The Wonders of Working Out with Weed

Article by Lester Black, The Stranger

Two years ago, I left Seattle on a bicycle and rode 1,400 miles down the Pacific Coast. It was an amazing, life-changing experience that was also frequently boring. As the scenery changed from state to state, my process remained utterly the same—push the pedal down, push the other pedal down, repeat. I quickly realized that weed was a wonderful medicine when you’re working out for more than 10 hours a day, every single day. Luckily I had stocked up on cannabis from a medical dispensary.

People have probably realized the benefits of using cannabis while being active for thousands of years. But legalization has allowed certain athletes and trainers to publicly support the combination.

Joel Benjamin, who runs cannabis-friendly yoga classes at his Yogasmith studio in Georgetown, said cannabis can help you practice in ways you hadn’t thought of before. “It can definitely be a nice way to mix your practice up. It opens up your body just like it opens up your mind, it can be very freeing,” Benjamin said. “People who have the same practice that they do every time they roll out their mat can suddenly find themselves moving in new ways.”

The majority of personal trainers I contacted declined to be interviewed for this story, but Ivy Karlinsky, a personal trainer at Transform 180 Training in Belltown, said she was skeptical of the benefits of using cannabis while lifting weights. “I can’t say that I would feel comfortable in a gym setting training someone who was under the influence of anything,” Karlinsky said. She added that she didn’t know of any trainers in Seattle who were receptive to the idea.

But if you move to San Francisco, you could soon join the world’s first cannabis-friendly gym. Jim McAlpine is planning on opening Power Plant Fitness in February and said the gym will have a specific area for smoking, vaping, or eating weed. McAlpine has also created a line of edibles, and he started the 420 Games, a friendly competition event that travels around the country. It took place in Seattle’s Magnuson Park last July.

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