There’s nothing like the feeling you get after crushing a sweat-dripping, muscles-screaming-at-you workout. Whether you’re the kind of person who loves the intensity of a HIIT spin class or you prefer to hit the yoga mat for a vinyasa flow, you get a rush when you’re filled with endorphins from physical exertion.
The not-so-desirable part? Post-fitness soreness.
What you do after your workout is important to yield the results you want from your workout, like muscle gain. To perform at your optimal level the next time you exercise, you must ensure your body is properly restored and revitalized. Exercise recovery often includes things like stretching, foam rolling, massage, and supplements. But what if you could help counter the physical and mental fatigue that accompanies you post-workout with a simple drink? This is where kava enters and helps save the day.
Kava is an all-natural way to help combat muscle soreness, reduce your risk of injury, boost recovery, and improve your sleep after a serious sweat session. You pushed yourself to the limit during your workout. Now let kava slip you away to an oasis of relaxation for the mind and body as you recover. Below, we’ll explore how kava tea and other kava products can help you maximize your workout game.
Why Mix Kava and Exercise?
If you’ve ever woken up sore, stiff, and tired after a workout, it’s because your body hasn’t finished repairing the microtears brought on through the process of building new muscle. Your muscle fibers can only repair when they are at rest. By drinking kava after a workout, you may benefit from its inherent relaxing properties.
The calming effects of kava root drinks are due to a combination of the main active ingredients in the plant, known as kavalactones. Kavalactones interact with the limbic system of the brain and, as a result, can help act as natural pain relievers while relaxing the mind and body. There are thought to be 18 different kavalactones, with most active properties coming from six of them. Each kava variety has a different composition of these six kavalactones, which is why each kava variety has different relaxation effects, ranging from “heady” to “heavy.” The best part is that kava is a non-addictive, natural, and convenient way to boost your recovery so you can get more out of your fitness routine.
4 Benefits of Drinking Kava After Exercise
Used by islanders in the Pacific for centuries for social rituals, religious ceremonies, and medicinal purposes, kava is well known for its euphoriant, anesthetic, and sedative properties. It is quickly gaining popularity among athletes and those committed to an active lifestyle though of the benefits it offers in helping them relax and recover post-workout. Here are just four potential benefits of combining kava and exercise:
1. Better Sleep, Better Muscle Growth
Sleep is an important part of muscle growth. It’s during sleep that our body produces the hormones necessary to build muscle. But if you struggle to sleep after a workout due to muscle tension or soreness, your body will take longer to recover and, thus, build less muscle. The kavalactones in kava (especially heavy kava varieties) may assist with relaxing you, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay sleeping soundly through the night.
2. Improved Focus
Exercise is beneficial to the body and mind. However, excessive training can lead to mental fatigue and an inability to focus. While you may be inclined to reach for your favorite coffee or energy drink to revive your cognitive state, these options can make you feel jittery, tense, or about to crash. Unlike these beverages, kava can help clear your mind and re-establish focus with a natural, uplifting calm.
3. Natural Muscle Relaxer
Another positive effect of kava can be experienced after drinking heavy varieties of kava. Heavy kava varieties (called heavy because they can make your body feel mildly sedated, relaxed, and “heavy” from the unique blend of kavalactones) can help relax the body’s muscles and experience a gentle form of sedation. Many people say that after drinking kava their body feels the same as after a good massage or session of yoga.
4. Reduce Muscle Soreness
The overuse of your muscles and buildup of lactic acid during strenuous exercise often leaves you with post-workout soreness for a day or two. Instead of turning to your trusty bottle of Ibuprofen or harsher opioids for relief, consider trying kava instead. Kava’s kavalactones have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which can help ease muscle tension and soreness.
How to Take Kava After a Workout
After you’ve finished exercising, take a few minutes to complete some stretching, let your heart rate decrease, and rehydrate with water. Then, based on which kava product you choose, mix, brew, or blend up your favorite kava variety (learn an easy kava preparation method here), whether that be medium grind Loa Waka, micronized Borogu, or guava kava concentrate. At Kalm with Kava, we offer a variety of medium grind kava root powers, micronized kava root powders, kava extract concentrates, and kava mints to fit every relaxation need.
Wondering about kava dosage and how much to take during recovery? Personal preference ultimately dictates how much kava to take, but feel free to experiment with varieties, serving sizes, and products, mixing up brews of different strengths, trying more than one serving in a kava drinking session, etc. Just remember, kava is a diuretic, so it’s important to drink lots of water before and while consuming it to ensure you stay hydrated post-workout.
Some general dosage guidelines for types of kava preparation would be to add 2-4 tablespoons of medium grind kava to 8-12 ounces of water. With micronized kava, you add one tablespoon to 4-8 ounces of the drink of your choice. And for the concentrates, just dilute 1 ounce of kava concentrate with 5 ounces of water to make a quick, tasty kava drink.
What Kava Variety Should I Use?
Choosing the best kava variety to pair with your post-workout routine largely depends on what kava effects you are looking for, the time of day you will consume it, and whether you will be using the products at home or while on the go.
For the early riser who likes to hit up the 5:30 a.m. spin class before heading to work, a heady kava variety in micronized form could help you feel more energetic and ready to take on the day the kava way. And since it’s easily slipped into your morning smoothie, you won’t miss a beat on your commute to work. Our medium grind and micronized heady kava varieties include Pouni Ono, Samoa Ava, and our House Blend Kava (House Blend is only available in medium grind form).
For the busy professional who needs to squeeze in a quick workout on their lunch break, a balanced kava variety in micronized form may be a good fit, since it has a combination of heavy and heady kava effects in an easy-to-drink form. Our medium grind and micronized balanced kava varieties include Borogu and Loa Waka.
For the mom who only has a momentary lull in her day for exercise after putting the kids to bed, a heavy kava variety could help her unwind and get ready for bed post-workout. Heavy varieties are also helpful muscle relaxers, a great complement for easing the tight muscles in your shoulders after an evening lifting session. Our medium grind and micronized heavy kava varieties include Melomelo and Borongoru.
Make Kava a Part of Your Fitness Routine
No matter where you are currently in your fitness journey, it’s important to remember to honor and nourish your body after exercising by investing in a post-workout routine. Next time you are in recovery mode, consider incorporating kava into your regimen. At Kalm with Kava, we carry a wide selection of premium kava products originating in the very heart of the Pacific from Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa. We only sell 100% Noble kava for maximum relaxation, quality, and freshness. Put the #kalm back into your fitness routine and buy kava root from Kalm with Kava today!