and drinking are dangerous to everyone. Not just bodybuilders, but smoking and drinking does not help a bodybuilder improve their inside or out. The habits both have severe and very dangerous consequences.

Bodybuilding is about improving your body, improving how you want to look, and feeling confident and great about yourself. Smoking and drinking will just take you longer to reach your goals or worse, you may not even be able to reach your goals.

Harmful Effects Of Smoking

Tobacco contains more than 4,000 different chemicals that react with your body in several ways. The most harmful of the chemicals are nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar.

Effects Of Nicotine

Nicotine is a drug. People don't realize that it is that harmful, but it is. It is addictive like many drugs and gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Seven to eight seconds later the brain can feel the reaction. It has been noticed that nicotine may sometimes alter a person's personality depending on how long they have been smoking, the amount of puffs inhaled, and how deeply they were inhaled.

Dangerous Side Affects

  • Increase in heart rate
  • Increase in hormone production
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Constriction of small blood vessels on skin
  • Changes in blood composition
  • Changes in metabolism

Effects Of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. Up to 15% of a smoker's blood is carbon monoxide being carried to different parts on the body instead of oxygen. Oxygen is needed especially for body tissues and cells to work properly.

When the supply of oxygen is reduced for a very long period of time it causes problems in growth, repair and absorption of important nutrients such as protein. We all know that growth, repair and absorption is something every bodybuilder needs.

Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it affects the "electrical" activity in the heart. Carbon monoxide also combines with other changes in the blood associated with smoking and diet (may encourage fatty deposits to form on the walls of the arteries in the heart).

This drug leads to heart problems and disease, arteries being blocked, and dangerous circulation problems. Females who smoke have the risks of effects I have listed above but also the risk of putting the fetus in danger. It can cause the reduction of oxygen being carried to the fetus.

Effects Of Tar

When inhaled, 70% of the tar in every cigarette smoked is deposited in the lungs. Tar damages the lungs causing the biocides to narrow, coughing and increase in bronchiole mucus, and damage to small hairs which protect lungs from diet and infection.

Risks Of Smoking

  • Premature aging
  • 83% of lung patients were smoker related
  • 90% of bronchitis and emphysema patients were smoker related
  • 17% of coronary heart disease (CHD) were smoker related
  • Smokers have a greater risk of illness and premature death compared to nonsmokers
  • Smoking doubles the risk of CHD

Smoking Related Diseases

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Effects on fertility
  • Tobacco amblyopic (defected vision)
  • Atherosclerosis (build up of fatty deposits and loss of elasticity in artery walls)
  • Gangrene
  • Cancer (lung, mouth, throat, nose, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, stomach, leukemia, lymphoid, kidney)
  • Recurrent infections in airway
  • Damage and loss of efficiency in lungs
  • Chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Peptic ulcers

Female Bodybuilders & Smoking

Lung cancer has been expected to overtake breast cancer as the leading cancer in women. Men and women bodybuilders have the same risks of developing CHD, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other smoking-related diseases.

Female Bodybuilders Have A Higher Risk Of

  • Abortion and other serious problems during pregnancy
  • Low birth weight babies
  • Menopause developing two to four years early
  • heart attacks and strokes
  • Increase risk of osteoporosis (which is horrible for a bodybuilder)

Passive Smoking

If you don't smoke you are not out of harm's way yet. Passive smoking is breathing in another person's cigarette smoke off the end of the cigarette. It is just as dangerous as inhaling from the cigarette. It can cause bodybuilders to have irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, increase acute respiratory illness, headaches, dizziness, sickness, coughing, wheezing, asthma, allergies, increased risk of CHD and reduced levels of capacity of lung functions.

