“Let’s take a hit and go for a run!”
Says no one ever. Not especially after smoking some of this:
Gelato OG / Source: Greenrush.com
We are more likely to sink into our couch with a bag of chips rather than going for a sweaty workout.
But a recent study published on Frontiers in Public Health has shown that, based on 600 adult cannabis users in the legal states (California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon & Washington), 81.7% of the participants endorse mixing cannabis consumption into their exercise routines.
As legalization continues to spread across the US, this number is only going to increase as more people are going to incorporate cannabis into their daily lives.
Despite the lack of concrete scientific proof that cannabis consumption can enhance your workout performance, why do top athletes do it and some even openly advocate for it too?
UFC Champion Nate Diaz / Source: Yahoo! Sports
Nate Diaz is a professional MMA fighter and is the current UFC Welterweight Champion. He and his brother, Nick, are well-known cannabis advocates and have their line of CBD products (Diaz Bros CBD Co.). In a recent interview with Simon Samano at The Blue Corner, this is what Nate has to say:
“..as an athlete, I think you should be smoking some marijuana, if you choose to do something to help you get through the day, instead of sticking a bunch of steroids in your ass and taking a bunch of faulty supplements.”
Famous cannabis enthusiast Tommy Chong once proclaimed that the reason why NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could play eight years past his prime, was because “all he ever does was smoke pot. He never drank; he never did other drugs.”
On a personal note, I can relate to these statements. I have been an amateur soccer player for almost 15 years now. Even though amateur, there are usually two training sessions and one 90-min game per week.
Two years ago, off a friend’s friendly advice, I decided to try and include cannabis consumption into my soccer routines…
I lied. It wasn’t a piece of friendly advice. It was a joint that was passed around the dressing room 10 minutes before a friendly game.
It was more like peer pressure.
But it kickstarted a habit that would go on to benefit and change the way I condition my body for contact sports like soccer. While I am neither a scientist nor a chemist, what I am about to share are drawn from personal experiences, and have helped me effectively mix cannabis into my exercise schedules.
Do also note that different people have a different appreciation for the effects of the plant.
Key benefits I’ve noticed:
- Incredible focus. This is extremely useful especially during training sessions when you are trying to refine a skillset, or when there is a lot of repetitive gym work. If done correctly – the right kind of strain and the right amount – a bit of cannabis in your system keeps you focused when it matters.
- Everything feels… more bearable. Recall the times you are on your last running lap, or your final set of the workout when your muscles are sore and almost cramping up.
Consuming cannabis before your workout does not increase your stamina per se, but the cannabinoids in the plant encourage serotonin production (the chemical in your body responsible for emotions like happiness and excitement), and that puts you in a better mood, thus a slightly higher pain threshold for vigorous activities.
- Increased appetite = more fuel for energy!
- More effective recovery. This is pretty much a no brainer; cannabis helps relax your sore muscles and reduces inflammation.
Timing is important
That joint from 2 years ago wasn’t all merry. I was too baked to get ahold of myself. I ended up with a sprained ankle during the friendly game. Moral of the story: Time your hit before your workout!
Pre-workout: Give it 30-45 minutes for your hit to kick in before starting your workout. This allows your elevated heart rate from the effects of cannabis to settle down first before you exert and increase blood-pumping activities.
Hydration starts from the night before
Regardless of the sport, you wish to participate in, it is always essential to pack your body with plenty of fluids beforehand. Hydrating the night before is a good habit to maintain as it prevents you from drying out too quickly the next day.
Trust me, you do not want to be panting and catching your breath with a case of cottonmouth!
Everything in moderation
Most importantly, whether you decide to involve cannabis into your routines or not, an important rule of thumb is to start small and always plan. We all know it is a very fine line between making it out of the house, and slumping into your comfortable sofa.
There you have it, get baked & get fit!
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This article is written by Ashton Leow, a cannabis and soccer enthusiast