Smoking in any form is bad for you, whether it’s cigarettes or vaping. However, nicotine is addictive, and that’s why many people continue to vape even after seeing those anti-vaping commercials on TV.
After all, vaping seems a little less harmless, right? Actually, when it comes to getting gains and meeting those muscle growth goals, vaping can steer you in the wrong direction.
Curious now? Here’s what you need to know, courtesy of My Fit Foods
What Is Vaping?
We’ve known for a while that cigarettes contain much more than tobacco. The many added chemicals — designed to enhance the experience and keep you hooked — can cause numerous health problems.
This is why many people have turned to vaping. Although vaping also involves inhaling nicotine, it doesn’t have the same chemicals in it as a cigarette.
Vaping devices consist of several parts. There’s the battery pack or built-in battery that powers the device.
When the electronic device is turned on, the vaper pushes a button, and the cotton within the coils is heated up. (And that cotton has been saturated with an e-liquid made of nicotine, some flavoring, and a few other food-safe ingredients, BTW).
Vapers then breathe in the smoke, or “cloud,” that is created when the e-liquid is heated.
There are many vaping devices out there, from set-it-yourself electronics that require you to choose how much vapor you’d like at once to standard e-cigarettes.
No matter which kind you choose, one thing is for certain: They can hurt your performance in the gym.
How Does Vaping Affect My Exercise?
Even though vaping is seen as slightly safer than cigarettes — mostly because it has fewer added chemicals in the miz — it still isn’t something that pairs well with exercise. The simple act of breathing in anything other than oxygen can affect your overall lung capacity.
Since you use your lungs when working out, not being able to breathe as much as you need to can shorten your exercise routines considerably. You could end up coughing, bent over trying to catch your breath, or at the very least, unable to finish your usual regimen.
For this reason and many others, vaping and exercise don’t get along well. One will always affect the other.
Does Vaping Affect Muscle Growth?
Of course, not being able to breathe properly while exercising applies mainly to cardio and stamina. What about muscle growth? As it turns out, vaping can make you less likely to meet your weight lifting goals.
Here are just a few of the factors that vaping interferes with when you’re at the gym.
Your Fuel Sources
In order to build muscle, you need to properly fuel your body. Some bodybuilders choose to build up an excess of calories that they can turn into muscle, while others useprotein powders and other supplements to give their muscles exactly what they need to grow larger.
However, when you vape, you end up losing your appetite. This is due to the fact that nicotine is a natural appetite suppressant.
If you’ve ever wondered why people gain weight after they quit smoking, it's because their appetite comes back. In bodybuilders or anyone who wants to grow bigger muscles, not being able to eat properly can prevent them from having the energy to work out — let alone possess the fuel needed to get bigger muscles.
Your Ability to Grow Muscles
Have you ever wondered why people are told to quit smoking after they have surgery of any kind? It’s not just because vaping is bad overall. In addition to being harmful to your health, a lack ofapoptosis can occur.
To build bigger muscles, you have to damage them. When you lift weights, you’re actually putting tiny microscope tears into the muscles used. As these muscles begin to heal, they’ll create new cells on top of the area that’s been torn, making your muscles larger in the process.
Apoptosis is the medical term for what occurs when the old, damaged cells die off and new cells are formed in their place. When you vape nicotine, the drug interferes with this process, preventing apoptosis. As a result, your muscles probably won’t grow as large as you want.
Your Overall Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure plays a huge role in your overall health. Working out, particularly by doing cardio, exercises your cardiovascular system, making it healthier and more efficient. As a result, your blood pressure will go down and stay within a healthy range.
To build muscle, you need to lift weights frequently, so having solid blood pressure numbers can keep you in the proverbial game.
But not if you vape. Nicotine is linked to high blood pressure, so even if you work out regularly, you’re at a great risk for things like heart attacks and strokes. Both of them can put a crimp in weight lifting plans.
Your Heart Rate
Like your blood pressure, your heart rate plays a role in stating how healthy you are. It’s common to have a heart rate of between 60 and 100 beats per minute, although those who are very fit tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum.
Remember that when you work out, you need to get to your target heart rate in order to see any progress. This is somewhat higher than your resting heart rate and varies from person to person.
The problem with nicotine is that it can artificially raise your heart rate, making you have to work harder in order to get to that target rate. Combine this with higher blood pressure, and you could be a heart attack waiting to happen.
Your Cortisol and Myostatin Levels
You’ve probably heard of cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. Being stressed out all of the time causes your cortisol levels to rise, but so does vaping.
Nicotine actually forces your body to produce more cortisol. In turn, having more cortisol directly affects the amount of testosterone in your body.
On top of that, nicotine can raise your myostatin levels. High levels of myostatin can prevent muscle growth, making it tough to see the fruits of your weight lifting labors.
Your Testosterone Levels
Your muscles and your testosterone levels are linked. This is true even in women, who have some of the hormone in their bodies, albeit less than men. To gain muscle mass, you need to have the testosterone in your body at an optimal level. It works with the androgen receptors in your muscle cells, allowing those cells to continue to grow.
As you can probably guess, nicotine interrupts this process as well, forcing your body to produce less testosterone, prohibiting muscle growth at the same time.
Your Ability To Regulate Insulin
Did you know that insulin is technically a hormone? It turns into a protein that’s synthesized by the body when you eat sugary or carb-laden foods. When you vape, you’re actually interfering with your body’s ability to regulate insulin, causing a condition called insulin resistance.
In order to make your muscles larger, you need insulin to do its job, which is to help your muscles absorb the glucose that’s released after one of those aforementioned meals. Glucose fuels your muscles, allowing you to lift heavier weights and work out for a longer period of time.
Without the proper amount of insulin in your body, your muscles won’t have the energy they need to lift weights.
Vaping and Muscle Gains
As you can see, vaping andmuscle gains don’t go together well. Although vaping is better for you than smoking cigarettes, the nicotine in e-juice, e-cigarettes, and vaping pods can actually inhibit muscle growth.
Not only will you have an increased worry about heart disease and high blood pressure, but nicotine messes with some of the hormones that are involved in muscle growth.
So, what’s the best thing you can do? Quit smoking and vaping altogether. You’ll perform better in the gym and see those muscle gains pop up right where you want them to. This is definitely the best option!
Still have some questions on how vaping affects your ability to see those gains in the gym?Contact us!
How Vaping Affects Muscle Growth | Women’s Health Magazine
How Smoking Affects Your Workout | Smokefree
Vaping And Bodybuilding: All You Need To Know | FightBookMMA