Benefits For Quitting

  • Breathing improves
  • Improved ability to cope with sudden exertion
  • Loss of smokers cough and reduction of phlegm
  • Sense of taste and smell improves
  • Natural decline in lung efficiency slows down to a rate similar to nonsmokers
  • Reduced risk of smoke related diseases

Introduction To Alcohol

Like smoking, alcohol is a very risky and dangerous habit. When I say alcohol I am talking about beer, wine and liquor. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it depresses the central nervous system. However it is also a stimulant. Alcohol acts a different way on everyone. The younger you are when you start, the harder it is to quit.

Effects Of Alcohol On The


Blood vessels widen when alcohol enters the bloodstream. This causes a greater amount of blood to flow to the skin. When a person drinks, it causes their body temperature to drop as blood flow increases. The blood flows to the surface and allows their body heat to escape more than usual. People think drinking alcohol in winter makes them warmer but in fact it just makes them colder.


When alcohol reaches the brain it immediately reacts as a depressant. The drunk brain causes drinkers to lose sensation and decreases vision, hearing, and almost every sense. The brain controls muscle coordination, which is what makes people walk straight. This is why people fall and stumble when they are intoxicated. Their breathing and heartbeat, which is controlled by the brain, decrease .


The liver is supposed to break alcohol down into energy. The waste will result in carbon dioxide and water. People become intoxicated when they drink more alcohol than they can break down.


Alcohol keeps the body from releasing body chemicals. When drinking alcohol the body produces more urine than usual. Which will possibly make a bodybuilder become dehydrated. The drinker loses more water than usual, which results in dehydration. People become more thirsty when they drink. The body will not work properly on count of dehydration in severe cases.


Alcohol reduces blood flow to muscles. This includes the heart. Alcohol causes muscle weakness and deterioration. What bodybuilder wants that? Bodybuilders need a good heart and alcohol causes a sluggish heart.

Results Of Intoxication

  • Hangovers
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Irritability, anxiety, and restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Physical weakness, rapid heart rate
  • Mental sluggishness
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Decreased flexibility


Alcohol is not digested like other foods, but has a great amount of calories. Alcohol is very high in calories and low in nutrition. Every bodybuilder needs their nutrition. Empty calories are not going to help a bodybuilder, so why even drink alcohol? Basically you cannot put alcohol to good use. Most bodybuilders avoid alcohol and they should.

Alcohol Facts

The Way Alcohol Affects You Depends On:

  • The time when it was consumed
  • How much was consumed
  • If you had any food on your stomach
  • Your bodyweight
  • It takes ½ an hour to feel affects of alcohol
  • Alcohol poisoning happens when you drink too much to fast, can lead to a coma or death
  • Binge drinking can lead to brain damage; coma and then death
  • Only time can make you sober
  • It takes 1 hour for each drink of alcohol to be used by your body

Alcohol Can Cause

  • Respiratory failure
  • Comma
  • Death
  • Impaired judgment
  • Accidents
  • Lose of inhibitions
  • Aggression
  • Destruction
  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart damage
  • Poor memory
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer


Whether you smoke or you drink it is a bad habit. If you are a bodybuilder then these habits may stop you from reaching your full potential. Smoking makes it harder to breath and that may end up being a problem during cutting season or if you're just trying to maintain a healthy heart.

Alcohol on the other hand is just as bad. A bodybuilder wants to get the proper nutrition they need to grow as big and as strong as they want. Most bodybuilders' dreams are to compete and with these two components working against you, you may find it hard to actually make your dreams come true.

Compare a bodybuilder who smokes and drinks with another bodybuilder who does neither. The bodybuilder who does not drink or smoke will have a more masculine but very lean body. Which is what is needed to compete and win. Look at it this way, if you don't smoke or drink you might not win a completion but you will add a few more years to your life than someone who does these bad habits.

It would be hard to convince someone to quit their awful habits. I would do my best to help convince them and then support what they are doing. Showing them what might happen to them might help with the process.

Maybe it would scare them out of their habit if what they see is bad enough. I don't think you can convince anyone of quitting something they love. They have to have the will power to do it theirself.

