I was recently asked to speak at a “Femme Nuri” Event in San Diego, about empowering your health with CBD. The focus of my discussion was on CBD and how it can affect personal fitness, endurance, and performance. I spoke about my personal experience as a distance runner and collegiate athlete, and also about how CBD can be beneficial for recovery and healing. Here are some of the highlights of that discussion…
Runnin’ On Empty
As a distance runner and athlete for many years, I know that recovery plays a crucial role in the overall physiological health of athletes, including mental health. When I was in college, I was a runner who sought to achieve maximum fitness levels in order to be able to push myself to reach new highs, if you will.
After heady workouts and fierce training, I often found myself stiff, sore, and, basically, exhausted. Not only did I feel drained and weak, but I noticed also just how much it affected my entire being for the rest of my day and, how that feeling rolled right into the evening. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t shake it off.
I was frustrated and had reached a plateau in my physical gains. The lack of recovery was overflowing into the other parts of my life. I had to be strong not just as an athlete, but as a full time student with two jobs. I wanted to achieve my physical goals and move forward in a healthy and safe way. No chemicals, no synthetics no drugs. I wanted to feel good, and I wanted to do it naturally. But how?
At that point, I wasn’t sure. I had experimented with Cannabis before recreationally, but I had never thought to incorporate it into my fitness regimen. I wanted to be able to heal myself naturally, using more holistic methods, rather than to rely on conventional ones to just mask the pain. In short, I thought I was looking for a miracle. There was this little voice in my head that kept telling me to find another way to feel better. It was tiny and it was very quiet. But, as I listened harder and harder, I started to hear what that voice was really saying above all the negative propaganda.
Who Says Cannabis is Just for Getting High?
So, I set out on a research and discovery adventure. With the help of friends and colleagues, athletes, and others in the field, I began to discover the increasingly attractive benefits of using cannabinoids, specifically CBDs, to aid the body in the recovery process.
Fact bomb; Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds given off by the flower of the cannabis plant that attach themselves to these receptor sites all over the brain and body. These receptors make up the human body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoid receptors deliver relief to a number of negatively occurring symptoms such as pain, anxiety, inflammation, and nausea.
In short, there are certain cannabinoids that can make you feel better naturally, and they do not cause a psychoactive effect (make you feel high) (THC produces that effect, not CBD). What does this mean? This means that you can use CBD throughout your day and absorb all the medical benefits of the plant without feeling “high”. This also meant that, if I just figured out how to do it, I could take advantage of all of the benefits that CBDs have to offer.
‘Whoa’, I thought to myself. ‘This could be it!’.
The Nuts and Bolts of Recovery
I began to formulate a plan. I knew that many cannabinoids found in cannabis basically imitate compounds that our body naturally produces, called endocannabinoids. These compounds help to maintain overall internal health and well-being.
After long periods of strain on the body, fuel levels, so to speak, run low and need to be replenished. In order for recovery to occur, this process should begin anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes after any extended period of physical activity.
I knew that my general guideline for helping my body recover after intense workouts was:
If you want your body to recover properly and safely, you have to give it what it needs to regain some of the essential “food” that gets lost along the way. In addition to fluids and electrolytes, carbohydrates need to be replenished.
Proteins are also crucial in this process. The body depends upon proteins, which are stored in the body as amino acids, to aid in the creation and repair of damaged muscle tissue, which inevitably occurs during periods of intense physical activity.
If you don’t have high enough carbohydrate and protein levels, I guarantee that you will feel tired, cramped, and uncomfortable. What does this mean? It means that you’ll be cranky, tired, and unmotivated. You are more prone to injuries when feeling fatigued and exhausted.
Basically, when you push your body hard, you have to be prepared to give back.
Gotta Keep Going…and Going
Along the way, I also learned that CBD can help with overall endurance. As a distance runner who was trying to secure a place in the 2014 Boston Marathon, I wanted to be able to raise my level of endurance without having to rely on man-made chemical compounds.
You see, when you exercise, the body produces a number of chemicals known as endorphins. The body relies on these to drive performance and endurance. The body also produces Anandamine, which is a neurotransmitter that produces a euphoric or blissful state of being. The most important thing to note is that Anandamine is an endocannabinoid, naturally produced in the body.
Why is this important? Well, when the body exhibits feelings of calm and relaxation, endurance levels increase. Without feelings of fatigue and inflammation, the body can continue to function at a much higher performance level, allowing the athlete to meet and exceed his or her previous goals, in a safe and healthy way.
When I looked at all of this information, it seemed logical to incorporate CBD into my training regimen. I started using CBD before and after my workouts. In a short period of time, I noticed a dramatic increase in my speed and endurance. The change was drastic and awesome. So awesome that I qualified for the Boston Marathon on my first attempt. I became a faster and stronger runner; stronger than when I was younger. Stronger and faster than when I was in college. It felt amazing!
Envisioning the Perfect Product
Shortly after that, I knew that I wanted to create a CBD-infused product that would help maximize the recovery process. Keeping in mind that the body tends to feel cramped and fatigued after periods of strenuous activity, I wanted to create an edible product that would contain generous amounts of carbohydrates and proteins necessary to effectively repair and regenerate muscle tissue.
In addition to the nutrients, I wanted to find a way to incorporate CBDs into the mix, knowing that these cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic properties, all which help with the healing process.
Here’s where the fun started. I knew what I had to do. I was going to make magic happen. Well, magic, and some kitchen science. I figured out a combination of six locally sourced, plant-based ingredients that worked well together and created an edible cannabis infused energy bar that is as delicious as it is beneficial to the entire process of recovery.
Each one of these ingredients provides the body with essential carbohydrates and proteins, as well as—and possibly most importantly— delivering a blast of CBD oil which works on a number of levels to increase the body’s immune system.
So the next time you find yourself looking for a supplement to aid in the process of recovery after a long and strenuous workout, reach for a Betty Khronic CBD Energy Bar, and raise the bar higher.