Cannabis in Olympic Weightlifting

I’ve been a weightlifter for 10 years, seven of which I spent competing at the national level. Our training consists of daily workouts (sometimes twice a day) 5-6 days a week, for months on end. We inflict a great deal of stress on our bodies to become stronger, faster, more flexible, and more rigid. When you push your body far enough, the central nervous system begins to fatigue, and for many athletes this leads to an absolute lack of appetite and bouts of insomnia.

At the moment you need the most sleep, nutrients, and energy, your body actually becomes so fatigued that it starts to sabotage itself. When this happens for consecutive days, the training begins to suffer – this affects athletes from many sports. Not receiving adequate rest or nutrition will keep any athlete from recovering, and will very likely lead to injury or even mental and physical burnout. Lifters and athletes from all sports deal with this differently. Some of the best weightlifters in the world deal with this by smoking marijuana after training. They regain their appetite back and are able to get some productive sleep, which is essential for mental and physical recovery.

However, there are drawbacks for weightlifters who smoke weed. For instance, rigidity seems to be lowered. In weightlifting, the most efficient approach is to lift the bar to the proper height, pull yourself under, and catch it without allowing the bar to drop and gain downward momentum, which will require energy to stop.  If you are soft, you will not be able to catch the bar and stop it in place, which will result in increased momentum that you must stop. Smoking a lot the day before or in the recent past will make you soft.

Its important to mention that athletes should never train high. It’s unlikely your workout will be productive, and you will increase your chances of getting injured.  However, small amounts of cannabis after training can assist in proper sleep and nutrition… just don’t smoke so much that you reduce your performance. Just like Goldilocks, who coincidentally was seeking nutrition and rest (porridge and a bed), cannabis use by athletes has to be just right.

In conclusion, consuming the right amount of cannabis at strategic times could be very helpful for recovery.

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