Earlier in the week I read an article in the Huffington Post about smoking – and the latest dire warning from surgeons and health experts.
Of course by now we all know that smoking is bad for your health and will most likely contribute to a serious, if not life threatening illness. End of story, right? Well no, it got me thinking about the phenomenon of people that workout regularly, eat well, and STILL smoke. I’m familiar with this on a personal level as I come from a chain-smoking family; both my parents and my sister puffed on cancer sticks daily. And as I’ve said in my bio, it was my father whose daily exercise sparked my interest in fitness. Even to this day though, both my mom and sister still smoke. My father realized the harm he was doing to himself and quit cold turkey some 20 odd years ago.
I can remember going to the gym as a twentysomething and seeing people smoking upstairs in the café after a long, intense workout. Back then, there were no designated smoking areas of course and it seemed visually odd watching people who appeared to be in stellar conditioning light up after a workout. I think that some people are under the impression that if they exercise, it somehow “undoes” some of the damage caused by smoking. Madness…. just like the vintage commercials below…
Of course some smokers do LOOK fit – in part due to their smoking habit – as cigarettes contain the stimulant nicotine, which also curbs the appetite. That’s one reason people gain weight when they finally kick the nasty habit. I’ve even heard some people say that they started smoking to lose weight – and I think that’s nuts! So to be thinner, you’ll cough, be sick, yellow skinned, reek of smoke, and most likely die prematurely? Yeah, that’s a sound decision.
Recently I read an interview with Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino in the current issue of GQ magazine in which he admits his own smoking habit. How insane is that – the guy is on the front cover of Men’s Fitness this month – and is regularly held up as a fitness icon!
And Mike’s not the only celebrity smoker… Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Eva Mendez, Robert Pattison, Mel Gibson, Kate Moss, and Colin Farrell are just a few other seemingly beautiful people with charred insides. And let’s not forget our current president is also a smoker!
Over the years I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known, both personally, and as clients exercise regularly but still smoke. Which brings me to the whole ethos of the Angry Trainer Fitness site and brand. Looking fit and being fit are not the same thing!
I personally never saw the attraction to smoking. I hated it as a kid, smelling it in my house, on my parents, on my clothes, and that was without even knowing the health implications. The appeal truly escapes me and for the life of me I’ll never understand it. I don’t care what anyone says, it doesn’t look cool and when I see women smoking, it actually turns me off. I can’t even stand walking into buildings where the entrance is littered by cigarette butts and people blowing smoke in my face!
The fact is this, if you take your health and life seriously, you can’t smoke, not even socially, or a puff here and there. The research shows that even just one puff infects your body with toxins and chemicals, and alters your body chemistry. The really crappy part is that just being around smoke can make you sick, as inhaling second hand smoke is just as dangerous.
The problem for a lot of smokers who exercise is that they start a new program more concerned with how they look, rather than how healthy they are. I’d bet that if given the choice between looking good and feeling good, more people would go for the former. Isn’t that sad!
So if you smoke, stop now, or at least try to start a plan to eventually stop. Only bad things can come from it, as there are ZERO benefits from smoking. If you also exercise, evaluate just how serious you take your health, and forget about whether you look healthy, and ask if you REALLY are? Be honest. You may have made a bad decision at one point and started to smoke, but you have the ability to improve your health and live a smoke free life. If you’d like some help quitting, check out www.smokefree.gov and get started today. There is no question a smoke free world would be a better place.
What do you think? Do you smoke and think it’s okay? Have you seen people at your gym lighting up as soon as they leave? Start commenting everyone!