By Ellen Holland on May 26, 2016
Last year Jim McAlpine ate half of a 180 milligram Kiva bar and jumped in the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay. The founder of the 420 Games says at 46-years-old swimming is the best sport for his knees and laughs when he says the edible was the only way he could have survived the cold and boredom associated with the mile and a half swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco.
“I was so eye of the tiger focusing on my stroke,” he says.
McAlpine, like many athletes, uses cannabis for focus and has now paired with former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams to open a marijuana-friendly gym in San Francisco.
“Think of the yin and the yang of the body and mind,” McAlpine says of the marijuana gym concept. “We’re a body and mind training center. We’re going to get your body right and we’re going to get your mind right.”
Set to open in the fall, Power Plant Fitness, will allow for both vaporizing and edibles alongside a regimented fitness program designed by Williams. Although others have spread the word of marijuana-infused fitness, McAlpine says he believes Power Plant is the the world’s first cannabis gym. San Francisco law prohibits smoking indoors, but McAlpine said the 6,000 square foot location, which is still being firmed up, will be permitted for vaping.
McAlpine explains that each membership to Power Plant Fitness, which will range from a base rate of $100-$150, will include an in-house medical marijuana doctor’s consultation. He says like the 420 Games — a series of athletic runs designed to de-stigmatize marijuana use — having the medical marijuana doctor’s consultation onsite at the gym helps to normalize and breakdown barriers by placing the process of getting a recommendation, which can be intimidating for many users, in the same category as simply going to the gym.
In terms of the day-to-day at Power Plant Fitness, McAlpine explains each gym member will be provided with a “cannabis performance assessment” that will determine their individual tolerance levels and allow them to begin a healthy, well-rounded fitness routine that pairs with their lifestyle. Williams will be writing the gym’s cross-discipline fitness curriculum designed to ingrain cannabis into both training and recovery routines. While there’s nothing stopping anyone from eating an edible and going to workout at a traditional gym, the focus here will be a transparency in combining the beneficial effects of cannabis alongside physical fitness. Not only will gym members not have to hide their high, they can discuss how to improve their exercising techniques with marijuana.
This February, Williams told a panel at the Southwestern Cannabis Conference and Expo about his experiences using cannabis after his first season with the Miami Dolphins in 2002.
“I’d get home from practice and my body would be hurting and my mind would be racing,” he said. “I’d use cannabis to chill and get some sleep.”
And as much as marijuana can work for healing the body after workout, it can also provide help in controlling the mind while one is in training. For McAlpine, including edibles into his fitness routine helps him achieve what’s known as a flow state, or the period of exercise when a clarity of mind is achieved and things start to slow down.
“It’s when you’re in the zone really,” McAlpine says. “[Cannabis] helps me focus my mind on the athletic activity.”
And staying focused can be key whether swimming the shark-infested waters of the frigid San Francisco Bay or expanding an athletic empire of marijuana. McAlpine has plans to franchise the cannabis gym and is already shopping for an additional location in San Francisco as well as Los Angeles.
Do you work out while high? Tell us about your experiences below.