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10 Reasons To Combine CBD With Your Fitness Routine

28/04/2021 12 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal
28/04/2021 12 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal

Recently, you may have noticed famous athletes and personal trainers publicly crediting hemp-derived extract CBD as a vital part of their fitness routines. While these glowing testimonials may sound promising, some of us may struggle to relate to champions who have won awards for their physical accomplishments (never mind getting paid to promote wellness products). What about us mere mortals who are busy jumping the hurdles of everyday life, quietly hoping to get stronger and fitter along the way (and without getting paid for it)? Thankfully, CBD may potentially help to impact your track record in many different areas. In this article, we’ll explain ten of the most motivating reasons to combine CBD and exercise. First, let’s start with a warm-up.

CBD: A Natural Supplement

Rather than building up any unnecessary tension, we’ll face CBD head-on so that you can gain a basic understanding of this popular, hemp-derived compound. What is CBD? Technically speaking, it’s an abbreviation for cannabidiol - one of over a hundred signature compounds (or ‘cannabinoids’) found in the hemp subspecies of cannabis Sativa. Roger Adams, a pioneering American chemist, was the first person to extract and isolate it in the 1940s. Since then, CBD has gained momentum in the wellness sector - inspiring countless researchers to ponder its potential clinical and therapeutic benefits. Rather than browsing for the best protein powder, why not explore what CBD might have to offer?

Why is CBD Popular? 

After obtaining hemp extract under controlled lab conditions, manufacturers often develop various CBD-infused food supplements (such as CBD oil and edibles) or skincare lines (such as CBD cosmetics). Particularly since 2019, the world’s CBD market has grown at a record-breaking pace - with new products such as CBD gummies and oils sending shoppers sprinting to the shelves. Some market analysts have predicted the UK industry may be worth upwards of £1 billion by 2025. Despite its widespread availability and accommodating relationship with the law (which we’ll talk about shortly), CBD still has an ‘edgy’ status due to its association with cannabis. This fact, combined with its potential to impact a diverse range of inconvenient wellbeing symptoms, makes CBD an exciting and innovative substance to explore.

Is CBD Legal? 

While we don’t necessarily need a special reason to be curious about this topic, everyone has the right to know where they stand regarding CBD; particularly athletes. In the UK, the USA, and throughout most of the European Union, leading government bodies have been making strides in CBD classification. These efforts are mainly motivated by safety concerns connected with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD’s chemical cousin. While CBD may have potentially calming effects, researchers recognise THC as a psychotropic compound that can make people feel “high” if they consume it excessively.

The regulation of CBD is an ever-advancing situation that varies from country-to-country, but if you’re in the UK, all you need to know is: 

  • CBD products are legal as long as they contain no more than 0.2% THC
  • CBD extract must be obtained from licenced hemp crops - those that are naturally low in THC

  • While these guidelines apply in many other countries, you should check the laws where you live before the whistle blows. 

    Anti-Doping Rules and CBD For Athletes

    CBD may abide by the laws set by public authorities, but does it follow the rules of good sportsmanship? If you’re a professional athlete, you’ll be very familiar with the strict anti-doping policies maintained throughout many sporting events. Performance-enhancing substances are vetted in an uncompromising way in order to protect athletes’ wellbeing and the integrity of competitions. Getting the wrong result in a workplace drugs test could potentially lead to disqualification - costing you the race and your reputation! As a result, it’s vital to be aware of what you’re consuming. 

    According to the UK Anti-Doping database, CBD is not a banned sports supplement. However, if a CBD product contains excess amounts of THC by chance, this could sway your drug test results. As a result, you should always choose premium CBD from a well-reputed brand that can provide you with an ingredients report that a third-party lab has verified. This particular document is called a Certificate of Analysis (COA). For the most accurate advice, be sure to speak with your trainer or coach before you jump the gun.

    How CBD Works

    The modern marketplace has engineered many different fitness systems throughout the years - from treadmills to full body workouts. However, nothing beats our natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). To learn more about how CBD may affect this incredible network of cells we so often take for granted, keep reading!

    What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)? 

