fitness, Food

Kava for Post-Workout Recovery

kava postworkout hemp honey

Last week, I listened to a 2015 interview that Tim Ferriss did with legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton; his wife, former pro-volleyball player Gabrielle Reece; and CrossFit Endurance founder Brian MacKenzie. Hamilton and Reece mention a post-workout drink they concocted that includes pepper, among other ingredients.

When they talked about this drink, I immediately thought of kava, which is a traditional Fijian drink made from pulverized pepper root.

I wrote a feature on kava for Agence-France Presse.

Typically, the kava root is grounded into a powder, placed inside a porous bag, and mixed by hand with water in a ceremonial bowl.

Taki Mai is a local brand that is trying to modernize kava drinking for on-the-go behavior with its instant powder mix. We have a pack of it at home, and I made myself a serving after listening to the interview to see what the effects would be for me after a workout. For context, I had finished a workout a few hours earlier, and I work out at least five days a week.

I felt less muscle soreness the next day. I’ve been experimenting with drinking a glass of kava after workouts for a few days, and the effect seems to be consistent: my muscles are less tight.

There are some negative side effects of kava consumption, so it’s best not to overindulge. I recommend trying a small serving and observing how your body responds.

I have been mixing about a tablespoon of instant kava powder with about a cup of cold water to drink after a workout. I shake it in a Taki Mai tumbler before serving. The tumbler comes with a sphere-like metal spring inside to evenly distribute the powder. The drink has a chalky flavor, but the taste improves if you add honey. I tried some Colorado Hemp Honey in mine.

The Taki Mai brand is owned by Fiji Kava, which has an official partnership with Fiji Rugby to enhance player recovery. I can understand why now: kava does seem to help ease sore muscles.