Imagine you do the hardest workout of your life and wake up the next day NOT SORE.
Is it hard to imagine? You are not alone.
Cannabis topicals and sublingual oils are being touted as an amazing recovery tool after activity. It is difficult to understand how cannabis can aid in recovery when the stereotypical image of a cannabis user is someone lazing on the couch eating munchies. With legalization in many places, science is getting involved in the research of this plant and we are learning more about the health benefits.
We asked our friend and fitness advocate, Simon Creasey (@everfitstrategies) to talk about how he achieves balance and maximizes recovery in his routine using cannabis. A passion and dedication to fitness has brought Simon to the top of the game, winning the 2018 Alberta Body Building Association (ABBA) Men's Classic Bodybuilding Champion. He has also dedicated many years to the study of Ninjutsu, earning a black belt in the discipline. If you are in and around the Calgary area, Simon is bringing his knowledge and passion to Big Sky Fitness as a Group Fitness Instructor, Fitness Kickboxing, and Personal Training.
Balancing Activity with Relaxation & Recovery
By Simon Creasey @everfitstrategies
When it comes to health and fitness one of the most important things is balance. Balanced meals; balanced workouts; balancing work, family, and fitness; heck, you may even hop on a board or ball to work on your, you guessed it: balance! With that, physical activity should be complimented by recovery and relaxation. Now, the average person usually has plenty of recovery time between bouts of intense physical activity. For this reason, I generally tell people to get physical activity in whenever possible. However, the more elite athlete will actually need to schedule recovery or rest days. But simply taking time between exercises isn’t always enough; rather the time needed may be too much if the rest period isn’t effective. Without proper recovery, maintaining consistency in physical activity can be very difficult.
Just as we need to fuel our bodies appropriately for the demands of exercise, we need to effectively recuperate from the exertion. Sleep is one of the most underrated components of recovery, despite it being one of almost everyone’s favourite pass-times. Why is sleep so important? Well, when we sleep our bodies work in power mode to repair damaged tissue, and to grow muscle. Achieving R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) sleep is vital for the repair process. As we sleep, our bodies go through sleep cycles which produce different levels of hormones. The human growth hormone (HGH) peaks when we reach our deepest sleep in each sleep cycle, and as is indicated by the name, HGH stimulates growth as well as cell reproduction and regeneration. Because of this, adequate sleep is an absolute necessity when trying to recover from intense physical activity.
Inflammation can greatly hinder progress in training as well as increase the likelihood of injury. Unfortunately, it is also an unavoidable consequence of training. Many athletes have taken to ice bathes as an incredibly effective means to relieve swelling. However, without sugar coating it, that sh!t is just crazy. Luckily for the rest of us, we can help combat exercise-induced inflammation through proper dietary habits as well. If we consider that many athletes and gym-goers take supplements for their time in the gym, it would make sense that some supplementation would be ideal for the recovery periods. Protein is the obvious go-to for post-workout supplementation, and rightfully so. Depending on your goals and training program, it is likely that carbohydrates (in powder form either alone, or within a mass gainer protein) are also a part of the recovery supplements. After training our muscles are starving for nutrients, so it is the best time to replenish. But merely replenishing the energy stores (carbohydrates) or providing the building blocks for growth (proteins) may not be enough.
Through my years of martial arts and weight training I have encountered countless products and followed all sorts of routines for recovery. But in recent years I have been lucky enough to find a wonderful regimen to compliment my intense training routine. Contrary to popular belief, many cannabis products can be used to compliment intense physical training. Despite the stigma toward cannabis products, I have found that they have become a necessary part of my training. Currently I use three products regularly to compliment my workout routines; the main purpose of which are to provide focus in my training, produce relief from aching muscles and inflammation, and to improve the quality of my sleep.
What I use, and how I use it:
- CBD tincture before my workouts to help me focus on my training and to reduce inflammation. I also use this to help manage stress. Stress can cause increases in cortisol which can raise a multitude of health concerns including weight gain and lower immune function.
- Topical cannabis oil with both THC and CBD applied as needed on aching muscles. (Basically everywhere)
- THC tincture before bed to aid my sleep and reduce inflammation. This one is incredibly important for me, as I tend to have difficulty getting a full night’s sleep. When trying to gain lean mass, inadequate sleep can often be the largest hurdle to overcome. This also helps to reduce stress levels.
Cannabis for Fitness
"The main purpose of which are to provide focus in my training, produce relief from aching muscles and inflammation, and to improve the quality of my sleep."
There are other applications for these products such as relief from anxiety, improved appetite (yes, some people need help to eat all of the necessary calories for their goals), and more. I would certainly recommend anyone learn more about the products available in order to make educated decisions on what to take and why. With so many medicinal and therapeutic applications for cannabis products there is likely to be one that can help you as well.