    Right now, your ECS is working overtime to modulate a diverse range of functions within your body - supporting the regulation of your mood, breathing, energy levels, and many other vitals. Within this system, your body produces compounds called ‘endocannabinoids’,  which run a microscopic relay race and carry essential chemical signals. Current theories suggest that when they reach the receptors dispersed throughout your brain, spine, and peripheral organs, they interact with them - passing the message like a baton and triggering an action. For example, when you have a headache, your endocannabinoids will alert the receptors in the spine - stimulating a natural pain relief response.

    CBD and Your ECS

    While many experts suggest that CBD may potentially affect your ECS, the fine-tuned details are challenging to determine. The ECS is a relatively ‘new’ discovery, and there is still a great deal of mystery surrounding how it really works. Current research suggests that CBD molecules might possibly help to supplement your system with additional cannabinoids. This surplus may potentially impact the performance of the ECS by giving your body more chemical material to work with. It may also help to prevent endocannabinoid deficiencies. Another theory is that CBD may help prolong the lifespan of natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals in your body. It might even interact with parts of the ECS that we haven’t discovered yet! 

    Stemming from its potential interactions with the ECS, supplementing your lifestyle with CBD might possibly help you to get a head start on handling some familiar and uncomfortable symptoms that can come from exercising. 

    Potential CBD Strengths

    Before we go off to the races with ten reasons that may inspire you to combine CBD and fitness, let’s look at the general picture. As you may have already heard, there is a lot of buzz around CBD in the wellness community - especially among those who prefer to use products from natural and sustainable sources. Many people share self-perceived success stories about their attempts at using CBD for anxiety symptoms, muscle cramps, pain symptoms, sleep, and a whole host of other concerns. However, it’s best to avoid making personal wellness decisions and body choices based on popular opinion alone. If you have any concerns about your health and fitness, the first place you should run to is your physician or personal trainer. But what do the experts have to say about CBD? 

    CBD is not a “cure” or “treatment”, and it certainly can’t do the heavy-lifting or make up for the expert advice of a qualified fitness professional. However, it may well come in handy as a food supplement packed with botanical potential. Since CBD is a relatively new supplement, scientists are still pursuing concrete evidence to support its use. In the meantime, emerging research indicates that it may well be on track for greatness.

    Current preliminary studies suggest that the possible benefits of CBD oil might include: 

  • Reducing some symptoms of common mood disorders
  • Impacting your sleep and how well-rested you feel
  • Decreasing some of the uncomfortable signs of inflammation
  • Potentially influencing how you interpret pain signals 

  • When was the last time you heard someone complaining about feeling too rested, calm, and at ease? As you may relate, many people would leap at the opportunity to experience less discomfort. While the “no pain, no gain” motto might apply to dead-lifting and intensive training from time to time, don’t let it define your daily life. So, can supplements such as CBD help you to put the spring back in your step? Let’s find out.

    Is CBD Fit For Purpose? 10 Possible Advantages

    Now that we’ve finished our warm-up, let’s pick up the pace and get to the fun part. You may already be an accomplished athlete. On the other hand, you might still be stuck on the question: what muscles do push-ups put to the test? (Answer: triceps, pectorals, abdominals, and deltoids.) Regardless of where you are on your fitness journey, we’ve compiled ten of the most dynamic possibilities that may motivate you to use CBD as a sports supplement. Whether you jump, swim, cycle, climb, or run, CBD might just help you to pursue your personal best. 

    CBD For Pre-Workout Rituals

    Some of us start our workout by drinking a protein shake and blasting our favourite feel-good songs. We've got a great suggestion for a morning routine with CBD oil, as well as pre-workout routine and a post-workout routine with CBD Active gel. The fact is that everyone has their own routine, and some may prefer to listen to a motivational speech or spend time in quiet reflection before setting off... so find whatever works for you. Hopefully, we all begin with a few stretches and some light cardio to get our heart rates up. You may feel tempted to skip this ‘boring’ process and jump straight into the action, but experts suggest that taking the time to ease your body into exercise can improve your performance and prevent injuries. Whatever your style, CBD might possibly be an excellent tool to help you prepare your mind and body for the next challenge. Let’s review some key reasons for this:

    1. CBD May Help You to Get In The Zone

    As you might already know, getting “in the zone” simply means establishing an attitude of clarity, focus, and excitement as you begin to perform a task. This state can feel out-of-reach at the best of times - even more so if you’re struggling with stress or distractions. Can substances such as CBD help get you on the fast track to focus? 

