Are you willing to make a positive change? Join the thousands of individuals on the same fitness journey!

TESTMONIALS Start Your Transformation
English Macedonian

Are you willing to make a positive change? Join the thousands of individuals on the same fitness journey!

TESTMONIALS Start Your Transformation
English Macedonian

Should I take a collagen supplement?

It will make your skin look dewy and fresh, your bones and nails strong, and your joints pain-free. These are the claims made by the countless manufacturers of collagen supplements that come in the form of powders, pills and creams. For that reason, it’s no surprise that collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in the wellness and beauty communities. But collagen’s efficacy is still pretty up in the air. Frustrated? Here’s what we know.

Key Takeaways:

  • Collagen, the most abundant protein in your body, plays a crucial role in skin, joint, bone, and muscle health.
  • Aging leads to a natural decline in collagen production, prompting many to explore supplements for potential benefits.
  • Collagen supplements may improve skin elasticity, relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, boost muscle mass, and promote heart health.
  • Foods like bone broth and animal sources provide collagen, but supplements are believed to be more efficiently absorbed.
  • While collagen supplements show promise, more research is needed on claims related to weight loss, gut health, and brain function.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It’s in your bones, muscles, and blood, comprising three-quarters of your skin and a third of the protein in your body.

As you age, your existing collagen breaks down, and it gets harder for your body to produce more. As a result, many people turn to collagen powder or other types of collagen supplements, such as capsules, gummies, and liquids.

Find some time to take stock of just how your uncontrolled emotions are affecting your day-to-day life. This will make it easier to identify problem areas (and track your success)

Foods that contain collagen

Foods that contain gelatin, such as bone broth, provide collagen. Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen that has been processed .

Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals. Thus, foods such as chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish are sources of collagen.

Vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis, so you should also be sure to eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers .

More research is needed to determine whether eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen levels in your body, as they may not have the same benefits as supplements.

Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides. However, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it’s thought to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from foods.

Pro Tip

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. You can increase your intake of collagen by taking supplements or eating animal foods and bone broth. However, absorption from food may not be as efficient as from supplements.

Health benefits of collagen supplements

Collagen supplementation provides a variety of health benefits.

1. May improve skin health

Collagen is a major component of your skin.

It plays a role in strengthening skin, as well as in elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles .

However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.

One review of 11 studies focusing mostly on women found that taking 3–10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 69 days led to improvements in skin elasticity and hydration.

These supplements may work by stimulating your body to produce collagen on its own. Additionally, collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.

There are also many anecdotal claims that collagen supplements help prevent acne and other skin conditions, but these aren’t supported by scientific evidence.

2. May relieve joint pain

Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.

As the amount of collagen in your body decreases with age, your risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases.

Some studies suggest that collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain .

A review of studies in people with osteoarthritis found that taking collagen led to significant improvements in joint stiffness and overall osteoarthritis symptoms .

Researchers have theorized that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen. In turn, this may lead to lower inflammation, better joint support, and reduced pain.

Even though the research is promising, experts caution that stronger evidence is still needed before recommending collagen as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

3. May prevent bone loss

Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and strength .

Just as the collagen in your body deteriorates with age, so does bone mass. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and a higher risk of bone fractures .

Studies note that collagen supplements may help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis .

In a 12-month study, post-menopausal women took either a calcium and vitamin D supplement with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium and vitamin D supplement with no collagen daily.

At the study’s end, those taking the calcium, vitamin D, and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those who took only the calcium and vitamin D. The collagen group also had lower loss of bone mineral density .

Another study found similar results in 66 post-menopausal women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months. Those who took the collagen exhibited an increase of up to 7% in their bone mineral density (BMD) compared with those who didn’t take collagen .

BMD is a measure of the density of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. Low BMD is associated with weak bones and osteoporosis risk .

Although these results are promising, more human studies are needed.

4. May boost muscle mass

As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is an important component of skeletal muscle.

Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age.

In a 12-week study, 27 older men with this condition took 15 grams of collagen while participating in an exercise program. Compared to men who exercised but didn’t take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength .

Researchers have suggested that supplemental collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise.

However, collagen protein isn’t more effective than whey protein for building muscle or strength. That’s because collagen is lower in branched chain amino acids which play a key role in muscle building. Whey protein is a richer source of these amino acids .

More research is necessary to investigate collagen’s potential to boost muscle mass.

5. May promote heart health

Researchers have theorized that collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart conditions.

Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become less flexible and elastic.

This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the narrowing of your arteries. This condition may lead to heart attack and stroke.

In a 6-month study, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily. They had experienced a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness from the study’s beginning to its end.

