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Is It Safe to Work Out While High?

The Lowdown on Exercising High

Recently FitSugar reader mamasitamalita wrote in to ask about her friend who works out while buzzed. Apparently it's more common than I thought, and it's not the only thing people are doing before hitting the gym. An anonymous reader commented

"Sometimes, every once in a while, I will get stoned before yoga or a long run — it helps me to calm down and focus on the task at hand, rather than obsessing about work or personal stresses."

So this brings up another issue. What about working out while high? Although illegal, people still smoke pot, so to find out if it's safe to light up before burning calories keep reading.

During my many years of teaching yoga, a few times students have showed up high. They do it because it makes them feel happier, and for some, makes them more focused. Medically speaking though, marijuana falls into the category of being a stimulant, a depressant, and a hallucinogen, so there's a safety issue when it comes to exercising after smoking. When you get high on pot, most people become drowsy, and since it can affect your energy levels, vision, balance, and reaction time, taking part in certain types of exercise that require awareness and coordination like biking outdoors, running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or a kickboxing class could be dangerous if you do them while high. Just like exercising while buzzed, you're increasing your risk for injury. You may not be able to move with as much accuracy and strength as you could while sober, and since pot can make you sleepy, you may not have the endurance to exercise as long either.

What's even worse, marijuana increases your heart rate by 20 to 100 percent shortly after smoking, and the effects can last up to three hours. That puts a user at risk for a heart attack, and if you escalate the heart rate even more with exercise, your risk is intensified. Smoking pot is also connected to upper respiratory problems like wheezing, bronchitis, coughing, and chronic issues like asthma and lung cancer. So not only will it affect your health, but it will also impede your aerobic capacity when it comes to doing cardio.

Getting high also leads to "the munchies," so you may feel ravenous and eat way more calories than you normally would after a workout, and will basically be undoing all your hard work.

I hate to sound like a Miss Goody Two Shoes over here, but exercising while high is like an oxymoron. So if you're doing something good for your body like going for a run or taking a yoga class, why do something that harms your body like smoking a joint?

