Back in the day there were oldtime bodybuilders who used to smoke. Jim Park (1952 AAU Mr America and Mr Universe 1954) would do an exercise, and then sit on the end of a bench to smoke a cigarette (it was in the old famous York Gym). Even oldschool bodybuilding legend John Grimek used to smoke. Here’s is a great excerption from John’s columns ‘Your training problems’ published in S&H (1962).
Question: “I would like to know the answer to this question: Does smoking cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe interfere with increasing one’s muscular size? I heard that some of the York men smoke. Is this true? I train with weights several times a week but am not making the kind of improvement I had hoped to make. Progress is very slow and I’m getting discouraged. Could you please explain?”
John Grimek: “Smoking could very well be responsible for your slow progress, though I must admit that there are still quite number of lifters and bodybuilders who continue to smoke in face of the damaging evidence which proves how detrimental smoking is. You may remember only a few years ago when tobacco manufactures were recommending smoking as a way to lose weight, and some people actually did lose weight.
What smoking does (for most people) is to dull the appetite so people eat less, and when you eat less you’re bound to lose some weight. This may explain why you aren’t making better progress especially if you are a heavy smoker. You may not have sufficient appetite, plus the fact that smoking tends to destroy certain vitamins in your system and thus make you deficient. Perhaps now is the time for you to give up the habit before it makes you a slave.
Several of the York men did smoke in the past, including myself, but none of us use the nicotine weed today. Of course, outside of one or two none of the others were habitual smokers. Moreover, as we began to see the vast amount of evidence piling up against smoking, we all gave it up and haven’t smoked since.
Bob Hoffman never smoked and constantly chided those of us who did. He feels everyone should lead a good S&H life, and that doesn’t include smoking or drinking. Again I urge you, give up the habit now while you can. It doesn’t do you any good and you’ll be saving the money you normally spend on smoking..which amounts to quite a bit these says. It could make a big difference in your case. It’s certainly worth a try. Try chewing gum a few days as a substitute for smoking…if the habit has a hold on you. You will find it works!”
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