Additionally, their levels of HDL (good) cholesterol rose by an average of 6%. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis .

Nevertheless, more studies on collagen supplements and heart health are needed.

6. Other health benefits

Collagen supplements may have other health benefits, but these haven’t been studied extensively.

Hair and nails. Taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may help your hair and nails grow longer .

Gut health. Although no scientific evidence supports this claim, some health practitioners assert that collagen supplements can treat leaky gut syndrome, also called intestinal permeability.

Brain health. No studies have examined the role of collagen supplements in brain health, but some people claim that they improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Weight loss. Proponents believe that collagen supplements may promote weight loss and faster metabolism. However, no studies support these claims.

Although these potential effects are promising, more research is needed before formal conclusions can be made.


Collagen supplements have several benefits related to skin, joint, bone, muscle, and heart health. There’s scant evidence to support collagen’s purported effects on weight loss or gut or brain health.

Downsides and side effects of collagen supplements

Collagen supplements are generally well tolerated, with few reported side effects.

However, some supplements are made from common food allergens, such as fish, shellfish, and eggs. People with allergies to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients.

Some people report nausea and bloating when taking collagen supplements, but research has not consistently shown these as side effects .

There are some reports that collagen supplements may cause other digestive side effects, such as heartburn and feelings of fullness.

Regardless, these supplements appear to be safe for most people.

Pro Tip

Collagen supplements may lead to mild side effects such as bloating, heartburn, and feelings of fullness. If you have food allergies, make sure to purchase supplements that don’t contain your allergens.

How long does it take to see results?

Collagen turnover is a slow process. As such, no matter your goal for using collagen, it will take at least 8 weeks to experience noticeable results .

Most studies use a minimum of 8 weeks to assess collagen’s effects on skin health and joint pain relief, but other studies use longer periods, such as 12 months, for bone health.

Thus, you should be patient and not expect results for a while.


Allow at least 8 weeks of supplementing with collagen daily before assessing whether collagen is working for you.

Alternatives to animal-based collagen

Because collagen’s amino acid composition differs from those of other proteins, the possible alternatives are limited.

Vegan collagen can be made from genetically modified yeast and bacteria. To do so, four human genes that code for collagen are added to the genetic structure of these sources, which then generate their own collagen.

Proteins similar to collagen are also naturally found in some types of bacteria. These are being investigated as potential collagen sources .

You can also buy supplements that contain the primary amino acids involved in collagen synthesis — glycine, lycine, and proline. Some supplements obtain these amino acids from vegan sources.

They may also contain vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which helps your tissues retain water, keeping them lubricated and moist.

Keratin — the structural protein in hair, nails, and skin — has been suggested as an alternative to collagen, but there’s limited research to support keratin products for anything other than topical application on skin and hair.

Keratin is not vegan, as it’s derived from the feathers, wool, and horns of various animals.


Collagen’s makeup of amino acids is different from those of other proteins, meaning the alternatives are limited.

The bottom line

Collagen supplements offer a range of potential health benefits, particularly for skin and joint health. While research supports their efficacy in certain areas, more studies are required to validate other claims. Collagen turnover is a slow process, requiring patience for noticeable results. Individuals considering collagen supplements should be aware of possible side effects and explore alternatives, including vegan sources.

How to Control Your Emotions

Emotions are a natural and wonderful part of life. They color our world, help guide us through life, and give us insight into our inner thought processes.

But what happens when our emotions feel like they’re controlling us instead of the other way around?

Overwhelming emotions can result in emotional blow-outs, damaged relationships, and poor life decisions. Although it takes some practice, anyone can learn to better control their emotions and use them in more productive ways.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace Intense Emotions: Intense emotions are a natural and essential part of life, making it exciting and vibrant. They indicate a full engagement with life.
  • Identify Problematic Emotions: Regularly experiencing emotions that spiral out of control may lead to issues in relationships, difficulty relating to others, work or school troubles, substance misuse, and physical or emotional outbursts.
  • Regulation Over Repression: Rather than suppressing or repressing emotions, aim for regulation. Accepting emotions can contribute to greater life satisfaction and fewer mental health symptoms.
  • Acceptance is Key: Accepting your emotions, viewing them as messengers, and understanding the information they provide can help you become more comfortable with intense feelings.

Take a look at the impact of your emotions

Intense emotions aren’t all bad.

“Emotions make our lives exciting, unique, and vibrant,” Botnick says. “Strong feelings can signify that we embrace life fully, that we’re not repressing our natural reactions.”

It’s perfectly normal to experience some emotional overwhelm on occasion— when something wonderful happens, when something terrible happens, when you feel like you’ve missed out.

