Can you get high and stay fit? Better yet, can you stay high and get fit? The answer to both of these is yes. Cannabis not only helps the body and mind relax after a tough workout but it also aids in recovery of muscle tissue allowing the body to become stronger and faster while conserving energy during recovery. Science is just starting to catch onto cannabis and present some findings that make enough sense to report to the fitness community. One newer consensus from science is that our bodies contain an endocannabinoid system responsible for many unique jobs just as out nervous system and circulatory system are responsible for regulating breathing and heart rate. To change someone’s mind about the health benefits of the cannabis plant they really need to see results from someone who is viewed as the ideal picture of health. I’m talking about active cannabis users who monitor their bodies with precision. Matt and Olivia are breaking down barriers and generalizations about what is “healthy” for the human body. We brought in them in to talk about the benefits of pairing cannabis with fitness!
How long have each of you been using the gym? Have you always been Active?
Matt: I’ve been consistently in the gym, living the bodybuilding lifestyle for the past 10 years. I started off slow, doing a lot of strength training for football back in high school which then transitioned into bodybuilding in my early 20s.
Olivia: Growing up I was always extremely active and played a variety of sports; however, the gym wasn’t really on my radar. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I first started down the fitness path, and after dabbling in the gym during 2014, I really became dedicated in 2015.
And what about cannabis, when did you first use it?
For the both us, we had tried cannabis years in the past, but not on a consistent basis. As of recently, it has been more consistent within the past year.
What’s your favorite cannabis product?
We both frequently use Baked Bros products as often as we need them. We hope to try out more edible products in the near future.
How much do you work out?
99% of the time we train together, usually 5-6 days a week. Our training split right now is arms, chest, legs day 1, shoulders, back, legs day 2, rest day.
What competitions or fitness awards have you won?
Matt: I’ve competed in only a few shows in the past with my best placing being 2nd. After getting burned out from so much contest prep, I decided to take a step back from competing and focus on what personal goals I had for myself in the gym. This allowed me to enjoy training so much more and train for myself, rather than a lineup of judges.
Olivia: I competed in my first shows in 2014 and received a 4th & 5th place finish. In my next two NPC shows, I also received top 5 finishes with two 2nd place finishes. After receiving a sponsorship from TMarie Suits, I was prepping for my first national show in 2018, but life had alternative plans for my IFBB pro card pursuit. Currently I have pressed pause on that chase, and have instead placed my main focus on developing my ideal physique while maintaining my optimal health.
When did you guys decide to take a public stance about cannabis?
We both were approached very recently (Summer 2018) about sharing our thoughts on THC if we were pro-cannabis, with our social media following. After hearing from other fitness sources that there could be benefits to adding cannabis into our fit lifestyle, we did a little homework and almost immediately put it to the test. Not too long after that, we both made public posts promoting the use of cannabis in the fitness industry and trying to break the negative stereotype surrounding it.
Has there been any backlash from the fitness community about cannabis?
Matt: I haven’t had any backlash so far from the fitness community, only curiosity, which makes me very optimistic that the judgmental walls that most people have regarding cannabis are slowly coming down. On the other hand, I have had backlash with some people close to me outside of the fitness community.
Olivia: The fitness community has been extremely accepting of our stance on cannabis, and I certainly haven’t received any type of backlash. I have been pleasantly surprised with the level of support since taking a public stance, and have even come to realize how many fitness individuals do consistently use cannabis.
How do you prepare for a workout?
Our daily ritual before a workout always consists of at least a meal or two. Your body needs food for fuel so that you can optimize your training in the gym. As a pre-workout, I usually do a half serving of standard pre-workout combined with a half serving of stimulant-free pump formula. It’s just enough stimulant to get me energized without going overboard and the pump is solid! This biggest part of preparation, though, is making sure I’m mentally prepared to put my body through hell. Mental focus in the gym is everything!
Does cannabis aid in muscle recovery?
There is still a lot of research that needs to be done with the effects of cannabis on fitness and health, but in my opinion, the best research that can be done is on a personal level. I’ve personally found that consistently taking a small 5mg dose of either an edible or THC syrup after a long, intense training session, usually 2-3 hours before bed, leads to an amazing level of relaxation. This has given way to a much deeper level of sleep than I had previously experienced and I feel much more refreshed and energized when I wake up. Putting my body in such a relaxed state does wonders for the recovery process! Proper nutrition + deep sleep = perfect combination for muscle recovery.
Can cannabis help build muscle?
