High on Health

Trainer Ian Armstrong on why you should take an edible before a workout

This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.

Name: Ian Armstrong, 31

City: Kihei, Hawaii, though I recently relocated to Branson, Missouri

Occupation: Fitness trainer & business strategist

Favorite Gym: I have a home gym. I also like Powerhouse Fitness in Kihei.

Do you have a favorite exercise playlist? Tabata. It’s pretty much any of your favorite music, or your favorite beat. It can be any genre, but it’s 20-second reps. If you do a Tabata class, the first 20-seconds might be a bicep curl. The second 20-seconds might be a shoulder press. The third might be abs. After that, you take a 40-second rest and then repeat the process. It combines high-intensity with interval training.

What’s the best food to eat prior to a workout? Generally boiled eggs & bacon. Eggs are pure protein. When you flavor them with something like bacon, suddenly it enhances them and it’s very, very healthy.

What’s the best outfit for working out? Anything from Under Armor. Compression with sweats over that, and a tank top or sweater. It fits my body and it’s comfy.

How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? I work out five or six times a day simply because of my client base. I’m a work-a-holic, and generally, a lot of my friends are in the cannabis industry. If I’m not working, I’m hanging out with friends in the industry. Most of my friends are also clients.

What’s a basic, if useful, work out tip you can offer? High-intensity interval training is much better in terms of muscle development and fat loss compared to standard cardio.

Obviously, you’re a big cannabis advocate. We hear about the benefits of cannabis for medical and health reasons. What role does cannabis play in helping you lead a prepared life? Cannabis, for most of the people I know and for myself especially, helps maintain a physical and the mental. In terms of the mental, I suffer from depression. Cannabis makes it so I don’t have to take Welbutrin [an antidepressant]. It’s a lot more beneficial. Fitness makes that need a lot less, but I’m generally happier when I’m working out.

Related: Phoenix nurse Noah Ashner on how going vegetarian increases sex drive

When it comes to cannabis, I microdose. My edibles contain 5-10 milligrams of THC. The edibles I make myself, and I also teach others in the cannabis industry how to make them. We use an isomalt base, which is a sugar substitute, so they’re diabetes-friendly. Isomalt, coconut THC extract and flavoring gives you the ability to make your own candy. It takes less than half an hour and is very easy. The important thing about isomalt is that it doesn’t mess with your blood sugar.

So for the physical aspect, when you are microdosing, your body is not going to be as sore from the workout. When I say high-intensity interval training is more effective than cardio, that is because you’re still keeping your heart rate really, really high, really elevated. That’s going to cause soreness and fatigue over the next few days. Because of that, cannabis actually stays in your system for up to 30 days, and microdosing can dramatically reduce that soreness. It makes the body feel great. The only thing that’s better is a spa treatment.

You’re also a big animal lover. How does having a pet contribute to staying mentally, physically and psychologically healthy?

Well, you learn a lot of different responsibilities really, really quickly. For example, you learn not to leave books on tables with puppies. It makes you more situationally aware of your surroundings than you would be normally. In terms of a healthy lifestyle, one thing I encourage friends to do is to go to your local animal shelter and see if they have a dog walking policy. A lot of people can’t have pets–they’re renting, they don’t have the time. If you stop by a local shelter you can actually walk the dogs for 10-15 minutes up to half an hour per day. You develop a bond with the animal. It’s mutually beneficial.

In terms of mental well-being, having a pet is paramount. It’s a companion. It helps keep you active. There are so many aspects it’s almost impossible to list them all.

What do you keep on your nightstand? My dog leash, my water, my book–right now it’s Clive Cussler’s Raise the Titanic–and an edible for the morning.

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