So, how do you know when there’s a problem?

Emotions that regularly get out of hand might lead to:

  • relationship or friendship conflict
  • difficulty relating to others
  • trouble at work or school
  • an urge to use substances to help manage your emotions
  • physical or emotional outbursts


Find some
time to take stock of just how your uncontrolled emotions are affecting your
day-to-day life. This will make it easier to identify problem areas (and track
your success)

Aim for regulation, not repression

You can’t control your emotions with a dial (if only it were that easy!). But imagine, for a moment, that you could manage emotions this way.

You wouldn’t want to leave them running at maximum all the time. You also wouldn’t want to switch them off entirely, either.

When you suppress or repress emotions, you’re preventing yourself from experiencing and expressing feelings. This can happen consciously (suppression) or unconsciously (repression).

Either can contribute to mental and physical health symptoms, including:

Pro Tip

Accepting emotions may lead to
greater life satisfaction and fewer mental health symptoms. What’s more, people
thinking of their emotions as helpful
may lead to
higher levels of happiness.

Accept your emotions — all of them

If you’re trying to get better at managing emotions, you might try downplaying your feelings to yourself.

When you hyperventilate after receiving good news or collapse on the floor screaming and sobbing when you can’t find your keys, it might seem helpful to tell yourself, “Just calm down,” or “It’s not that big of a deal, so don’t freak out.”

But this invalidates your experience. It is a big deal to you.

Accepting emotions as they come helps you get more comfortable with them. Increasing your comfort around intense emotions allows you to fully feel them without reacting in extreme, unhelpful ways.

To practice accepting emotions, try thinking of them as messengers. They’re not “good” or “bad.” They’re neutral. Maybe they bring up unpleasant feelings sometimes, but they’re still giving you important information that you can use.

For example, try:

  • “I’m upset because I keep losing my keys, which makes me late. I should put a dish on the shelf by the door so I remember to leave them in the same place.”


Accepting emotions may lead to
greater life satisfaction and fewer mental health symptoms. What’s more, people
thinking of their emotions as helpful
may lead to
higher levels of happiness.

Take a deep breath

There’s much to be said for the power of a deep breath, whether you’re ridiculously happy or so angry you can’t speak.

Slowing down and paying attention to your breath won’t make the emotions go away (and remember, that’s not the goal).

Still, deep breathing exercises can help you ground yourself and take a step back from the first intense flash of emotion and any extreme reaction you want to avoid.

Pro Tip

The next time you feel emotions starting to take control:

Breathe in slowly. Deep
breaths come from the diaphragm, not the chest. It may help to visualize your
breath rising from deep in your belly.

Hold it.
Hold your breath for a count of three, then let it out slowly.

Consider a mantra.
Some people find it helpful to repeat a mantra, like “I am calm” or “I am


Practice Self-Care Activities

Exercising, getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious foods, and engaging in hobbies can support emotional well-being and regulate intense emotions and build social and emotional learning, says Serani.

“Studies have long shown that tending to your mind, body and soul in these ways will deepen
your attunement to yourself and help with self-regulation,” she says.

Engage in Inner Work Exercises

Expressive arts like journaling and blogging, attending support groups, and seeking out psychotherapy can help process emotions and gain insight into underlying causes for strong emotions, says Serani.

“One of the additional benefits is these experiences can help root out some of the triggers, traumas, or unresolved patterns that set off overwhelming emotions,” she notes.

Identify Triggers That Heighten Emotions

Although triggers like certain situations or people are highly unpleasant and it’s natural to avoid them, Dattilo says identifying your triggers can give you the best opportunities to apply an alternative response to them.

“Practice helps us build and strengthen emotion regulation skills like breathing and reframing so that they are available and useful to us when we need them, in real time,” she says.

Constructive Communication

The following are assertive communication techniques to help you express emotions effectively, listen actively, and assert boundaries while maintaining respect and empathy.

Maintain healthy relationships

We can also use healthy relationships to regulate emotions by having a trusted friend or loved one to confide in, which is why you usually feel better after venting to a friend. Socializing can help to calm your mind and can even help regulate your body’s physical response to emotions. Although we can’t see people face-to-face as often right now, you don’t want to cut yourself off from people you were previously close to.

Practice mindfulness

One way to practice nonjudgmental awareness is to meditate, and it’s a lot easier than you might think. Simply taking five to ten minutes a day to notice what your body and mind feel like can help you gain an understanding of your emotional habits. This can act as a practice for when you experience emotions in your regular life. When meditating, play close attention to any emotions that may arise and how your instinct tells you to respond. You can ask yourself:

  • What kind of emotions arise, and how often do they come?
  • How does your body feel when they arise?
  • How does your mind respond?
  • Are there any judgments when emotions arise?
  • Is that response helpful? Is there a better way to respond?

