Obesity or smoking: Which should you try to fix first?

There isn't much debate about obesity and smoking being bad for you. For a quick recap, here are some of the bad things about being fat. If you can't see your abs at least a little bit, you are probably on the wrong side of 15% body fat and need to watch out.

This is a non-exhaustive list but there is certainly an increased risk of...

  • Heart conditions

  • Poorer blood profile

  • Diabetes

  • Stroke

  • Sleep Apnea

  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)

  • Gout

  • Depression

  • Being slow and clumsy, and having poor energy (my un-scientific but pretty accurate observation, especially since I too was overweight for a large portion of my childhood, and my team and I help people burn fat for a living)

Smoking has its list of bad consequences as well. It really doesn't matter if its cigarettes, hookah, or cigars. Although some research indicates that hookah (shisha) may be the worst of the lot. (Taken from this site)

  • Smoking tobacco is instantly addictive, as nicotine is a strong addictive agent

  • If the level of nicotine in a cigarette is condensed into liquid and injected intravenously it will kill you in an instant

  • Tobacco contains close to 43 carcinogens or cancer inducing agents

  • Nicotine plays havoc with your nerves and works towards hardening them

  • In close to a year of smoking you can contract erectile dysfunction, impotence or soft penile erections.

  • Smoking claims the lives of 60 per cent of the smokers through heart disease way before they reach middle age (before the age of 40)

  • Smoking is the main cause of asthma in smokers

  • Smoking is not pleasurable but just an addiction, similar to heroin addiction. Cigarettes generate craving for nicotine and the pleasure is just the fulfillment of the nicotine craving in your body.

  • Addiction to cigarettes is no different from addiction to cannabis, marijuana, cocaine, heroin or any other drug.

  • Tobacco is far more addictive than heroin or marijuana and the addiction is almost instant (after the first cigarette)

  • Smoking can cause permanent hardening of arteries and blockage which are not reversible. Leading to heart attack, permanent impotence for life (no more sex), limb atrophy (legs don't receive blood circulation).

  • Smoking lights have no advantage over smoking regular cigarettes

  • Tobacco is laced with several other chemicals to make it burn better. The names of these chemicals are no revealed by the manufacturers.

  • There are more than 4,000 different chemicals in a cigarette.

So both of these are bad. So which one should one work on first?

In my experience, it is better to work on the obesity and fat loss first. I find that its a lot easier to work on stopping the smoking later. In fact sometimes smoking stops on its own. Every year at Genesis Gym my team and I have clients come up to us and nonchalantly say "Oh, by the way, Jonathan, I just quit smoking".

Why does this happen?

To find out, we need to take a look at some of the reasons people smoke.

  • Smoking is pleasant and relaxing (helps with anger stress, anxiety, sadness etc)

  • Smoking helps relieve boredom

When a person gets depressed, or bored, it usually means a lower level of the brain chemicals dopamine and acetyl-choline.

And these are chemicals that are likely to be returned to normal when a person loses fat in a healthy way. Some of the factors that are in any safe and effective fat loss program are:

  • Exercise in a positive environment

  • Good social support

  • A nutritious diet of unprocessed food

  • Supplements to restore nutrient levels

These activities and nutrients boost natural levels of dopamine and acetyl-choline which means less cravings for smoking. Meat, nuts, and a low glycimic/low insulin diet tend to burn fat and increase the levels of these brain chemicals. And that's why if you have both a need to smoke and kilos to lose, you should work on the kilos first and then surprise yourself when quitting the smokes becomes easier, too.

For the best fitness boot camp program, ExpressFIT program in the CBD, and personal training in Singapore visit www.genesisgym.com.sg or the Genesis Gym facebook page. Or visit Coach Jonathan's homepage and blog at www.coachjon.com