I’m a daily cannabis user, and as of March 2017, a total treadmill and gym enthusiast. I know it probably sounds antithetical, to the uninformed, to be both a daily user and gym rat, but here I am. And I’m not alone.
Anecdotally, many cannabis-friendly folks have commented that getting high to workout can help you push harder, with less injury. I would testify to that myself, except I haven’t worked out sober since college (read: until last year, I hadn’t worked out since college).
However, I can testify that I’ve learned a lot about how to use my habit not only to reward myself after the workout but as a tool to get through it in the first place. Today, I’m going to share some of those tips to help you take advantage of your high for a better workout.
This first one’s obvious, but…
This is good life advice in general, but especially true if you’re going to be smoking, vaping, or dabbing your cannabis before a workout. As you can probably guess, it is because of that dreaded dry mouth.
Having experienced it on more than one occasion (I’m not great at following my own advice), I can attest that dry mouth onsetting mid-workout is an awful, terrible distraction. I don’t know about you, but I find trying to gulp water mid cardio and between hard breaths is difficult to juggle.
There is truly a difference between just being thirsty at the gym and having dry mouth. Drink plenty of water before you get to the gym, and plenty throughout the day after. Dry mouth on the treadmill is a total buzzkill.
Hot tip! If you do start to feel like you’ve got cotton for gums but don’t want to slow down, sip and swish some water around your mouth while breathing through your nose.
Find the Right Strain
More commonly, indica strains are known for couch lock and laziness; sativas for their more motivating, and energetic high. But as we’ve become more educated, we all know that it’s really about the terpene profile. I like something that will give me a little pep but also allow for some muscle relaxation. I want to make it out the door, but also push through some of the initial kinks and pains as I get warmed up.
This is what works for me, after some extensive at-home testing. I suggest you do the same if you have the opportunity and the means. Since all bodies are different, you’ll likely need to try different strains to find your perfect gym recipe. Some people find indicas give them a better result at the gym because of the more obvious muscle relaxation.
Edibles as an Alternative
There have been times that allergies have affected my lungs, but not enough to want to skip a workout. That’s when I break out my trusty vape. Or if I’m incredibly well-stocked, I’ll indulge in an edible. A responsible dose, just like smoking, will increase your pain tolerance, give you a zen-like focus, AND an incredible body high.
Although edibles do require a little more planning, they’re also great if you’re busy and on the go. They’re discreet, with no smell, and require almost no time to consume, since they’re generally pretty small.
As a general disclaimer, I do not recommend this to those of you who are new to edibles or cannabis in general. So if you’re new to the scene, and you’re worried about maintaining your current lung faculties or being discreet, try vaping instead, as it’s considerably less harsh than smoking or dabbing.
Don’t Give In to the High
If motivation is your concern, I have a few tips to make sure you stay focused and get your booty to the gym. It’s all too easy to sit down to chief up and before you know if you’ve smoked three times and you’re deep in an Instagram rabbit hole.
First of all, put on your gym clothes before your pre-workout smoke session. Why? Because there are few things as shameful as taking those running leggings off without having worked out. Trust me. I’ve lived the shame.
Second, find the right music and start playing it now. Something that won’t distract you from your task, but will give you a steady beat to keep pace with. For the treadmill specifically, I love Spotify’s running playlists.
Third, enjoy your workout and pay attention to your body. Many cannabis users find that they are even more in tune with their body at the gym. Specifically when it comes to maintaining good form. A high workout is a perfect time to focus on how you feel.
No Matter What, It Still Comes Down to Mindset
If you were to get as high as you’ve ever been, but in your head, you are saying, “this workout is going to suck,” the workout is going to suck.* Furthermore, it is going to be even suckier because you’d rather be on the couch. Your legs will feel like lead. The gym will feel meaningless. Life will feel meaningless.
If your head is in that space, just don’t go. Or lower your expectations of what a great workout looks like that day, put on those sneakers, and pack that bowl.
*With all that being said, I do believe you can turn a, “meh this workout will be ok,” into a full-on Tony the Tiger, “this workout will be grrrrreeeeaaaat!” with the proper amount of high from a motivating strain (and especially once the endorphins from the exercise start to kick in).
One last tip. Make sure you’ve eaten a good meal before you get high and get sweaty. I know a lot of folks love the whole intermittent fasting and fasted cardio. I do not recommend getting high and working out on an empty stomach, especially if it’s not something you typically do.
As always, please make sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise or dieting program, whether you smoke weed or not. I am not a doctor, trainer, or a dietician. This advice is based on my own research and experience.