The bottom line

Balancing and regulating emotions is crucial for mental and physical well-being. Acceptance, self-care, mindfulness, and constructive communication are valuable tools to navigate intense emotions and build a healthier, more satisfying life.

Fitness & Finance: The Correlation Between a Healthy Life and a Wealthy Life

The wealthy and super-wealthy are not always the overweight people we expect them to be, sitting around eating gold-plated burgers, as movies and popular imagination portray them to be.

In fact, rather than just a link between fitness and money, several of them credit exercise and a healthy lifestyle as a primary factor for their success. Which, may even explain why I am actually broke…

Key Takeaways:

  • The allure of quick fixes often leads to short-term progress but fails to sustain long-term goals in both health and wealth.
  • Balancing immediate gratification with strategic, long-term planning is crucial for achieving sustainable results in both fitness and finance.
  • Understanding the concept of opportunity cost can help individuals make informed decisions that align with their long-term goals.
  • Cultivating discipline, self-control, and mindfulness in health can translate into better financial management and wealth-building strategies.

The Illusion of Quick Fixes: A Comparative Perspective on Health and Finances

We have seen the advertisements that promote a new pill, diet, or product that promises to help you lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. It seems too good to be true; but, at the same time you wonder if it is worth a try. When we fall for these scams, we are choosing short term progress over long term fitness. The shortcut may lower the number on the scale initially, but this will not be sustainable change. Eventually, the change stagnates and may even revert you to your previous state. Although it can seem daunting and complex, there is no secret to staying healthy. So why do so many people struggle in this area of their lives? The challenges people have with being healthy are the same problems they face with managing their finances. Those who seek to cut corners may find themselves satisfied with their finances in the short run, but ultimately will fail to build wealth that can grow and support them throughout their lives.


Quick-fix weight loss products often provide temporary results but fail to sustain long-term fitness goals. The allure of rapid change should be approached with caution, recognizing the importance of sustainable lifestyle changes. This parallel is also seen in financial shortcuts that may offer short-term satisfaction but hinder long-term wealth growth.

Balancing Immediate Gratification with Long-Term Goals: The Importance of Strategic Planning

With immediate gratification becoming more and more prevalent in society, it is important we understand which areas of our lives deserve more attention. Today we can do everything from our smartphones: read a book, watch tv, order food – all can be done with a click of a button on a single device. It is only natural that we would want to make all areas of our lives this convenient, which is why pills and diets sell. Immediate gratification techniques make us feel good in the moment, but some areas of our lives require more attention and effort. With something as important as your finances, it is a bad idea to rely on a quick fix. Instead, our finances should be given attention and time in order to be viewed strategically. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” a perfect phrase to describe building wealth and creating a fit lifestyle. A long-term plan will guarantee more success when compared to a short-sighted opportunity.

Pro Tip

In a society driven by instant gratification, it’s crucial to distinguish between convenient solutions and those that require long-term dedication. Just as financial planning demands strategic attention, achieving fitness goals necessitates perseverance and a balanced approach. Embracing the concept of a marathon, not a sprint, is vital for both wealth building and a healthy lifestyle.

Weighing the Costs: The Consequences of Immediate Satisfaction in Health and Finances

Once you have a plan in place, it is time to put it into action. In any area of our lives (whether that be fitness or finance), our choices are weighed with an opportunity cost. What are we losing and gaining? If we decide to eat that extra slice of pizza, we are gaining 5 minutes of satisfaction, but we are giving up the progress we are trying to make to be healthier.

Pro Tip

Every decision comes with a trade-off, whether it’s indulging in momentary pleasures or prioritizing long-term well-being. Recognizing the opportunity cost in health and finance empowers individuals to make mindful choices that align with their broader goals. Consider the implications of immediate satisfaction on your journey to a healthier and wealthier future.

Choosing Sacrifice for Future Gain: Navigating the Trade-offs in Health and Wealth

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide which opportunity cost weighs more. Do you value the 5 minutes of feeling happy and full more than your long-term goal to feel and look healthier? For many the choice is clear, but the discipline is hard. This same concept applies to our everyday finances. For the choices we make we have given up something in return. In order to build your wealth, you may have to give up eating out so frequently or buying that new car. In terms of opportunity cost we need to give up immediate gratification in order to achieve sustainable wealth.


