As summer creeps in, and with winter a distant memory, temperatures become warmer and the layers of clothing we tend to put on during the cold months are shed. And invariably, some of us are left lamenting the fact that we should have been a little more prudent in our health choices — especially for those of us who may be overweight or obese.
Warmer months mean it’s time to break out the swimsuits. That means it’s also time to stop messing around with nutrition, getting fit, and boosting cardio levels. Sure, it’s a tall task enough for the average joe to complete — but the handicap is raised even higher for those of us who take a load off and relaxing by getting just the right amount of high.
With all the myths and the broscience out there about how marijuana affects your athletic performance at the gym and therefore your workouts, what is actually fact and what is actually fiction?
Is it really possible to smoke weed and get fit simultaneously?
Well, that’s what we’re here to answer. We’ve gone through the studies, talked to trainers and athletes, and we’ve condensed the most helpful advice we received into this primer for avid marijuana smokers who want to get fit while getting lit. Here we go!
Be disciplined and exercise as much as you possibly can.
Discipline is what makes great athletes great athletes – not motivation. Therefore, it’s important to maintain positive, healthy habits and a tremendous amount of willpower to negate the bad effects that smoking does to your health.
Work out before you blaze.
As anyone who’s smoked weed before would agree to, it’s always better and less of a drag to finish your workout and pay yourself first by exercising before indulging.
That’s because your workout performance may fall down a notch in terms of intensity, because the effects of cannabis consumption may interfere with your motivation. This means less efficient and longer workouts for some.
Exercising before smoking creates a calorie deficit — something you’ll want if you get the munchies after your workout. That presents an opportunity to consume healthy amounts of protein and make up for the said deficit. Consider switching out the pizza and the Doritos with healthier options. Kale chips, healthy sources of protein paired with a salad is infinitely better than getting McDonald’s.
It’s also worthwhile to note that smoking impedes blood flow and circulation. This means fewer crucial nutrients and amino acids flowing into muscles when recovering from a workout — and anyone who’s lifted for any sustained period of time will agree is bad for gains.
Smokers were found to have had a 25% reduction in power, so refrain from powerlifting under the influence of the sticky green trees. Accidents and injuries are also more likely when stoned as your sensory mechanisms go into overdrive. Pick your lifts wisely and try to have someone spot for you.
Don’t ditch the cardio.
A reckoning is in order. There’s no two ways about it: regular smokers have compromised cardiovascular function. So you can’t just skip the cardio. In fact, you need as much of it as you possibly can. Don’t delude yourself and just get on the treadmill already.
Be prepared for an entirely new kind of “runner’s high”.
Anybody who has done some running in the past will have heard of runner’s high: an effect runners feel when our bodies produce endocannabinoids. Runner’s high is produced when the latter (a form of THC) combines with endorphins, whose activity triggers dopamine production, producing that euphoric “high” we associate during exercise.
The thing is, for more experienced smokers, it’s not the only THC that gets released into the bloodstream when exercising. Exercise, seems to boost THC levels in chronic users. THC gets stored in fat cells, and exercise burns fat. The THC is then re-released into the bloodstream, resulting in a fortified “high”.
Marijuana consumption might help you stay focused when exercising.
Reports from long distance runners who have smoked pot seem to suggest that smoking a little weed before cardio helps you focused and in the zone, reducing the fixation on the ennui of running. This might result in improved performance. Some people find it hard to stay in the zone. For some people who take weed to focus, it may help them in that way.
Additionally, if you choose to smoke weed before exercising, try doing more low-intensity activities than opting for a high-intensity interval training workout. It’s probably not a good idea to do HIIT while high, so save that for when you’re sober.
Get some yoga into your life.
Many pot smokers take to yoga like ducks to water. Stoners are more adept in finding balance across body, mind, and spirit. Moreover, weed helps reduce the stiffness that non-smokers feel whenever they stretch — that’s not to mention the benefits of yoga breathing in boosting your lung strength and capacity.
Do some light plyometric exercises.
Apart from the respiratory limits that marijuana consumption saddles its users with, it may also impair motor coordination, mess with the heart’s natural rate, and reduces the efficiency of the nervous system. To offset such effects, particularly those of the latter, light plyo exercises like jumping rope will do your body a whole lot of good.
Maybe lay off the weed a little bit.
Cannabis use leads to diminished reaction time, stability, and motor skills, resulting in a drop in performance levels. Moreover, chronic use over time may lead to lower testosterone levels. Both of these factors may lead to you not getting the most out of your workout sessions.
Besides, going on a tolerance break might do you a world of good, especially if you find yourself needing to smoke too much weed just to get high.
Exercise to enjoy a stronger high.
However, studies show that doing regular exercise may help you enjoy your smokeout sessions more. A study in Australia found that exercising regularly can help increase the effects of marijuana consumption leading to a stronger buzz. The researchers found an incremental increase in THC concentrations in the blood (around 15% higher) after they have already finished their workouts. That’s all the more reason you should pay yourself first and exercise the first thing in the morning, tell you that much!