By Lankford Jackson
Growing up in California in the 1980s, we were active. Video games had yet to complete their assault on kids’ recreation time. Our games comprised any sport that was in season – or you could simply ride your bike all day long. The sport stars and action-movie heroes we idolized all shared intense training rituals: Whether it was Arnold or Bruce Lee or Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, we dreamed of transforming our bodies and achieving some type of epic victory. And when we discovered weed, those dreams didn’t diminish.
Eventually, however, a full-time job, eating out, drinking and a decreased activity level took their toll. For me, my wake-up call came 16 years ago, when I decided to overhaul my life. Now, as a fitness professional, I’ve discovered that cannabis use is not just conducive to exercise – it’s an outstanding “supplement” for adding lean body mass, as well as an excellent means of aiding the body’s overall recovery from a workout. In fact, it’s the best supplement out there!
During my transition, I had the good fortune to pick up a bodybuilding book by Mike Mentzer. His logical approach to training allowed me to gain 40 pounds of muscle in my first year and took my strength to levels that I believe should have taken at least a decade to reach. In fact, with a half-hour of work once or twice a week, you should be able to see great results as well!
To start, let’s take a look at the laws of hypertrophy (muscle gain), since it’s a logical transition from there to all forms of exercise. Hypertrophy can be broken down into three basic laws, which are common to every single exercise endeavor:
1) You must impose a significant enough stress to cause micro-damage (soreness) and nervous-system response in the targeted muscle or muscle group.
2) You must allow the targeted muscle to recover through rest and nutrition.
3) You must allow the muscle to overcompensateand add extra lean tissue.
You must also allow the nervous system to recover so that the same workload is easier the next time around. For example, after a workout, your muscles may have recovered their original strength in four days, but it may take another three to six days to allow the body to add extra lean tissue.
This last law is often neglected, usually due to ignorance (or by not following the second law). But neglecting this last law will have you spinning your wheels and cause you to stall at a particular plateau quickly. If you follow these rules, however, you’ll soon realize that the last two address recovery, which encompasses 50 percent of your workout results. (The other 50 percent is the workout itself.) But recovery doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
When muscles grow, it’s the result of recovering from damage – and damaging muscles requires intensity.But the intensity of your next workout, and its effectiveness, are both determined by how well you recovered from your previous workout. For example, if you go running on sore legs, your time will very likely be slower. If you try to bench-press while your arms and chest remain sore from your previous workout, expect to have trouble lifting the same amount of weight. Intensity is proportional to recovery: If you only recover to the point where you can complete your last workload, your recovery period has been insufficient – you need to recover to the point where you can exceed your previous workload. In short, you need to get stronger. And to do this, you must pay strict attention to nutrition and supplementation daily, and allow enough days between workouts for your body to adapt and overcompensate for the workload.
If you want to reduce fat, you need to eat a little less. But if you want to gain muscle, you need to eat a little more. Whatever your goals, fitness experts advise eating every three hours, with a complete protein source in each of these meals. Cannabis will definitely help with the eating. It’s not easy to eat six times a day, but a little toke will increase your appetite (and make that chicken and brown rice taste a helluva a lot better).
There are many supplements that provide an energy source for your workout, while amino acids and creatine are ingested post-workout. But for recovery, you have limited choices. Then again, what other supplement enables you to eat every three hours (no easy task), plus help you sleep well and relieve life’s stresses – and all without causing negative physiological effects like booze does?
You guessed it: good ol’ Cannabis sativa
! I’d even go so far as to say that you’re foolish not
to incorporate it into your recovery program. Continue reading