The pursuit of immediate satisfaction can jeopardize long-term goals, both in health and wealth. Making sacrifices, whether in dietary choices or financial decisions, is necessary to achieve sustainable growth. Individuals must evaluate the trade-offs and exercise discipline to avoid short-term temptations that may hinder their long-term progress and success.

Cultivating Discipline for Long-Term Success: The Interconnected Path of Health and Financial Wellness

So how can you practice financial discipline and long-term thinking? A not so obvious way to achieve your financial goals is by staying healthy. People who are healthy have the skills they need to practice more discipline in their lives. They need the self-control to say no to that extra slice of pizza, and they need time management skills to find time to exercise during their day. The skills that healthy people use everyday are the same skills that help people grow wealth. This is why many times the two go hand in hand. By developing healthy habits, you are training your mind to think long term, and you are practicing many skills like discipline, focus, patience, and self-control. Healthy people are not tempted by immediate gratification and can view the bigger picture. Therefore, healthier people with these skills will find managing their finances and building wealth a lot easier since they are already used to being long term oriented. Being mindful of what you put into your body will translate into being mindful about how you spend your money. Losing weight the proper way will not happen overnight, and neither will building wealth, but by practicing healthy living, it will be much easier to achieve your goals, whether in finance or in fitness.

Pro Tip

Cultivating discipline and long-term thinking in both health and finances is interrelated and crucial for sustainable success. By establishing healthy habits, individuals can develop valuable skills such as self-control, focus, and patience, which are essential for managing finances and building wealth. Practicing mindfulness in health can translate into mindful financial habits, leading to holistic growth and success in both areas.

10 forms of fitness wealth

Spiritual/Inner Self

This is about inner peace and feeding yourself the personal nourishment you need. Taking 10-15 minutes a day to give gratitude to what you are thankful for. This could be church, it could be meditation, it could be whatever you want it to be. Dig deep inside.

Physical Health

Your health is the true sign of wealth. Are you feeding your with movement to make your body better? Are you exercising? Your physical will always make your mental better.


Mindset is everything…literally everything. How you approach life mentally defines your success. Are you confident in your endeavors? Personal or professional?


Are you spending enough time with your kids or your spouse? Are there any relationships that need attending too?


Are you where you want to be professionally? What is holding you back from achieving your goals? Do you hate your job? Are you working too much? Not enough?


Are you saving money? Are you investing money? Do you need to pay off debt?

Circle of Genius/Social

You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If you want to get ahead in life, spend time with people who make you better. People who push you. People who believe in you. If you have negative people surrounding you, leave them behind.


Are you having fun? Are you doing something that is out of your comfort zone?


If you’re married are you spending quality time with your spouse? If you’re single are spending time dating or spending time with your significant other? Can you spend more time with your kids?


What are you giving back to the universe? Charity work? Community work? Are you leading the people who need lead? As we said last week, I feel like this is the most valuable currency in life and will define how you are remembered.


use specific energy systems for very short-duration or high-force activities.
The rest periods between sets of resistance training can be changed to achieve
certain goals, such as strength or weight loss.


Muscle hypertrophy
is best achieved with moderate rest between sets, such as 30–90 seconds.

Pro Tip

Strength can be maximized by rest intervals between 2–5 minutes in
duration. This allows the muscles to recover enough to produce a comparable
amount of force for the next set.


Resistance training can be beneficial for weight
loss when paired with dietary modifications. In addition, it can help maintain
lean body mass during weight loss.

The bottom line

By recognizing the parallels between health and wealth, individuals can adopt a more holistic approach to their well-being. Building sustainable habits, embracing discipline, and focusing on long-term goals are key to achieving success in both fitness and financial endeavors.

Nicotine: Effects, Addictive Properties, and How to Quit

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Some of these harmful and negative effects are immediate. Find out the health effects of smoking on different parts of your body.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why is it so hard to quit? The first week you stop, your dopamine is lower than baseline because you’re not giving your body & brain the hit it’s come to expect at a certain time so you feel much worse

  • Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical present in various tobacco products, poses significant challenges to quitting smoking due to its psychoactive effects, tolerance, and physical dependence.

  • Nicotine impacts the central nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems, leading to several health issues such as increased blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, and muscular degradation.

What Is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco and vaping products. Nicotine is the main reason why it is so hard to quit smoking.

Why Is Nicotine So Addictive?

 advertisements that state it is an addictive chemical. These warnings can be found on the box or packaging of any of these products.

How to recognize nicotine addiction

Here are some signs to look for if you think you might have an addiction to nicotine:

  • You feel grumpy, anxious, or easily angered if you stop using tobacco.
  • You have trouble controlling when, where and how often you smoke.
  • You think about using tobacco (you crave a cigarette) many times a day.