If they don't believe in themselves, then they will not succeed. Bodybuilders could have twice the success if they quit their awful habits. This should not just be a topic of the week but a topic of a lifetime and a goal to stay healthy.

2nd Place no_strain_no_ga

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Smoking & Drinking = Bad Idea!

This is not a matter about bodybuilding or weightlifting, but overall health. Harvard Researchers concluded in 2003 that smoking causes 5 million deaths world-wide. With 100,000+ deaths occurring each year due to alcohol or alcohol-related crashes.

This serious issue increases year by year. People suffer from lung cancer, weight gain, bone loss, liver disease and other serious affects to their bodies and others' as well. It isn't worth wasting away your life over smoking or drinking. Think about the smart thing to do and stop.



  • Acetaldehyde: Also know as ethanol. Also found in car fumes and alcohol. Effects the liver and is the main cause of hangovers. It is very toxic.
  • Ammonia: Is a toxin. Effects the kidney. Also found in explosives and fertilizers.
  • Acrolein: Severe irritant. Used during WW1 as a chemical weapon. Causes serious skin damage if exposed.
  • Carbon Monoxide: Found in the atmosphere. Effects the lung. Is a toxic gas.
  • Formaldehyde: Found in plywood, automobile exhaust, and forest fires. Is lethal and causes comas and blood acidity. Also a cause for certain types of cancers.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide: Is a poison. Used in dye and explosives. Used during WW2 and the Iraq/Iran war as a chemical weapon.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide: Is a toxin and a poison. Low concentrations of it give you headaches and sickness. Higher levels could cause death.
  • Methyl Chloride: Is very toxic. High levels of it can cause you to have seizures or go into a coma. Little, but not rare, will it be fatal.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide: Is a gas and a poison. It can be fatal.

Effects This Has On Bodybuilding

Smoking is a main source of lung cancer. Many toxins in cigarettes are to blame. The lung is widely-used during weightlifting, because you use the oxygen as a energy source and don't get easily tired out. Also, bone loss is another affect of smoking. And if you lose bone marrow, then you will have a higher chance of injuries during weightlifting.

Ways To Stop

  1. Throw All Your Cigarettes Away!Getting rid of them faster will make you less likely to want them back.
  2. Get Others To Take Part.Get family and friends in it to help you stop. Tell them if they see you eyeing a cigarette or smoking one to take it away and destroy it.
  3. Join An Addiction Group.Getting others to know your problem and getting help will be a good starting point to stop smoking.
  4. Believe In Yourself.Tell yourself all the effects that smoking can do to you. Show pictures of what can happen. Self tolerance is the key.

Second Hand Smoke:

If you don't smoke, that doesn't mean you can't feel the same affects. Second hand smoke is as dangerous as smoking a cigarette. Although you are not consuming the same toxins as the smoker, many gases and poisons can enter you and give you diseases or cause death. Try to stay away from smokers and smoking areas. It's all up to you and how to live a smart and healthy life.



  • Brain Damage
  • Weakens the Immune System
  • Liver Disease
  • Aging
  • Cancer (Mouth, Breast, Intestines, Stomach, and Esophagus)
  • Decrease in Testosterone Levels
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney and Heart Disease
  • Strokes
  • Muscle Deterioration
  • Death

The main issue you see up there is decrease in testosterone. Testosterone is a main factor upon the energy and strength you have in you. The lower the testosterone levels, the weaker you feel and less you can perform.

Also, if you have heart disease, that might mean less blood flowing throughout your body and less oxygen circulates through your body, making you more tired. Also, drinking will give you the "beer belly" affect since the stomach cancer and immune system will make it harder to digest everything faster.

Drinking is not always bad, but you must watch what you drink and how much you drink. If you think you have a problem or someone you know has a problem, get help. The longer it goes on, the harder it takes to realize they must stop. And if no one stops them, something seriously bad can happen to them or someone else. Be smart about your decisions.