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Danl14921273 Danl14921273 3 years
Just skimming through some of the comments below I can see that most of my points have already been made. The author is using somewhat elementary logic here. It's obvious he / she has not tried this. Then again, highs are different from person to person. But for me - and apparently others - getting high and working out is AMAZING. I can run, lift, and focus harder and longer. The burning actually feels GOOD. I've never been into yoga, but a few times after smoking I just started twisting and stretching because it felt so right. I would instinctually chain all the movements together into a single flow. Eventually I realized I was doing yoga - just my own form of it. I suddenly "Got it". I discovered parts of my body that were fatigued or sore, of which I had no previous awareness - and I somehow I knew exactly what kind of movements I needed to do to clear the issue. Don't get me wrong, I Initially started getting high to increase the "experience" of whatever I was doing, mostly playing video games. In fact, after I initially smoke, I still play a video game or something similar. But after about 2 hours, my body is just saturated with energy to burn. That's when I bust out the bike and go for a 4 hour ride or a 3am personalized yoga sesh. Something happens when your senses are heightened and you push your body. It's like your mind and body fuse, and epiphanies just start raining down through every part of yourself. You feel at one with what you're doing. I would definitely recommend giving this a shot and revising your article based on your experience.
Lotus87 Lotus87 4 years
I never "hallucinated" before, never heard of anyone who ever has either. If you're not able to relax your mind you'll have a really bad trip. When you smoke your senses enhances, so if you're freaking out you're going to have a bad time, but if you're happy and motivated you're going to kick some ass! I don't smoke every time I work out, but I've done it a couple times. Actually about to do it right now, and wanted to look it up to see if people do it and came across this article.. I think some of the stuff you said are false science statements to get people to be against it, it's the governments doing to be honest. I go a lot harder when I'm high cause it helps me concentrate on the moves and not the burn. But you do want to be careful, I'm sure you can hurt yourself if you push over your limit. There are two strains of marijuana, Sativa and Indica. Sativa gives you energy, it's stimulating, it's a head high, uplifting, focus, and fights depression. Indica will make you couch-locked, chill, give you munchies, it's a body high, and you'll have really deep relaxation. And it's used for chronic pain, nausea, and anxiety relief. Weed can even improve asthma or upper respiratory illness for those who suffer it, and it can also cause problems for those who have it. It's 50/50. And saying you're okay with "medical marijuana" but not street is an oxymoron. They're smoking the same stuff I'm smoking, just way more potent and controlled. Anyway. So you don't want to smoke Indica before a workout, you probably wouldn't be able to anyway. I prefer Sativa, I don't freak as much and can continue the day. So although everything you said are rare side effects and more than likely a side effect from the very first time you smoked or some really dank stuff, I think it's safe if you are aware of yourself when you're high. My fiancé is a mover, so he's lifting and carrying heavy stuff all day. He has to smoke before he works, it helps motivate him. Some people can't go through the day without that motivation. Also don't do research on marijuana online, and by government paid science experiments, they give false accusations to make it seem "so bad and scary." But they certainly don't have a problem being in control of our poisoned food and pharmaceutical systems..
purp1emushroom purp1emushroom 5 years
 I have experienced working out for 2 years while high at the gym with a background in cross country and track. I'm going to give it to you straight and objective based on the effects I've been having. NOTE: I don;t condone marijuana for everyone, I think it depends on the person based on my personal experience.  1) Muscle growth: My muscle has not been growing much but my strength has increased tremendously.  I bench press 220lb now (i used to bench 100 at start) with ten sets of 10 lifts. My tricepts lift 160lb with 10 sets of 20 lifts(started at 40lbs). Biceps 55lb at ten sets of 20 lifts(started at 55, sorry I just dont know how to get stronger here even when I'm not high). You pretty much get that there has been improvement. Also if you must know, I'm not very educated in dieting techniques which factors muscle growth. 2) Overall Feeling: For me time slows down while being high, so that means for every minute I rest, I feel as if I took a 30 min rest... So actually I take like 10-30 seconds rest per interval because the THC tricks me into thinking I took a 5 min break and should quickly hop back on. There is a tremendously higher tolerance of the burning sensation when high. Funny how weed gets some people tired, but when I work out on it, there is definitely a significant decrease in fatigue. The only time I feel tired is when I lean, lay down, etc resting positions.  3) Psycological Effects: It fantastically makes going to the gym a habitual routine. Constantly looking forward to hit the gym.  One negative although is that after the gym I cant sleep. Two doctors told me its most likely because I go to the gym late at night (1:00 am when there is no waiting in line for the weights) and that exercise before bed tells your body to be alert which is the opposite effect of what I want to do but I still do it. (not worth being in a crowded gym) 4) Physical Effects: When high I feel my heart rate go faster. Then again I do not have a heart monitor so I do not really know. Sometimes When I lift so much I feel it really beating fast, but keep in mind I'm resting like 10-30 seconds because of the "slow-time" feeling. (Many doctors believe that the human heart maximum heart rate goes up to 220. my professor, who was a swimmer for the Olympics in Bajin, claimed, along with many athletes, that she went over 220 bpm plenty of times and was still ok) So keep track of your rest times proportionally with the way you feel. As for you skeptics who say I'm going to blow my heart out, WOW!... Did I mention I had this routine going on for about two years? I took a physical because I caught a ring worm once and was told my heart rate was great (94;because I was an athlete). This was one of the same doctors I asked about working out late at night. 4) Cons: The bad thing about getting high and going to the gym is getting there. The risk of driving is daunting and not worth a DUI. Costly because weed isnt dirt cheap either. While being high I noticed a significant drop in cardio when high, but no change really when off of it (could be different for everyone; I smoked in-between triathlon workouts and still improved cardio ).  