Nicotine addiction is a serious condition that can have both physical and psychological effects.

Harmful Effects of Nicotine

Addictive substances are not addictive because they taste or smell good: they are addictive because they fundamentally change our brain chemistry. Nicotine addiction is no different and its properties include:

  • Psychoactive effects
  • Compulsive use
  • Quick relapse
  • Drug-reinforced behavior
  • Tolerance
  • Physical dependence

Nicotine can act as both as a stimulant and a sedative, depending on the quantity you ingest. Typically, cigarettes contain anywhere from 8 to 20 mg of nicotine – average being 14 mg. A steady smoker smokes at least a pack of cigarettes a day, so 20 cigarettes equal 280 mg. While only a fraction of that gets inhaled (around 20 mg per pack – the rest dissipates in smoke) it’s important to note that 30 -60 mg of nicotine in its liquid form is lethal for an adult. Around 10 mg is lethal to small children and even less than that to babies. In comparison, a lethal dose of cyanide for an adult is 1.5 mg per 2 pounds of weight.

Pro Tip

Understanding the mechanisms of nicotine addiction can aid in developing effective cessation strategies.

Nicotine Side Effects on Your Brain

Cigarettes are one of the fastest ways to get nicotine into your system. After an inhale, tar with nicotine deposits travels to lungs where it latches on and gets absorbed by the organism. It takes up to twenty seconds for nicotine to travel to the brain. Other delivery methods, such as chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarette systems are slower, but not by much.

When nicotine reaches the brain it attaches to neural receptors usually reserved for acetylcholine. This begins a series of chain reactions in the body. First, it starts to stimulate the adrenal glands which start releasing large amounts of adrenaline into the system. This ‘flight or fight’ hormone elevates the heart rate and breathing. As the heart rate goes up so does the blood pressure and this means that nicotine is also partly to blame for numerous vascular diseases.

That rush of adrenaline also signals the body to dump sugars into the system –under normal circumstances that sugar would be useful for either the fight or the flight response. In this case, it stays in the bloodstream, accumulating and since nicotine suppresses insulin release this means that smokers regularly have elevated blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is one of the reasons why smokers tend not to feel hungry after a cigarette, regardless of how long it was since their last meal.

Nicotine is also responsible for dopamine floods that occur after smoking or chewing tobacco. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain and smoking there for gives smokers the same sensation you would get when eating something you really like or making love. This is where the craving part of the addiction comes into play. As nicotine-caused dopamine levels begin to stabilize, smokers get an overwhelming urge for another cigarette – essentially, another hit of nicotine. And that is how this vicious circle transforms into a snake biting its own tail.

Nicotine Side Effects on All Systems in the Body

Nicotine has adverse effects on every bodily system. Some of these develop over time but some are present with every dose of nicotine you take.

Nicotine Effects: Central Nervous System

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Abnormal sleep disturbances
  • Blood-flow risk
  • Headache

Nicotine Effects: Cardiovascular System

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Aortic enlargement and dissection
  • Increased clotting
  • Heart rate fluctuation
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmias

Nicotine Effects: Respiratory System

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Bronchospasm
  • Cancer

Nicotine Effects: Muscular System

  • Spinal disc degeneration
  • Joint pain
  • Tremors

Nicotine Effects: Gastrointestinal System

  • Peptic ulcer
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Dyspepsia
  • Cancer


Ignoring the adverse effects of nicotine on the body can lead to irreversible damage to multiple organ systems.

Smoking Lowers Your Testosterone Level

Testosterone level is linked to the muscle building. Muscle cells have receptors for testosterone called androgen receptors. When testosterone binds to the receptors, muscle fibres are maintained. Without testosterone, maintenance stops and muscle is degraded.

Another risk of smoking cigarettes is that it can damage the testosterone-producing cells within the body. With decreasing testosterone level, the muscles start to turn to fat, particularly in unwanted zones like chest and stomach. According to a study, low testosterone is replaced by a hormone called estrogen that is linked to increased belly fat or where you least want it.


Smoking can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to undesirable changes in body composition.

Smoking Raises Cortisol

Smoking is responsible for an increase in the level of a stress hormone called cortisol, which decreases the production of testosterone. It also reduces protein synthesis, an important requirement for muscle growth. In smokers, there is an increased level of myostatin, a hormone that inhibits muscle growth reduces the strength of the muscles and prevents the toning of muscles.

Smoking Makes You Insulin Resistant

Smoking can cause insulin resistance, which can hugely impact your muscle-building goals. Insulin is a protein cum hormone, released after consuming carb-rich foods and works as a signal for the muscles to absorb glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose releases after consuming meals and produces ATP energy cells for the body. Whereas when you become insulin resistant, the muscles refuse to respond to the signal to absorb glucose from the blood and your energy levels decrease due to overload of glucose in the blood. 