Change In Results

If you don't drink or smoke, you will have a better and easier time working out. You will not be overly tired and feel weak and will look bloated. You will not break any bones and will not pass out to heavy lifting.

You'll be more alive and be receiving more oxygen to your lungs, not making you tired to workout more. Also, you'll gain more strength and more mass since you will not be losing muscle to alcohol. All this benefits any athlete that uses their energy to their advantage.

If you do not drink or smoke, the better chance you have on building strength and mass faster. And if you do cardio, more blood can circulate through the body without being blocked or less productive from the heart.

If you see someone that is bigger than you and smokes or drinks, don't be discouraged ... you have a better chance of living a longer healthier life. Also, you will feel better emotionally since you don't have to worry about having a disease because of smoking or that you killed someone in a car crash because you were drunk. You'll be less stressed and be able to worry about lifting than anything else going on.

What Can I Do To Help?

Helping the victim know that he/she has a problem is the first thing to do. Tell them how smoking or drinking has changed them. Give examples, even harsh ones, to show what they have done to themself and others. Be rough with them, don't be scared to yell at them.

Second, block them from their bad habit. Take away all the beer that is in the house or crush the cigarettes. Keep doing this until it looks like they have given up. Get some group help. Addiction groups are the best.

You can find people who have gone through the same thing and encourage them to stop when they see someone else has. At the end, get them to tell you they have discovered their problem. See if they know who they hurt and what they can do to help it.

Keep on doing this until it looks like they have broken the habit completely. If they still have not learned, try even harder. Put them in the class longer. Nothing is impossible and they certainly cannot change that fact!

-Mike K.

3rd Place HerveDuchemin

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Smoking and drinking have various effects on the body, causing individuals to want to quit, due to the detrimental effects of these two habits on exercise and overall well being. Unfortunately, numerous metabolic problems arise when a long time smoker or drinker decides to quit the habit.

In regular male drinkers, lowering the alcohol intake caused a decrease in HDL-cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, whereas decreasing cigarette smoking in men who smoked on a regular basis was associated with significant increases in insulin, glucose, triglycerides, waist and BMI.

In regular women smokers, HDL-cholesterol, waist circumference and BMI increased upon quitting. From this research, it is obvious that it is much better off to not start smoking at all, due to the fact that the metabolic advantages offered upon quitting may lead to various psychological and hormonal issues when one has to adjust to the metabolic disadvantages that arise upon cessation of smoking or drinking after prolonged periods of regular use.

Affects Of Nicotine

Diet can influence the ability of nicotine to modulate body weight regulation and demonstrate that chronic nicotine exposure results in adaptive changes in central and peripheral molecules which regulate feeding behavior and energy metabolism.

This applies to bodybuilders looking to put on or hold onto muscle mass. Nicotine is known to decrease body weight in human smokers, whereas nicotine withdrawal or smoking cessation can increase body weight. Nicotine withdrawal is accompanied by increased expression of the orexigenic peptides neuropeptide Y and Agouti-related protein in the hypothalamus, and decreased expression of the metabolic protein uncoupling protein-3 in brown adipose tissue.

Neuropeptide Y

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is the most abundant neuropeptide in the brain, and is known to be an extremely potent stimulator of feeding behavior. Feeding behavior in rodents is blocked by injection of antibodies or antisense RNAs against NPY. More importantly, leptin appears to act, at least in part, by inhibiting NPY synthesis and release in the hypothalamus.

Agouti-Related Protein

Agouti-Related Protein (AGRP) is an integral component in the metabolic processes that regulate feeding behavior and body weight. Present in the hypothalamus, AGRP levels are elevated in obese males (Katsuki et al, 2001).

Phoenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in collaboration with UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, has not only identified and synthesized several AGRP fragments that are as potent inhibitors of MC3-R and MC4-R as the parent molecule, but also the intact protein, AGRP Form C (Jimenez et al, 1999).

