Getting Better Workout Results with CBD

CBD 101
Getting Better Workout Results with CBD
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As many of us ease back into our workout routine, we look for ways to optimize our fitness regimen to our needs and goals. At Lazarus Naturals, CBD is a part of our wellness practice since evidence suggests the cannabinoid may have therapeutic benefits. We often think of CBD as a tool for relaxation, but more and more people are incorporating it into active areas of their life, including workout routines and recovery. So how does CBD help with working out and workout recovery to get you better results in the gym?  We're breaking down everything you need to know below.

How CBD, Exercise, and Inflammation are Intertwined 

To understand how CBD may play a role in your workouts, it helps first to understand the complex relationship between exercise and inflammation.¹ Any workout causes damage on a microscopic level to your muscle tissue, your body then triggers an inflammatory response to help your body get a jump start on repairing those fibers, which gets rebuilt stronger and tighter.

While annoying and sometimes painful, inflammation is an innate and essential role in building muscles. However, too much inflammation can result in excessive muscle damage and poor results. Those who’ve spent a lot of time in the gym may be familiar with inflammation of tendons that connect muscle to bone – known as tendinitis. Inflammation can also cause strains, sprains, and other exercise injuries like a runner's knee and achy joints. This is where CBD can help.

People who frequently exercise often incorporate anti-inflammatory measures into their regimens to help prevent excessive inflammation and reduce damage. Some people eat a lot of antioxidant-rich foods, while others might opt for ice baths or typical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.

However, it's still up for debate in the scientific community about when people should try to curb inflammation after a workout or just let the body sort itself out. Regardless, evidence suggests that CBD might be a valuable addition to your workout anti-inflammation kit. A review in 2018 found that CBD effectively improved mobility in multiple sclerosis patients since it helped reduce inflammation.²

It's important to remember that even though there is evidence to support the potential benefits of CBD on inflammation, very little research has gone directly into the relationship between CBD and fitness. Many older adults and athletes consume CBD before and after exercise since it might help promote muscle growth by limiting the body's tendency to break down during exercise.  Further research is needed to solidify these these anecdotal success stories.

Can CBD actually help you get those gains? 

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help keep you balanced. 3 When it comes to CBD and exercise, it isn't the properties of the cannabinoid but what your body does with it. CBD isn't a magic potion you can take daily to get big rippling muscles overnight. In fact, it doesn't do much of anything on its own. But because of its interactions with the ECS, it might help you recover faster, which could help you get those gains. 

Evidence suggests that CBD might also be a potent antioxidant.⁴ Both inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in poor results and slow down your body's ability to recover. Too much inflammation and oxidative stress can lead to soreness, stiffness, mobility issues, age-related diseases, and even cancer.⁵ Some studies have found that CBD may help improve mobility and muscle soreness post-workout. ⁶

Evidence also suggests that CBD may improve your fitness recovery, specifically with proper sleep. Sleep is, after all, an integral part of your body's ability to repair and recuperate.⁷ CBD may help curb the inflammation or soreness that keeps you up at night to help you get better rest. Studies also suggest that CBD may help reduce anxiety, which can lead to insomnia or other sleep-related conditions that keep you from getting the rest you need to recover.⁸

Using CBD Before a Workout 

Even though CBD won't give you better workout results on its own, incorporating it into your daily routine may help your body function better both pre and post-workout. For starters, to have a good warmup, you need to be mentally and emotionally prepared instead of just physically prepared. 

Sports psychologists suggest that anxiety and arousal play a role in physical and technical performance during a workout.⁹ In sports, arousal often triggers anxiety, increasing muscle tension and affecting coordination. Evidence suggests that CBD's effects on anxiety might make it easier to reduce blood pressure and feel your best mentally, helping you to bring your A-game before you hit the weights.¹⁰ Taking a CBD softgel about 2 hours before you begin your workout might help counteract the anxiety and feel less dread about your conditioning.

If you're the type who wakes up and works out every day, you might also include CBD sleep gummies into your bedtime routine. As we sleep, our bodies repair our skeletal, muscular, immune, and nervous systems.¹¹ Sleep helps your body maintain these systems and recover from a workout, enabling you to experience better mood, memory, and cognitive effects that might help you feel more prepared for your morning regimen.  

Using CBD After a Workout 

If you don't want to take CBD before a workout, you might enjoy it after for some of the more obvious reasons— like combating inflammation and consequential soreness! Whether you work out a lot or you're just getting started, post-workout soreness is something to be expected.¹² With that said, you shouldn't have to miss out on a day of exercise because of soreness from the day before.

Some studies suggest that CBD may help soothe delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle damage brought on by your routine, thanks to its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Many people will utilize CBD skin lotions or muscle compounds to relieve inflammation and muscle soreness after a tough session. CBD creams are absorbed transdermally, allowing for concentrated relief to the areas you may experience soreness— or areas you currently experience soreness from due to old injuries. 

Other studies suggest that CBD may also help improve mobility.¹³ Granted, the study was conducted around patients with mobility issues stemming from multiple sclerosis, but according to the authors, the patients experienced reduced mobility issues and soreness because CBD acts as an "anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective." 

Final Thoughts: CBD For Results 

At the end of the day, you might get better results from your fitness sessions when you add CBD to the mix since evidence suggests that it might reduce inflammation, soothe anxiety, and help with some of the factors that contribute to poor sleep. CBD isn't going to instantly turn you into a star athlete, but it might make you more effective in daily or weekly workouts. You can count on our suite of recovery products at Lazarus Naturals to help you bring your A-game to whatever game you're playing.