It makes you feel tired and prevents you from performing to the optimum level. Insulin resistance hampers the storage of glycogen. Glycogen is a longer chain version of glucose and the body’s energy storage mechanism. Less glycogen means that your workout intensity will be lower than normal. Insulin resistance also affects the nutrient absorption of the body and increases fat deposit, especially belly, a complete ‘no’ for the muscle builder.

How To Quit Smoking?

Quitting smoking can be a bit difficult due to its psychological and physical affect. The nicotine offers a momentary and temporary high. Same smoking quitting method doesn’t work for every individual.

It is important to recognise the fact that it is a kind of addiction and requires help to get over it. When trying to quit smoking you not try to wean away from the psychological and physical high provided by the cigarette, but unconsciously move out from the circle of friends and co-workers with whom you enjoy your smoke, which can be difficult.

In fact, quitting smoking is stressful, which is why it is very important to prepare yourself for that stressful period of quitting by following the below-mentioned things.

  • Opt for therapies like laser and acupuncture.
  • Talk with a friend that can understand your quitting journey and support you. It actually becomes easier if you have a partner who is also trying to quit smoking.
  • A key part of quitting is to manage cravings that can make your quitting program successful. Find ways to divert your attention when the craving strikes.
  • Try nicotine replacement therapy as it works for many people and is worth trying.

If you want to know how much smoking is too much? Just forget that as to achieve your bodybuilding goals you have to say bye to smoking.

Don’t lose hope when trying to quit. Always remember quitting will help your lungs and overall health that will help you in gaining muscle. So, keep trying!

Pro Tip

Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise can help manage insulin resistance caused by smoking

The bottom line

Understanding the addictive nature and harmful effects of nicotine is crucial in realizing the importance of quitting smoking for overall health and well-being. Overcoming nicotine addiction requires perseverance, support, and a combination of effective strategies, ultimately leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

How Long Should You Rest

The optimal time for muscle recovery can vary, and it’s difficult to know when to rest.The problem with resting too little or not at all is that your muscles won’t have time to recover and grow. You’ll be more prone to injury, which can lead to months of inactivity and lost progress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Different energy systems fuel muscles during exercise, and understanding their roles can help tailor rest periods for specific training goals.

  • For muscle hypertrophy, optimal rest intervals between sets range from 30 to 90 seconds, promoting the best conditions for muscle growth.

  • Maximizing strength and power requires rest intervals between 2 to 5 minutes, enabling muscles to recover sufficiently for high force production.

  • While resistance training contributes to weight loss, its impact is maximized when combined with a balanced diet, and the duration of rest intervals between sets plays a minimal role.

Rest Between Sets: What’s Right for Me?

Resistance training is used for a variety of purposes. The main reason is to increase strength. However, some people want to focus on muscular endurance, weight loss, or form, among other goals.

When you’re focused on an objective, it’s easy to pay the most attention to the work you’re doing in each set. However, to achieve these objectives, you should also keep in mind the rest between sets of exercise.

How muscles are fueled

Muscles are fueled by three energy systems: the phosphagen system, the anaerobic (glycolytic) system, and the aerobic (oxidative) system.

As your muscles work, these systems take turns leading the way to synthesize adenosine triphosphate, providing energy to your muscle cells.

The first two systems are shorter duration systems, meaning they provide high force production for a short amount of time.

The phosphagen system provides muscle energy for up to 30 seconds of muscle work and is involved in high force production activities. After that, the glycolytic system provides energy for work from 30 seconds–3 minutes and is involved in moderate force production activities.

These two systems are involved in most resistance training activities focused on strength and muscle hypertrophy.

As exercise duration exceeds 3 minutes, the aerobic system takes over and is involved in lower force production activities.

These energy systems are constantly at work during all types of activity to supply your body with the energy it needs to perform activities.

For example, if a person is lifting heavy weights, they will produce a greater force for a short period of time, but they will need a period to recover to be able to repeat the same activity with the same force.

Nevertheless, the amount of time you rest to recover enough to repeat the same performance can be adjusted to help meet specific training goals.

Whether your goal is to increase muscle size or increase endurance, rest periods between sets can be tailored to achieve each type of goal.


use specific energy systems for very short-duration or high-force activities.
The rest periods between sets of resistance training can be changed to achieve
certain goals, such as strength or weight loss.

How long should I rest between sets if my goal is muscle mass?