Bodybuilders & Muscle Mass

From this, it can be concluded that for a bodybuilder looking to hold onto muscle mass, or get lean, there is some difficulty getting involved with smoking in the first place.

For extreme cases, a smoking cessation clinic might be the only way to go. A study was performed in France to assess the effectiveness at 1 year of a hospital clinic providing individual management of persons seeking to stop smoking and the factors predictive of failure.

This prospective descriptive study included smokers seeking assistance at this hospital clinic over a 1-year period. This analysis excludes persons with schizophrenia and those who came only to a first consultation.

Treatment methods were those recommended by the 1998 consensus conference:

  1. Nicotine substitutes or slow-release bupropion, depending on the level of nicotine dependence.
  2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy appropriate for smoking in all cases, and the prescription before cessation of a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) for patients with anxiety or depressive disorders.

The study confirmed the usefulness of specialized medical support over a 1-year period and highlighted the difficulties of smoking cessation for women, who appear to need a new, not-yet invented approach. The other standard factors predictive of failure were not observed, possibly because of either the broad prescription of SSRIs in cases of anxiety - or depression-related comorbidity or the statistical limitations associated with the population size.

Obviously, there would be much more positive progress from a bodybuilder who didn't drink or smoke, but from the research seen, it is evident that with prolonged use, the effects on bodybuilding results due to changes in metabolism, appetite and hormonal values upon cessation, might make it even more difficult to quit the habit.

Smoking Forum Discussions:


The following suggestions were offered (see www.coolnurse.com) to help smokers looking to quit the habit.

  1. Pick a date to stop, if you can't stop today. Choose one, two-to-four weeks from now, so you can get ready to quit. If possible, choose a time when things in your life will change, like when you're about to start a break from school. Or just pick a time when you don't expect any extra stress at school, work or home.
    Of course life is very unpredictable so you just can't wait for there to be NO stress in your life. Wouldn't that be easy?
  2. Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit. Keep that list available so you can look at it when you have a nicotine craving. Make a list of what you like about smoking also.
  3. Keep a record of where, when and why you smoke. You may want to make notes for a week or so to know ahead of time when and why you will crave a cigarette. Plan what you'll do instead of smoking (see list above for ideas). You may also want to plan what you'll say to people who pressure you to smoke.
  4. Throw or give away all of your tobacco. Clean out your room if you have smoked there. Throw or give away your ashtrays and lighters, just get them out of your house and or room.
  5. Tell your friends that you're quitting. Ask them not to pressure you about smoking. Find other things to do with them besides smoking. If you have to avoid being around people who smoke, do that for a while. But do let friends know why you are avoiding them. You're doing this for YOU, not them.
  6. When your stop date arrives, STOP. Plan little rewards for yourself for each tobacco-free day, week or month. Buy yourself a new top, get some new chewing gum, ask a friend to see a movie. Take a friend to get your favorite dessert or decaf... whatever.


Overall however, as with everything else, the addiction begins in one's own mind. Food, alcohol, cigarettes and various drugs all leave a mental imprint on one's brain, and it is up to the individual to control his or her habits in a positive way in order to achieve whatever goals they set for themselves.

The life of a bodybuilder is one where extreme control must be exercised on one's desires, if adequate progress is to be made. As bodybuilders, we have to be very careful what we choose to put into our own bodies, and with that comes first being careful with what we choose to place into our minds.

Aside from the obvious conditions that arise from smoking and drinking (bad breath, cancer, lowered testosterone, increased caloric intake from alcohol and accompanying poor eating habits when drunk), this article attempted to delve into the more elusive, underlying problems that a regular smoker or drinker would face, while smoking, and upon choosing to quit the habit.


  1. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Jun;13(3):334-40.
  2. Neuroscience Letter. 2006 Oct 17.
  3. www.vivo.colostate.edu
  4. www.phoenixpeptide.com
  5. De La Blanchardiere A, Depieds D, Gueyffier F. Service des maladies infectieuses, CHU Cote de Nacre, Caen (14).