To be safe, just stick to anything that involves less than 40 reps. When you hit that zone where you're body is maxed out you will feel a huge sense of fatigue IF laying down, leaning, etc. So make sure you dont slouch or relax too much. Lastly you are always thirsty so always and I mean always bring a bottle of water. 5) Positives: I've had dramatic changes in my physical tone, athletic ability, and outlook towards the gym. Positive changes in mood towards important matters- possibly because of improvement in health due to exercise, not weed. More energy in my everyday life. I seem to be less stressed out about not thinking too much about the time, dedication, and effort to stay in shape. Also, for me that is, the thought of just not wanting to work out because of the pain, soreness, and agony you go through when lifting so much and tearing of your muscles goes away. Lastly when I work out with music I get really into the beats and flow with it according to my lifting pattern. (maybe i'm just weird) 6) Personal: For those skeptics who say that weed is bad or it is defective towards your health, or those who claim to have memory loss. I'm not going to lie to you and like this post i'll be objective and straight forward. I'm in college and studying to become a mathematician and hopefully will go back to school to finish off in computer science. I pulled off my 1st year 16 units each semester with 8 A's and one C total (stupid reason I got a C... Prof. didnt tell me I had to get certified even after I continuously asked him over the semester what should I do next and how was I doing, nor did I ever receive  a syllabus) My second year, whether you believe it or not, I decided to amp up the units and took 19 units each semester receiving 6 A's my first semester and  I am currently in my second semester and just finished midterms. Guess what grades I'm holding up thus far?  I'm going to end my personal opinion with this: I personally believe weed is like a tool. It depends on the purpose, how you use it, and how you measure up to its responsibility. Just know what is REAL, because every decision you make you are held accountable for it. For those of you who don't smoke, great for you too I hope staying away from smoking has brought you great glee and joy as much as smoking has done for me, possibly even more. Thank you for your time, I hope I shined some light into this subject for those curious about its effects under certain situations.
undeadteapot undeadteapot 5 years
very very late comment, but i'm gonna stop and say i can personally attest to the absolute brilliance of working out while high. i hike when i'm high. i bike when i'm high. i run and board too. i've lost 43 pounds and counting because weed is that effective. sativa and indica are two different highs, and everybody's high is different. it does not make all of us drowsy and stupid. it's also thought clearing, stress relieving, energizing, and all around badass. It's the cure for many, many ailments, and it was key in get a hold in my life. i was gonna diabetic, and since picking it up, i get better sleep and i can workout harder. there is nothing, nothing, NOTHING dumb about working out after a bowl. if you haven't tried it, don't diss it.
strangehunny strangehunny 6 years
Not illegal here in California where people seem more informed. I guess it should not shock me how ridiculously stupid some people are about pot. Seems odd to me that someone would not think twice about a glass of wine or a cigarette and then condemn someone for pot. Pot is less harmful than tylenol yet I bet 95% of people do not even know that. Ever take a tylenol before a workout? Bet you had to take another afterward. Tylenol destroys your liver...pot...nope! There is SO much misinformation out there. The public has been indoctrinated against pot without merit.
Runningz Runningz 6 years
I work out 5 days a week, I do 3 days high 2 days not, While I can see where the writer of this article is coming from, its something you have to try to have an opinion on. Firstly I vaporise, this eliminates the harmful effects, And I only vape a little, Not a huge dose, just a small amount to help me focus on my body and my run. Sure it increases heart rate, But thats what you want to do while running, I use a heart rate monitor also. Ultimately people should do what they want, Its not essential for running, but its not "unhealthy" either, You just gotta be smart, not eat heaps after the run, be aware you are a little uncoordinated, and enjoy the run. XOX
lifelover2 lifelover2 6 years
I wanted to say something about a comment made a while ago on this forum... Jayde said something like you either commit to being healthy or you don't. Reading that really made me irritated because I pride myself on my ability to balance things. I think that comment is the reason so many people are not healthy! I used to think that if I had popcorn and chocolate at the movies one night that I may as well eat crappy the next day too because I wasn't "healthy". The best advice I ever received was that it's never too late to get on the bandwagon. People should adopt the mentality that you can snack on things you want, and do "deviant" things (like smoking pot) once in a while and not feel so guilty to the point where you never want to be "healthy" again. And I know that this is about exercising WHILE being high and not just smoking in between. Well, like someone else already said, I occasionally like to take a few puffs before I go for a run -- it helps me concentrate on my breathing and it helps me focus and actually makes me run much longer than I ever would without it. That's my personal experience though and I wouldn't recommend it per se -- I just know how my body works best.
groovygurl groovygurl 6 years
I've been researching on any negative health effects smoking marijuana before running might have. So far, I've found none that concern me. The only real concern I've read is that it may increase your heart too much. Which is that even really a concern? Anyways, I've been in track for 3 years now. 4th place district champ in the 100m dash, pole vault and went to state for the 4x100 relay and I smoke almost every day. Since track is done with now, I like to keep in shape and i recently started smoking before running. It makes it so much more enjoyable. I usually push myself and I've found that I can work just as hard with less pain and it does not affect my breathing at all. After the run, I have a runners high as well as being stoned and it seriously is one of the best feelings I've ever felt. Being a dedicated athlete, it's hard for me to run everyday but pot has encouraged me to stay in shape because of how enjoyable the runs are baked. :D
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