In order for muscle fibers to grow in size, they need to be stimulated to increase the cross-sectional area of the muscle. This is called muscular hypertrophy.

Typically for bodybuilders, the increase in muscle size is the most important factor, compared with strength, endurance, and fat loss. Bodybuilders are judged in their sport based on size, muscle symmetry, and definition.

Even if you aren’t a bodybuilder, many fitness enthusiasts want to enhance muscle size to achieve a certain look.

If your goal is aesthetic, you’d benefit from hypertrophy training. This type of training typically leads to higher lactic acid and blood lactate levels, which are associated with an increase in muscle work performed.

In hypertrophy training, the objective is to overload the muscles and cause temporary trauma to the muscle fibers so that they are stimulated to grow and increase their cross-sectional area.

Typically, there is very little difference between the loads handled for those wanting to induce hypertrophy and those wishing to solely increase strength. These loads typically range from 50%–90% of your 1 rep max.

However, the biggest difference in training for muscle size versus strength is in rest between sets. Studies have found that to induce muscle hypertrophy, optimal rest intervals are between 30–90 seconds.


Muscle hypertrophy
is best achieved with moderate rest between sets, such as 30–90 seconds.

How long should I rest between sets if my goal is maximizing strength and power?

Muscular strength is the ability to produce force to move a weight.

In weightlifting, muscular strength is often tested via a 1 rep max, which involves successfully moving the maximal amount of weight through the entire range of motion for 1 rep.

Powerlifting uses three exercises to determine the strongest person. They include the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift. Powerlifters have three attempts for each exercise to move the maximal amount of weight they can.

When building strength, there is less emphasis on muscle size and more emphasis on maximal force production, or power. Adequate rest between sets helps to maintain a high level of force production for the next set.

Thus, typical rest periods for increasing strength are between 2–5 minutes, which research shows to be optimal for strength development. However, researchers note that this may vary depending on age, fiber type, and genetics

Pro Tip

Strength can be maximized by rest intervals between 2–5 minutes in
duration. This allows the muscles to recover enough to produce a comparable
amount of force for the next set.

How long should I rest between sets if my goal is weight loss?

Resistance training can positively affect body composition. However, it’s important to remember that pairing a nutritious diet with resistance training is most important for weight loss. This ensures that calories consumed are less than calories expended.

Both strength and hypertrophy training have been shown to aid caloric expenditure; the rest interval duration isn’t as big a factor.

HIIT training has also been shown to positively affect weight loss when compared with moderate intensity continuous training. The two had similar effects on whole body fat loss and waist circumference. But HIIT training took about 40% less time to complete .

Resistance training and HIIT resistance and cardiovascular training have shown similar positive benefits on weight loss when paired with diet modifications. The rest between sets doesn’t have as much influence as being consistent and making lifestyle changes over time.


Resistance training can be beneficial for weight
loss when paired with dietary modifications. In addition, it can help maintain
lean body mass during weight loss.

How often should you take a rest day?

There are many steps to creating a fitness plan. First, you identify your goals. Then, you select the types of exercise you will do. And finally, you choose a workout schedule to help you reach those goals. Deciding how many rest days a week you need is an essential part of that plan.

Most people should aim for 1 to 3 rest days per week. But the number of rest days you take –– and what you do on those days –– depends on several factors, including:

  • Your current fitness level
  • The types of exercises you’re doing
  • Your workout intensity and duration

Why is it important to take a rest day from working out?

Rest is a necessary component of a successful training plan. Here are some of the top benefits of rest days.

Supports exercise recovery

It is fairly easy to see why taking a rest day can reduce the risk of injury and overtraining. But you might not realize that rest helps your body recover and adapt to your training.

New or strenuous exercise creates tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Adequate rest allows your body to repair and rebuild those muscle fibers after your workout. The repair process causes cellular changes that help your muscles adapt and grow. It also helps restore energy before your next workout.

Helps you reach fitness goals

Time off gives your body and mind a break from strenuous training. You can use rest days to relax, clear your head, and focus on other forms of self-care. That could mean doing a hobby, getting a massage, or spending time with loved ones.

That way, you’ll be mentally prepared for your next sweat session. If you have more focus, energy, and strength to devote to your workouts, you can perform optimally and stay on track to reach your fitness goals.

The bottom line

When working toward your strength goals, force production and training volume are important, but so is rest.Rest between sets should allow enough recovery to reintroduce the stimulus while maintaining good form. Depending on your goals, you can shorten or lengthen your rest intervals for the best result.

Your workout schedule may not always go as planned. So listen to your body and take a rest day when you feel depleted or have unusual aches and pains. Doing so can help you avoid injuries or other training delays in the long run.