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CBD for Muscle Recovery: A Modern Post-Workout for 2021

The increase in at-home connected fitness has forever changed the fitness landscape. Living rooms and bedrooms have become gyms and studios. Cyclists, runners, and Zoomers alike took an active approach to an altering lifestyle. 

That lifestyle was enhanced in many instances by a sense of community; others looking for a group to be active alongside. Communities acted as an accelerant on fitness journeys, many exceeding expectations entirely - five days instead of the planned three and four-week streaks over 6-minute abs. 

As we continue through this year we can look back and see how our fitness norms have drastically changed. Not just the physical side either. If you were concentrated about your fitness, there’s a good chance your nutrition mimicked in order to see and feel results. The concept of wellness and well-being has narrowed. After many years of trying to understand how our body’s react to food, it seems like we finally have a decent grip on it. Your pantry has probably seen some new inhabitants join the shelves that promote a healthier lifestyle. 

Your workout has changed. Your nutrition has changed. Why hasn’t your post-workout muscle recovery changed?

We’re all accustomed to giving maximum effort to a workout for the duration of a class. However, most don’t follow that high level of exertion with the proper cool down. A cool down allows your body temperature and heart rate to return to normal levels. Even less, continue with stretching which allows your muscles to release and lengthen. 

“Hey, I cool down and stretch!” ← is that you? If so, congratulations, you’re ahead of the game. You understand the importance of muscle recovery in maintaining your fitness and everyday routines. 

**For those that need a refresher back to middle school health class. In order to build muscle, you need to break it down first. Intense resistance or weights training causes the muscle fibers to tear. Post-workout your body starts the recovery process of repairing muscles - this is also called hypertrophy. Most exercise recovery happens when you’re asleep so make sure to get your ZZZs if you’re looking for results.  

How does CBD help muscle recovery?

The research is on the effects of CBD and athletic recovery is far from complete. Scientists and researchers have shown great interest in CBD’s potential as a muscle recovery solution. Pre-clinical trials and case studies imply that using CBD post-workout may help the body recover and return to homeostasis.

When you use CBD it interacts with your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). You may not have heard much about your endocannabinoid system and that’s because it wasn’t discovered in 1992. In short, everyone has one, just like the muscular system or the nervous system, it is a part of your human chemistry. 

The ECS has receptors embedded in the plasma membrane of cells called CB1 and CB2. CB1 Receptors are mostly located in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 Receptors are concentrated in the organs related to the immune system. Together, the ECS is involved in a variety of physiological processes such as pain, mood, appetite, and memory.

The purpose of using CBD for muscle recovery is it may help reduce inflammation in your muscles. Ever feel stiff, sore, or swelling after a hard workout? That’s not a pat on the back, it’s inflamed muscles. Muscle inflammation occurs most in workouts of increased workloads, poor preparation, or poor blood flow to an area (aka not stretching). Inflamed muscles can cause serious pain and discomfort. 

How do I stop post-workout pain?

There are two types of pain that are associated with exercise. Acute muscle soreness (AMS) occurs during or immediately after your workout. AMS is the deep muscle burn or soreness after a hard workout. On the bright side, it usually fades quickly and should not affect your day. 

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is a different story. Delayed being the key word, you’ll feel it 12-24 hours after exercising. DOMS is the “I can’t move without being in immense muscular pain” kind of sore. DOMS is most frequent for workouts that both contract and lengthen a muscle like a bicep curl or a pedal stroke.  

DOMS is common in cyclists because pedaling is an eccentric movement for your hamstrings, which lengthen under load every rotation. DOMS is one of the most common reasons trainers and athletes look to CBD for muscle recovery because reducing inflammation can help mitigate the more painful alternative.

Whether you’re pushing for a PR, going on a long endurance ride, or are trying out a new type of exercise, adding CBD to your post-workout routine may help reduce inflammation and keep your muscles ready for the next physical feat. 

It’s important to understand that researchers and medical experts do not have conclusive evidence that proves the benefits of CBD. That may be because CBD has been adopted at a rapid rate since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and scientific research takes time. 

A growing number of professional athletes and trainers have begun publicly supporting and using CBD products. We believe that CBD as an ingredient will continue to work its way into everyday products for many years to come. We also believe that the future of exercise recovery will require a better understanding of the human endocannabinoid system and the effects of different cannabinoids. 

Your world has changed. Your fitness has changed. Has your muscle recovery changed?