MMA training takes strength, endurance, and one very important thing that smoking can destroy: your lungs! Without proper oxygenation to the muscles and vital organs, you’ll never be able to train as hard as you want or as long as you want; and every time you take a drag, you’re essentially destroying the progress you’ve already made.
Smoking is a habit that every athlete should ditch altogether. Not only does it affect performance, but the second-hand smoke can put others in danger and destroy clothing, stick to surfaces, and leave an unpleasant aroma.
Let’s take a closer look at what you’re doing to your body (and your MMA career) every time you smoke a cigarette.
Chemicals And Toxins
To experience success in the ring, you need to be in top physical condition. Your training will be tough, but you know this; did you also know that smoking puts over 7,000 chemicals and toxins into your body at once? A single cigarette contains enough dangerous chemicals to kill a dozen people. The body has a remarkable ability to heal, but given enough time, smoking will take your life.
What chemicals and toxins are in cigarettes, you ask? I’m so glad you did. Let’s look at some of the most common (and toxic) ingredients found in a single cigarette.
Formaldehyde: Ever heard of embalming fluid? This is the stuff that’s used to preserve corpses. So, when aunt Flo finally kicks the bucket, she’ll be preserved for the funeral with formaldehyde. Oh, and it’s in your cigarettes, too.
Lead, Mercury, and Nickel: Each of these metals is used in everyday objects like batteries, jewelry, fishing lures, and more. But guess what? They’re not supposed to be inhaled. Every time you take a drag on your cigarette, you’re getting a nice dose of heavy metals delivered directly to your airways.
Acetone: It’s been a few weeks since you last had your nails done, so it’s time to wash off that old polish. Better reach for the nail polish remover, whose active ingredient is acetone. This corrosive substance is excellent for removing both nail polish and years off of your life when it’s breathed in via a cigarette.
Uranium: The Cold War was a decades-long “cold” conflict in which the United States and The Soviet Union stockpiled nuclear weapons. Each country had thousands of inter-continental ballistic missiles ready to launch at the press of the button…you can imagine the anxiety that much of the world felt. Better reach for a cigarette to help calm the nerves!
Except…you can’t escape the nukes that way, either. Your cigarettes contain radioactive materials like uranium. This isn’t because cigarette manufacturers are eager to give you a taste of Cold War nostalgia, but rather because Uranium tends to build up in the soil after frequent fertilizer applications.
When you continuously spray the crops with fertilizers, it causes a build-up of many harmful chemicals, which stay on the tobacco leaves and end up in your cigarettes and down a direct path to your lungs and bloodstream.
Arsenic: That big rat in the barn is dead meat. You’ve bought the most potent, powerful rat poison you could find on the shelves, and its main ingredient is…arsenic. Some of the pesticides used in tobacco farming contain this harmful poison, which keeps the pests at bay, but may also keep the rest of your life at bay if you breathe in enough of it.
Luckily, there are plenty of tobacco alternatives out there so you don’t have to ditch smoking cold-turkey. Many people choose tobaccoless dip, nicotine patches, or even CBD gummies to give up their smoking habit, with great success. There’s never been a better time to quit!
You can get high-quality CBD gummies here.
Now that you know what you’re breathing in, let’s look closer at what it does to the body. Of the 7,000 chemicals found in cigarettes, over 250 are considered toxic and at least 70 have been labeled as carcinogenic; that is to say, they cause cancer. When you take a drag on a cigarette, the smoke enters your lungs, passing through tiny air sacs called alveoli.
The smoke immediately damages these air sacs, as they’re only designed to handle oxygen, not 7,000 different chemicals. A gas exchange occurs in the lungs, where oxygen and other gases from the air you’ve breathed in are transferred to red blood cells and then circulate throughout the body.
When you exhale, you’re removing waste products in the form of carbon dioxide from your blood. If you’re smoking, your lungs are unable to filter all of the chemicals before they enter the bloodstream. Carbon monoxide, for instance, attaches to hemoglobin in red blood cells, making the process of oxygenation that much harder on the body.
What does this mean for your training? Your lungs will struggle to provide enough oxygen to the muscles and organs. You’ll be unable to catch your breath, and your stamina will drop significantly.
The Bottom Line
Smoking cigarettes and training for MMA fighting are simply incompatible. You can’t possibly combine a habit like smoking with a healthy lifestyle choice like working out and training for the ring. The bottom line? You’re destroying your health and your MMA career before you ever get started. Our best advice is to drop the cigarettes as soon as possible and focus on your career and your health. You’ll thank us later.