Footage of Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger in his 1970s documentary Pumping Iron smoking cannabis (in all his bodybuilding glory) is now memorialized worldwide as a popular internet meme. Schwarzenegger probably didn’t realize it at the time, but he was sending a big message: Athletes can enjoy cannabis and still be taken seriously. Fast forward to 2017, cannabis is experiencing a renaissance that’s marked by a new holistic user, one who embraces health and integrates this versatile plant into a comprehensive wellness program. While competing professional athletes still need to be wary of regulations, these five role models have become synonymous with cannabis and fitness.
“Fast forward to 2017, cannabis is experiencing a renaissance that’s marked by a new holistic user, one who embraces health and integrates this versatile plant into a comprehensive wellness program.”
Florida fishing aficionado, elite multisport athlete, strength trainer and healthy lifestyle coach Cliff Drusinsky has won numerous trophies competing in major triathlons. He’s also an advocate of eating clean nutritious foods for fuel as well as a vocal proponent of the benefits of cannabis in sports training. In an interview with the fitness focused magazine Men’s Journal, Drusinsky explains, “Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place.” Like most athletes who use cannabis to enhance their gains, Drusinsky appreciates how cannabis helps him concentrate. “When I get high, I train smarter and focus on form,” he says. Drusinsky’s been known to utilize cannabis edibles, in particular, to help facilitate more focused workouts and training sessions. In addition to traditional marathons, Drusinsky’s an avid Ironman competitor. The competitions combine a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle race with a 26.22 mile marathon, in that order, without a break.
MMA fighter Ronda Rousey is the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo. She is the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. In September 2015, voters in an online ESPN poll selected Rousey as the Best Female Athlete Ever, and we have to agree. In 2015, Rousey came out in support of her friend, UFC welterweight Nick Diaz, who was suspended for five years after testing positive for cannabis. Rousey is vehemently opposed to testing for cannabis in MMA sports. “I’m against testing for weed at all,” she said. “It’s not a performance enhancing drug. And it has nothing to do with competition. It’s only tested for political reasons.” Keep fighting the good fight, Ms. Rousey; we’re with you.
Known as “one of the greatest freestyle skiers of all time,” Tanner Hall has won four silver and seven X Games gold medals. In a deal with Denver cannabis accessories company Black Rock Originals, Hall launched the SKI BOSS Collection, which offers essentials to winter mountain ski fans for on-the-go adventure, including pocket sized credit card-style grinders and rice rolling papers. In The New Yorker, Hall explained his positive relationship with cannabis. “I used it when I competed at the X Games,” he said. “It helps with the stress, with the anxiety. And then, afterwards, as a relaxing agent and pain reliever . . . I wouldn’t think about not using when I ski . . . .I’ve used it on a daily basis for about half my life, since I was maybe 18 or 19.” Hall also used cannabis to recover from a debilitating crash at Stevens Pass in Washington where he broke both legs and blew out both ACLs. After prescription painkillers contributed to weight gain and difficulties getting back in shape, Hall switched back to cannabis. In a Grindtv.com interview, Hall explained, “I actually, like, got back to skiing, because I threw all [the pills] away, started going to the gym and smoking marijuana.”
Frostee Rucker is a NFL American football defensive player for the Arizona Cardinals. Formerly, he played for the Cincinnati Bengals after being drafted from USC in the 2006 NFL Draft. Along with NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, Rucker became a financial backer to a pro-cannabis legalization group during his Ohio days. In 2015, the group successfully placed a cannabis legalization initiative on the ballot. While Rucker, Robertson and other notable Ohio celebs moved the initiative toward public vote, they also invested in owning what would become several of 10 legal cannabis farms. Unfortunately, voters did not pass legalization in that election. While Rucker is still an active player in the NFL, certainly one of many who would like see the league approve the use of medical, the NFL has yet to clear the way. The NFL is currently reviewing its cannabis policy while players active and retired claim that a majority among them rely on cannabis to help with injuries and pain, especially as an alternative to opiates. Yet today, players testing positive for cannabis remain open to fines and suspension.
In San Francisco, California, businessman Jim McAlpine is the founder of the cannabis consumption friendly Power Plant Fitness gym, The 420 Games and cannabis industry conference New West Summit. Ex-NFL running back Ricky Williams is his Power Plant Fitness partner who’s been outspoken about using cannabis to treat injuries during his years playing for the Saints, Dolphins and Ravens. Called “one of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry” by The Cannabist, McAlpine is a lifetime amateur baseball player and self-proclaimed conqueror of the 1.4 mile swim from Alcatraz while on cannabis. His goal? To de-stigmatize the stereotype of the “lazy” cannabis consumer. According to an interview with Cashinbis.com, McAlpine focuses firmly on adult-use. “A very important part of The 420 Games is that we strive to teach youth to abstain from using cannabis until they are old enough mentally and physically to do so. Instead of preaching to them ‘JUST SAY NO,’” he says. “We use the fact that a developing athletes body and mind can be stunted by cannabis use and it is best to wait till you are at least 18 to consider it.”