Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson recently revealed that a flask of tequila is an essential part of his gym bag, and popular podcast host Joe Rogan admitted to hitting the gym after smoking marijuana. These pre-workout indulgences may seem extreme, but how many everyday people are preparing for their workouts like these celebrities?
It can be nice to enjoy a beer or wine to commemorate special occasions, but at what point do those substances become vices that negatively impact our health goals and gym gains?
To gain some insight into how popular buzzed workouts are among the public, we conducted a survey of nearly 1,000 people to find out how common the practice is and if they noticed a change in their workouts. Do people who workout get better results when they moderate their marijuana or alcohol use? Read on to find out!
Balancing Alcohol, Marijuana, and Exercise
Lots of conflicting research has emerged in recent years about the health benefits and risks of drinking even small amounts of alcohol. Similarly, the scientific community is somewhat split about marijuana’s health impact. Given all the information that exists about these two widely used substances, do people who exercise regularly think marijuana and alcohol use can be part of a wholesome lifestyle?
Nearly a quarter of respondents strongly agreed that marijuana can exist as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, those who viewed themselves as extremely or moderately fit were less likely to feel this way than those who were less fit. While most people would denounce smoking as a detriment to a healthy lifestyle, cannabis can be consumed through a variety of mediums that don’t affect the lungs, including edibles, tinctures, and even tea.
By comparison, just 14.5% of people strongly agreed that moderate drinking could be part of a healthy lifestyle. On average, people who worked out regularly consumed nearly eight alcoholic drinks per week, and used marijuana twice each week.
Toking Up at the Gym
Roughly 3 in 10 survey participants found that their workout productivity was improved after the consumption of marijuana: 44% reported feeling more relaxed, 38% had more enjoyable workouts, and 35.5% had more fun while exercising. One major property of cannabis is its ability to relax the body’s muscles, which could provide fitness enthusiasts with benefits before or after their workout.
In terms of negative drawbacks that may stem from pre-workout cannabis use, 9.1% said their workouts were less productive than normal. Over 37% of those who’d exercised after consuming cannabis reported hunger having the biggest impact.
Cannabis receptors fit seamlessly into the endocannabinoid system of the brain, including within the part of the brain that allows us to process smell and taste. This contributes to the phenomenon known as “the munchies.”
Additionally, respondents reported feeling slower and more dehydrated during a workout while under the influence of cannabis.
Boozing Before Exercise
Pre-workout alcohol consumption led to less-productive workouts for more than a third of those who’d tried drinking before the gym. For those who imbibed before exercise, many reported feeling dehydrated (46%) and fatigued (43%).
Dehydration and fatigue are common side effects of going overboard on alcohol consumption, but perspiring during a workout will also double down on dehydration. Feeling weak or tired is often a sign of poor hydration and even just one serving of alcohol can exacerbate that effect.
Regardless of quality, finding time to get a workout in between work, school, family, or personal obligations can be tough. Balancing those aspects of life often means moving around schedules as needed and working in exercise time around social and professional gatherings, such as happy hours: Almost 30% of respondents who’ve consumed alcohol before a workout hit the gym right after a happy hour gathering.
Fighting Hangovers at the Gym
Anyone who’s had a hangover from overdoing it on alcohol knows how crummy they can be, but could the elusive hangover cure we’ve been searching for be as close as our local gym? Although 58% of people who’ve worked out during a hangover said they’d recommend the idea to others, it’s probably not a panacea.
When you’re hungover, your body is fatigued. This extra strain could be why those who were fittest in our survey were most likely to recommend a hangover workout. Almost 66% of fitness-aligned respondents would recommend fighting the hangover blues with a trip to the gym, while 53% of those who said they aren’t fit would rather nurse their illness elsewhere.
In as little as 30 minutes, exercise boosts the levels of serotonin, norphenylephrine, and endorphins in the brain, neurotransmitters that are designed to relieve pain and promote an overall good feeling. Therefore, the effects of a night of drinking could be relieved by a trip to the gym. Our respondents found significant success with high-intensity workouts, with 35.5% of people feeling “much better” after some hard-hitting exercise.
Despite our respondents’ recommendations, it’s important to listen to your body. Nausea and a 5K run don’t sound like a fun combo, so if you have an upset stomach, it may be better to focus on a static yoga class or some mild stretching instead. A hangover might also earn you a free pass to skip the workout altogether: You’re at a higher risk of dangerous dehydration and even clumsiness if you try to sweat it out at the gym.
Exercising, Drinking, and Using Marijuana
When you embark on a fitness regimen, your life can change in many ways, from your diet to your sleep habits. Some also make changes to their alcohol and marijuana consumption. According to our study, 22% either stopped or reduced their marijuana intake when they began working out, and nearly half stopped or reduced their drinking.
Some studies show that reducing alcohol intake could aid fitness outcomes. For instance, alcohol may inhibit efforts to lose weight in the long run and has been linked to liver damage and disease.
However, a significant number of respondents stuck to their cannabis and alcohol intake levels: Almost 33% of marijuana users and 35% of drinkers maintained the same levels of consumption after adopting a workout regimen.
Planning for a Health-Conscious Tomorrow
Committing to a healthier lifestyle can inspire someone to make dramatic adjustments to their current way of life or promote a better future for themselves. While it may be possible to enjoy an occasional beer or cocktail as part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s best to keep these substances outside the gym for your safety. Always consult with your doctor before trying a new workout regimen or when changing your alcohol or substance use habits.
When thinking about your own health goals, turn to FitRated for building the gym of your dreams to stay on track. Compare top fitness equipment manufacturers and read through detailed resource guides devoted to everything related to home gyms and exercise bikes.
To qualify for this study, participants had to report working out at least once per week. Qualifying participants then answered questions based on the substances they’d consumed prior to a workout at least once in their lives. They answered based on the most recent time they’d performed a workout under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. The breakdown of participants was as follows:
- Marijuana: 289
- Alcohol and marijuana: 150
- Alcohol: 289
- Neither substance: 247
46.7% of participants were women, 53% were men, and 0.3% were nonbinary or did not report an answer. They ranged in age from 19 to 79 with a mean of 35.9 and a standard deviation of 10.6.
Outliers were removed from the numerical data.
Fitrated.com does not advise exercising under the influence of any substances. This study reflects the views of its participants only and should not be confused with medical recommendations.
Since we set a quota to prioritize participants who had consumed alcohol or marijuana before exercising, these numbers are not representative of the population. Data are neither weighted nor statistically tested and are based on means alone.
The study was conducted using an online survey, so participation was limited to persons with access to the internet.
Fair Use Statement
Starting a fitness journey seems intimidating, but with the right support system, it’s possible to find the balance between enjoying all life has to offer and aligning your lifestyle with healthy choices. Share this information with friends and family who want to stay devoted to fitness. Be sure to only share these findings for noncommercial use and cite us when talking about our findings.