I used to smoke for 6 years and quit cold turkey and never looked back.
Sure, I've had one on RARE (once every 6 months or so) occasion, but I have noticed something about the "relaxation" of smoking:
In relaxation exercises (martial arts, yoga or whatever), there is deep diaphragm breathing that brings about a more relaxed and centered state from a deep inhale and a relaxed exhale.
Smokers (at least I did) tend to inhale and exhale those nasty things (cigarettes) in the same manner as the "relaxation exercises".
So in effect, they are relaxing themselves with breathing exercises...it's not the smoking (persay) that is doing the act of relaxing.
If you are a smoker (or former smoker), do this: pretend you have a cancer stick and (honestly and truthfully) mimic the exact way you smoke...then picture your exhale as if your breath is like the smoke...and I can pretty much guarantee (if you do it honestly) that you'll get the same "relaxed" feeling as you do when you really smoke.
did ye notice too how many lifters smoke? look at all the old bulgarian weightlifter vids. at my first powerlifting meet i will always remember the 'best lifter' smoking outside BETWEEN AND BEFORE his lifts!!!
he was juiced though. and as discussed here ofttimes rec drug use steroids and smoking goes hand in hand. abusing your body instead of making it healthier. this sort of man has no respect for his body. the evidence is in the self abusive behaviour. Another related point of interest is the higher suicide in elite athletes/powerlifters who use steroids. ??interestijng?
Everyone wants to look good naked wether they admit to it or not...
What really pisses me off are the people around you who don't know what the kuck they want. They want to look good or just get "in shape" but all they ever do about it is talk... Saying "yaeh you work out?... Boy I should really start going to gym..." as they take a puff. Shut the fuck up and stop wasting my time!
As an ex smoker (Quit 3 years ago/ smoked for 10) and a gym junky of 7, I know what it's like on both sides of the fitness fence. (Before I continue I haven't read all the responses so if I'm rehashing, I apologise) I can imagine that alot of smokers particularly fitness enthusiasts react in the same manner as I did to the ongoing criticism . They justify... I workout, I strength train, I do my cardio, I eat all the right things (in my case it was zero junk food, zero alcohol, zero drugs) I lived like a friggin monk and if you had a problem with my smoking... you, who doesn't exercise, lives on caffiene, sugar and fat then you can
f%$k off you f*#kin hippocrit... Smokers are out casts and that in my opinion reinforced my f#$k off feelings to the world. I'm not saying that I'm actually justifying smoking, I certainly don't want you to think that I believe that this is good habit. It's bad news, the whole world knows that. For any smokers out there reading I understand you. I still remember vividly how glorious those after dinner or early morning cigs were. Or how about those post workout cigies, they were friggin jizztastic! You've got low blood sugar, your body is screaming for oxygen and when that nicotine kicks in, WhooHar! It's awesome! But you know what the really ironic thing is, is that when you quit smoking and the nicotine is out of the system, that the awesome high you experience after you first light up is how you feel ALL THE TIME as non smoker! All smokers know they are addicted to nicotine, but what I don't think they realise is that when they light up after an extended period without, that they have simply quenched the thirst for nicotine. The shitty, nervous, tenseness they were experiencing prior were just low levels of nicotine withdrawl. So guys, if you kick the habit you'll feel that good all the time. I highly recommend you read Allen Carrs "The easy way to give up smoking". When you're ready to quit, read this and say goodbye to smoking forever, it's definitely worth it people.
On a different tangent, we all know that training for health is a great thing to do, but the truth is, is that most of us only really care about health when it becomes to late ie med condition. I've seen way to many injuries arise from gym training, and very rarely is it a person who's in it purely for health reasons. As far as I can tell the difference between health and body comp training is effort. When you work your arse off with heavy weights, the likely hood of injury is much higher than training to maintain ideal posture, above average levels of fitness, flexibility and strength. For most of us, the real motivation for training is to look good nekid. I've just seen way to many people come and go from the gym over the years. All these people had improved their health but none of them were of the small percentage of gym trainees who make a significant body comp transformations. For most people my advice would be if all you wanna achieve through exercise is an increase in health and well being, then do a dance class, ride a bike, yoga, surf, kick box, do gardening...I mean GPP. What ever floats your boat. In my opinion (and I love the gym, my home away from home) the gym is just to damn borring, if you train only for health and wellbeing (unless you do have a medical condition of course). I want to go on but I'm out of time, gotta workout myself. And yes I know, spelling is not my strong point.
I started chewing snuff my freshman year of college. My best friend's roommate gave me my first pinch, and I figured "What the fuck, I'm in college, let's try something new." I had smoked many times before, but never picked it up as a habit, mainly because I didn't want it to affect my performance in the gym and on the football field. So I had my first chew, and it was the best buzz I ever got. And then I puked.
