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Safe Exercise Programs For The Recent Non-Smoker. Yes, It's OK!

Updated on October 26, 2014

You Just Stopped Smoking, What are You Going to Do Now?

I'm going to Disneyland!!!

OR, it's time to reclaim your lung capacity!

That's right folks. You've compromised this tender tissue too long. The good news is the body has wonderful regenerative properties that will help you recuperate, repair, and rehabilitate. In addition, exercise will do wonderful things to your brain chemistry, which will be all out of whack in the recent absence of nicotine.

I am going to show you a few books worth reading and investigating that will help you in your quest to not only kick the habit but kick the habit for good and start breathing again.

The most important thing to realize is that you can stop smoking when you really decide to and that it's OK to get help.  Don't wing it.  Well, if you want to fail more often then you succeed, then by all means, wing it.  But if you're ready for real permanent change, get help!

Here's some help!


My Book: How to Stop Smoking With Killing Anyone

How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone, is a book I wrote that is designed to give you the tools you need to stop smoking cold turkey and make it work. Meaning stay stopped once you get there.

When you decide to invest in this book, you will not have to spend money on gum, patches, injections, pills, or whatever. There is a safe, natural, alternative, old-school way to quit smoking and it's in my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone.

In the Appendix, you will find "The Smoker's Workout: Learning to use your lungs again ." This workout is customizable to your current fitness level AND progressive. Meaning there will be a slow, constant and consistent improvement from you as you follow this program. It is also quick. It's not some hour long nightmare workout routine that will leave you in a pile of protoplasm gasping for air and begging for your mommy. You will be able to ease into the session and your training.

In addition, you will eventually have to progress to bigger and better levels of intensity which will leave you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Being an effective non-smoker means not only recognizing that there's a problem but having the wherewithal and fortitude to grind out of the nicotine haze and clear the air. This progressive exercise routine will allow you to build not only strength of body, but progressively build strength of mind and spirit.

Pace: The 12-Minute Fitness Revolution

PACE: The 12-Minute Fitness Solution

I first heard of this book in the magazine Amazing Wellness.  In an article entitled Just Breathe by Vere Tweed she talks about the book and the author, Al Sears, MD.  Dr. Sears is an integrative physician and fitness trainer in Florida. 

The article's subtitle is Increasing Your Lung Capacity Can Help You Live Longer .  Needless to say as the author of a book on how to stop smoking and a blogger on the same topic, my ears perked up like a dog when I saw this article.  I then made a Tim Allen style grunt when I read this:

"The bigger your lungs are, the healthier you will be and the longer you will live...  Lung size is a surprisingly powerful predictor of all-cause mortality."

Clearly, you can see how this applies to the soon to be or recent non-smoker.

One 29 year study claims that poor lung capacity (are you sitting down?) more than doubled the risk of death from any cause among men and nearly doubled the risk with the ladies.

Holy Smoke!

"Your lung volume declines with age." is also another quote from Sears in the article.  Oh great, I thought, and now I went ahead and exacerbated the problem by smoking cigarettes for about 15 years.

And to add insult to injury the article goes on to say the Sears found that the commonly recommended moderate pace aerobic exercise doesn't do jack for increasing lung capacity.  This goes for everybody, up to and including the marathon runners out there.

Fortunately for smokers and non-smokers alike, there is a solution to the problem. [Insert big sigh of relief.  Note: the size of the sigh may differ based on how you've been currently using your lungs.]

Sears says you need to put your lungs to a challenge.  He tells us that the benefits will be a stronger heart, leaner body and higher energy levels. 

PACE is the name of the exercise method he designed to help you put your lungs to a challenge.  PACE stands for Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion .  There's that word progressive again...  looks like I was on to something!  Actually, progressive training is nothing new.  Look up the ancient Greek wrestler and warrior Milo of Croton.

PACE, similar to H.I.I.T. or High Intensity Interval Training, consists of short bursts of intense exercise mixed with rest periods.  The difference between PACE and H.I.I.T. is that PACE is more appropriate for people who are not already in shape.  H.I.I.T. can be a real smoker, so what PACE does is custom tailors your unique fitness level (think recent ex-heavy smoker) with the right amount of intensity.  From there it will build on the foundation.

The goal of PACE is to get you huffing and puffing.  There needs to be an oxygen deficit.  That means that for a moment or two your body will be needing more oxygen then your lungs can take in.  When that happens, the body is not to happy about that so it will respond by adapting to the new stress by building a better, bigger lung.

If you're really out of shape, once a week is a good place to start but you will soon find yourself adapting quickly and before you know it, you'll find yourself ready for some serious running.  Think sprinting on the beach at low tide...

I don't know about you but PACE looks like another good way to start the repair process after kicking the habit!

The 4-Hour Body

The newest ramblings from the self professed minimalist and life hacker Timothy Ferriss. Also the Author of The 4-Hour Workweek .

Early in the book Tim gives some pretty interesting advice saying to read the book based on your goals. Meaning, what exactly are you to accomplish and focus on that. There's no need to read up on the Bodybuilding chapters if you're not looking to pack on a bunch of muscle.

So for the recent ex-smoke who picks up a copy of The 4-Hour Body I suggest the following:

Read from the book in this order:

  • START HERE: Thinner, Bigger, Faster, Stronger? How to use this book. This is the introduction and set up. The foundation. Read this first.
  • FUNDAMENTALS - FIRST AND FOREMOST. In this section, Tim lines up the thought process and philosophy behind minimalism and the rules that have changed the rules. Recognize that mostly everything popular very well might not be in your best interest.
  • GROUND ZERO - GETTING STARTED AND SWARAJ. Swaraj means "self-rule." Smokers and ex-smokers, addicts of the world unite! 'Nuff said.
  • The Slow-Carb Diet. Worried about weight gain after you finally stop. This will take car of that. My book also has a diet plan to follow that is very similar to the Slow Carb diet, but not as restrictive as this one. This one might be better after you've finished The Stop Smoking Diet from How to Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone

Now from here you have a few choices. There is a section for Adding Muscle, Perfecting Sleep, Reversing Injuries and Pre-Hab. You'll also find chapters on Running, Swimming and Strength training.

That being said, I'd invite you to look at the following chapters/section in the following order:

  • Pre-Hab: Injury-Proofing the Body
  • Building the Perfect Posterior (or losing 100+ pounds)

From there you can take a look at the challenge of Ultra Endurance I: Going from 5k to 50k in 12 weeks. I know, I know, you're not even at half a "k" but look at the opening quote from William James and then make your decision.

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction."

Now tell me that doesn't apply to stopping smoking, I dare you!

What I like so much about this book is that it has so many paths to take and directions to go. It really is a road map to guide you along your journey to better health and fitness.

Interesting how...

...Those last two books have nothing to do with quitting smoking. What you're focussing on now is repair. So if you don't have the gumption to stop, read my book first. If you've already stopped, still read my book first to reinforce why you've stopped and cement in some permanent change into your non-smoking being.

From there it's up to you. But by all means do something that will get you active and breathing again. Take back not only your lung capacity but imrove on it, build on it, and get in shape. When you take on a fitness lifestyle, you will find so many other aspects and areas of your life coming into place. The whole thing is serendipidous. Really it is.

So based on your current fitness level and experience...

A few other books or journeys you might want to look at are:

The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades
The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades
Kettlebells and smoking cigarettes do not mix. If you're looking for huffing and puffing without tobacco AND you're in decent shape already, try Kettlebells. You'll thank me and hate me all at the same time.

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