    According to a recent study involving mice, CBD may potentially possess some neuroprotective properties that might possibly influence your cognitive performance. Your cognitive mind mediates your focus and concentration levels - as well as your memory, self-discipline, and hand-eye coordination. 

    1. It Might Reduce Pre-Game Jitters and Symptoms of Anxiety

    Sometimes, sweaty palms and a racing mind may help us muster up the courage we need to excel. However, when these feelings become overwhelming or chronic, they can quickly have the opposite effect - limiting our performance and potentially causing us to bail out of prior commitments. Since symptoms of anxiety can often manifest both mentally and physically, it’s essential to do all you can to eliminate any unnecessary stress before exercising. 

    Here, CBD oil (sometimes known as ‘hemp oil’) could possibly be useful for the following reasons: 

  • Your body may potentially absorb it in as few as 15 minutes
  • It’s low-risk (so you don’t have to worry about severe side-effects)
  • It might help to reduce symptoms of anxious habits (such as rapid pacing and ‘jitters’)

  • VAAY tip: Our CBD Oil comes in a sporty spray bottle for discreet and streamlined use. Simply spray a few pumps under your tongue, and hold there for up to 60 seconds before you swallow. 

    1. CBD May Potentially Impact Your Muscle Performance

    You’re not alone if you’ve ever Googled the phrase ‘how to get muscles’. The good news is that you already have them! Muscles play an enormous role in our mobility and structure - regardless of how visibly toned we happen to be. Structurally speaking, they are made of tightly packed fibres, and consist of water and roughly 80% protein. Thus, your first step to investing in peak physical performance is to make sure you are well-hydrated and eating enough protein. 

    Beyond this, consuming high-quality CBD might potentially support your broader muscle-building efforts. A recent study involving patients struggling with mobility challenges suggested that consuming CBD may possibly influence your movement patterns by impacting your muscle fibres. Some people even go as far as to anecdotally claim that CBD relaxes their muscles.

    CBD For Gym Recovery

    As far as accomplishments go, rest is just as important as fitness - especially if you plan to exercise frequently. Training can be a physically and emotionally gruelling process. Particularly when we finish a hard-hitting boxing match or weight lifting session, we can’t just expect our bodies to ‘ping’ back into place like an elastic band. Internally, exercise creates temporary stress responses, cell damage, and slight muscle injuries. With the proper routine, this natural ‘hurt and healing’ pattern will gradually lead to strength and ‘gains’ over time. However, it’s vital to support your body and mind after exercise. 

    If you struggle to do this, it may help to picture post-workout recovery as an extended pre-workout ritual - allowing you to bring the best to the table for your next exercise session. With this in mind, let’s explore how taking CBD may potentially influence your recovery.

    1. CBD May Impact Muscle Recovery and Symptoms of Inflammation

    What is inflammation? Put simply, it’s a protective process that kicks in when you’re injured or under stress - triggering increased blood flow, cushioning, and a broader immune response. While the rush of endorphins (‘feel-good’ chemicals) you feel after exercising can help you forget about your worries for a while, the physical and mental toll of working out is a form of controlled stress. As a result, you may experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms in the hours (and even days) following an intense session.

    Currently, research suggests that CBD might possibly affect inflammation symptoms by:

  • Impacting your body’s natural regulation of inflammatory responses via the ECS
  • Reducing symptoms of oxidative stress with its potential antioxidant properties
  • Reducing some signs of swollen ankles and other forms of tissue swelling

  • Since inflammation often involves symptoms of pain, let’s look at this in closer detail.

    1. CBD Might Influence Your Perceptions of Pain Symptoms

    Experiencing intense or unbearable pain while exercising is a major red flag, but mild aches and discomforts are an inevitable part of your fitness journey. To avoid injury, you should always be careful to maintain good form and proper technique while training, and prepare your body by stretching before you start. It’s wise to raise any immediate concerns you may have with a qualified professional. With this being said, you might potentially find some comfort in CBD’s self-care prospects. Studies suggest that it may influence how your body and mind perceive pain signals at a molecular level. This possibility might just impact how you experience some symptoms of pain. 

    VAAY tip: Why not show your sore muscles some extra care by using our CBD massage oil - infused with warming ginger extract for a tingling and potentially relaxing sensation.