I messed around with it a few times the rest of the year. Then sophomore football season comes, and we have a completely new coaching staff. They ALL chew. I had joined a fraternity at the end of my freshman year. 90% of my new brothers chewed. So I ended up doing it multiple times per day, as a social thing. At first I did it to get a buzz.
After a year or so, I did it so I could go through my day without feeling like tearing someone's head off. If I'd go for more than a few hours without a chew, I'd get this consuming feeling of anxiety that made me extremely irritable and unable to focus. Fuck, I used to have a chew in DURING FOOTBALL PRACTICE. Mouthpiece up top, Cope down low.
Well, I just quit a few months ago, for good. The reasons for quitting just left me with little room for rationalization. Besides making your face rot away and your teeth fall out, it's just way too fucking expensive. I was up to $15-$20 a week, or $780-$1040 a year. However, my biggest motivator came when I realized that I was a complete hypocrite for doing what I was doing.
I would be completely disgusted when the fatasses I worked with would scarf down donuts all morning, but then I'd chase my lunch with a horseshoe of Skoal. I hated them for their weakness when it came to food, but I was no better if you put a can of wintergreen in front of me. So, for me, it came down to strength of character and putting your money where your mouth is.
Edit: The pun in my last sentence is not intended. I should have said "practicing what you preach."
The most disgusting thing about smoking, in my opinion, is how it operates as a nervous disorder, a psychological crutch. You ever spend time with one of those smokers who has to light up whenever they encounter an anxiety producing situation? I swear to God I'll never date a smoker again.
As if I want to be reminded by a cloud of burning tobacco, that this person is a nervous loser - someone who takes a hit of dopamine to the brain rather than facing up to life in a positive, non-toxic way which fosters personal growth.
Life's challenges are to make us strong, not ridden with lung disease.
Chris, I understand what you are saying in the inherent hypocrisy of these types. However, making it so black and white is hard to do.
My smoking is still a holdover from when I was young; I started smoking way before I started lifting seriously. Drinking is another thing that is not good for you, but guys, especially young guys, will do it nonetheless. Not everyone can be so consumed with the prospect of being physically fit.
I remember that you are have an English degree, and i found that very interesting. In my classes, I have met only one other guy who is an English major who touches weights ( I am a senior now, so I know alot of the department). Having read the classics written by the authors we all read, as I am sure you have, you realize the way writers were (are) in the way of drinking, drug use, etc. What I am trying to say is that the dependence on these drugs is a psychological problem caused by the way certain people are. As an writer myself, I find that I am far more alone in the crowd if I am not a drunk or a smoker, and the lone weightlifter. I've gotten called a meathead time and again by skinny guys and old guys who place no importance on lifting.
Either way, that was my opinion...I think it is kind of a live and let live thing. By smoking and lifting, at least you are lifting. Its better than just smoking...and I am trying to quit myself. Although I do hate the fat doctors that bitch about the dangers of straining yourself in powerlifting.
Irish, lemme guess...you were drunk when you wrote this, right?
Chris, you struck a cord in me. My own tangent and pet peeves:
Parents of kids with Asthma, you see out in the community with said child, parent smoking a cigarette.
Also people having active heart failure and a family member or friend insisting on giving the person "dinner"-- a McDonald's Supersize meal-- fries, burgers, etc., and telling the healthcare providers we're causing the person to "suffer" by not allowing the McDonald's food.
McDonald's eating person telling me, "you local people must have bad hearts from eating plate lunches" (grilled meat, plain rice, salad).
Moral: We have a LOOOONG way to go in terms of educating the public about health maintenance.
I like how people turn this around and say a fat doctor has no business telling you smoking is bad for you. It doesn't make it any less true, does it? Why should you care that the doctor will drop dead if he skips the elevator and takes the stairs to the buffet? When I have young patients who smoke, I use the same approach. I ask them if anyone has ever told them smoking was bad for them. Of course, they know. Then I encourage them to continue smoking, since I have 2 kids I am going to have to put through college, not to mention all the student loans I have to pay off. I usually get funny looks. Smokers make far more vists to the office than non-smokers. Even the young ones.
If you look at people who are "sick" or have chronic medical conditons, you will find that the vast majority of people have something that is avoidable. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, all can be managed at least partially, by diet and exercise. Smoking is another big one. If everyone exercised, nobody smoked or drank to excess, then the hospitals would be nearly empty.
Most smokers I talk to want to quit, but "can't'. Yeah, you can't quit smoking like the fat chick with the "hormone imbalance" can't put down the damned cookie. Rationalizing things like this is a great defense mechanism, but has no impact on your health.