To understand what inspires Jim McAlpine, a fit and exuberant 46-year-old, you must conjure an image of the American stoner. Are you picturing someone heavy-lidded, couch-bound, and struggling to make an animated GIF of that Big Lebowski scene without knocking his bong off the coffee table? That stereotype drives McAlpine crazy, and he’s made it his mission to change it. This spring, the surfer, skier, and weed lover will open the world’s first cannabis fitness center in San Francisco.
Power Plant Fitness will be a premier gym, McAlpine says, not just a hangout for potheads. Though, to be clear, there will be weed. He’s still hammering out the details, but McAlpine envisions offering cannabis performance assessments, in which trainers help determine how the plant can help an athlete work out before guiding them through weed-assisted fitness plans. In addition, McAlpine hopes, members will be free to buy and consume cannabis on site, including Power Plant’s own line of edibles, which he says are “made for pre-workout focus and post-workout recovery.”
McAlpine believes that fitness will increasingly be a pillar of the ever exploding cannabis industry. “If you use it right,” he says, “cannabis takes the things you love and lets you love them more. With fitness that can help get you into the zone, into eye-of-the-tiger mode.”
The vision isn’t completely far-fetched. While studies dating back to the 1970s have shown that marijuana use slows reaction time and diminishes motor skills, more recent research suggests that the chemical compounds in cannabis can help increase your pain threshold, reduce anxiety, and combat inflammation.
McAlpine says he’s seen enough proof—both in his own workouts and in fellow athletes—to press ahead. He partnered with former NFL running back Ricky Williams to get seed money for the first Power Plant Fitness gym, scheduled to open in May in San Francisco’s Mission District. And plans are under way to add locations in Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, Denver, and Portland, Oregon.
Now that eight states (including California) and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, hopes for an all-new approach to fitness are high.