    1. Your Joints and Bones May Potentially Be Affected By CBD

    Like muscles, bones are living structures that can be impacted by our diet and fitness habits. While low-resistance activities, such as swimming and cycling, can potentially support the movement of your joints, high-impact activities such as jogging, CrossFit, and football can be demanding on your knees, ankles, and hips. Over time, jolting movements can potentially put your bones and joints under strain. But is CBD for running a good idea? 

    Interestingly, one recent study indicates that CBD consumption may possibly impact the natural healing processes that take place in our bodies when we’re recovering from skeletal injuries. While CBD certainly can’t “fix” or “heal” your bones, it might just help you to feel more comfortable.

    CBD to Suit Broader Fitness Goals

    As much as exercise is an important activity that’s best enjoyed as part of a consistent routine, most of us would agree that fitness is a wide-reaching lifestyle. It involves the choices we make when we’re in our gym clothes, work attire, and even our pyjamas! As a result, here are the remaining four reasons to consider using CBD related to the everyday experiences that can influence how we feel about ourselves. 

    1. CBD is a Natural and Vegan Alternative to Artificial Food Supplements 

    The sports supplement market is saturated with many weird and wonderful concoctions promising to help you ‘power up’, but are they all safe? Over the past few years, researchers have voiced increasing concerns regarding the potential dangers of popular additives - including excessive caffeine, synthetic hormones, and even steroids! Premium CBD might potentially be an excellent way to perk up your daily intake with some low-risk and plant-based inspiration.

    VAAY tip: Our daily CBD capsule range is the perfect opportunity to incorporate CBD as part of your waking up or winding down ritual.

    1. You May Want to Try CBD For Sleep Habits

    While sleep can help us feel refreshed and alert throughout the day, it’s also an essential activity. Without it, we can’t survive - never mind stay fit and in shape! As we rest, our bodies begin to carry out cell repair processes: physiologically responding to everyday wear-and-tear. A fitness routine can place extra strain on your system - making the natural ‘healing’ power of sleep all the more precious. Thankfully, a study involving British rugby players connected CBD use with self-perceived improvements in nightly rest, reduced signs of insomnia, and changes in some other signs of disordered sleep (such as nightmares). 

    1. CBD Might Impact Your ‘Feel-Good’ Hormones

    As you may know, exercise influences your hormone levels - particularly the production and release of cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone), dopamine (the ‘motivational’ hormone), and serotonin (the ‘happy’ hormone). These natural substances may potentially influence your overall disposition and how you feel. Due to CBD’s potential interactions within the ECS, it might impact how your body processes ‘feel-good’ hormones. 

    1. It’s An Opportunity to Follow In the Footsteps of High Achievers

    While it’s unwise to value celebrity testimonials above objective evidence, we can’t deny the fact that CBD has become a staple product among many athletes and wellness-conscious celebrities. If you’re keen to take lifestyle tips from high achievers, you may be interested to know that fitness influencer Maddy Forberg and NBA-star Lamar Odom also promote CBD. 

    Choosing the Best CBD Products

    Just like sports event organisers often start with elimination rounds to determine who is eligible to compete, you shouldn’t settle for just any old CBD product. Whether you’re interested in CBD gummies, oils, capsules, or cosmetics, it’s best to look for brands that raise the bar. For your reference, the table below illustrates the key differences between potential CBD ‘amateurs’ (i.e. questionable brands) and ‘champions’ (i.e. promising brands).  

    CBD Amateurs

    CBD Champions 

    Lab-Proven Results



    A Certificate of Analysis (COA)



    Research-Based Claims



    All-Star CBD Reviews



    Clear Ingredients



    Vegan, Planet-Friendly Pledge



    The Finish Line

    In this article, we’ve learned that CBD is a natural product of hemp plants and a rapidly growing part of the plant-based wellness movement. Subject to regional guidelines and industry requirements, CBD is legal in the UK, USA, and throughout most of the European Union. Furthermore, the sports regulatory body UK Anti-Doping tolerates its use by athletes - though it’s best to choose a premium and certified brand with as little THC content as possible. In terms of your fitness routine, CBD may possibly offer some supplementary wellness properties that might impact your performance, sports recovery, and broader lifestyle habits. After some experimenting, you may well find that it makes a great gym buddy!

    For a five-minute, step-by-step guide to using CBD as part of your pre-game ritual, consider reading our exclusive VAAY magazine article: Pre-Performance Routines for Athletes

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