This is a tricky question. Directly, I cannot claim that cannabis builds muscle. However, there are aspects of the use of cannabis that can lead to the building of muscle! The biggest in my opinion is the recovery aspect. To put it into perspective, being in the gym and lifting weights is catabolic, which means you’re actually breaking down muscle instead of building it. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it is necessary for the body to adapt to the stress on the muscle, recover properly, which then in-turn leads to muscle growth. Simply stated, proper muscle recovery is absolutely ESSENTIAL to building muscle. Cannabis directly assists with recovery by putting the body in a relaxed mental and physical state which allows the body to go to work on the recovery process.
What are your favorite ways to consume cannabis? Do you use cannabis before/after a workout? How do you recommend using cannabis with a fitness program?
Matt: Above all, I’m all about the edibles. The best I’ve had is Fruity Pebbles rice crispy treats. BOMB. Most of the time though I stick to Baked Bros gummi bears and peach rings. Baked Bros flavored syrups are great too, if I want a more specific dose of THC. I don’t use cannabis after every workout, only when I can feel that my body needs additional help in the recovery process. If I’m more stiff than normal or experiencing a lot of muscle fatigue and soreness, I’ll definitely add it in along with a large meal or two, packed with protein. I’d say I’m still very new into experimenting with how to optimize cannabis use with my fitness program but one thing is for sure, using cannabis for aid in the recovery process is a game-changer for me. One of my favorite stacks mainly used after a heavy leg or back workout is 5-10mg Baked Bros gummies or syrup combined with a CBD muscle rub on the targeted area. This helps my muscles completely relax and get prepared to recover while I sleep. I’m still experimenting with different CBD products to see what works best for me.
Olivia: Hands down edibles/syrup win for me! For personal reasons, I am not a fan of smoking anything, so consuming it via methods that involve my lungs I typically avoid. I feel like edibles are the better route any ways for someone using cannabis for recovery reasons, since they provide a stronger “body high” in comparison to smoking/vaping giving that “head high”. I have only used cannabis post workout, but same as Matt, I do not use it after every workout. It tends to be on leg day or back day that my body is screaming at me, so that is when I will employ the helping hand of cannabis. It definitely is a miracle worker for anyone suffering from extremely tight muscles, and helps to relax your whole body which then creates the ideal setting to do some much needed stretching. My recovery stack is very similar to Matt’s; however, sometimes our individual doses might be different. What I found works well in combo with using Baked Bros THC gummies and syrup products is some cryotherapy. The triple effect of THC, CBD and cryo has proven time and time again to be a life saver for sore/painful muscles. This especially holds true for leg day!
What would you say to the mainstream fitness community who should use cannabis in their program?
Matt: I would tell people in the fitness community that using cannabis for recovery is one option among many. It may not be for everybody, but I know it has its benefits because I have personally experienced them. I would tell everyone to do your homework with any supplement you take to make sure you’re aware of what it is intended for and the appropriate use of it.
Olivia: Whether someone is in the fitness community or general public, my advice would be the same. I simply advise people to not be close minded, do their own research, and then decide if perhaps cannabis is a route they should take for whatever their specific needs are. I will never try to persuade someone one way or another because I truly believe everyone needs to take their own path, but I will always happily provide my insight if desired.
What is something people do not understand about health and wellness that you want to share?
Matt: I believe most people overcomplicate the fitness lifestyle, especially with getting started. The absolute best way to start a fit lifestyle change is just get up and get moving. It doesn’t have to be a lot at first, maybe just a walk down the block or a short bike ride. Combine this a few days a week with simply cutting high carb and fat meals out of your diet, (junk food: pizza, burgers, donuts, candy, any fast food, etc.) and you’re golden. This sounds so simple, yet many people don’t do it because consistency is difficult. As long as you stay consistent and dedicated, you’ll see results every time!
Olivia: I believe most people overcomplicate the fitness lifestyle, especially with getting started. The absolute best way to start a fit lifestyle change is just get up and get moving. It doesn’t have to be a lot at first, maybe just a walk down the block or a short bike ride. Combine this a few days a week with simply cutting high carb and fat meals out of your diet, (junk food: pizza, burgers, donuts, candy, any fast food, etc.) and you’re golden. This sounds so simple, yet many people don’t do it because consistency is difficult. As long as you stay consistent and dedicated, you’ll see results every time!
Can we start a cannabis workout club?
Hell yeah! With how more and more people are being open about the use of cannabis and all of its benefits, it’s only a matter of time before fitness and cannabis use are combined in new, beneficial ways. We’re glad to be at the forefront of joining other fitness enthusiasts and breaking the negative stereotype of cannabis use combined with a healthy fitness lifestyle.
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