Although the media has traditionally portrayed marijuana users as lazy and inactive, Ricky Williams, a former professional football player, wants to showcase the drug’s athletic benefits by opening up the world’s first gym where athletes are allowed to smoke while working out. Although the concept may sound farfetched, Williams is far from the only athlete to claim that marijuana may actually help improve a workout.

Williams, a former running back who played for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens, has teamed up with snowboard company executive Jim McAlpine to create Power Plant Fitness, a gym where members will be allowed to smoke pot while working out, Newser reported. For those who prefer not to smoke marijuana, edible and weed-infused gels will be available.

According to Williams, the purpose of allowing marijuana use at the gym is not to get trainers high. The former athlete, who was personally suspended from the NFL for having marijuana in his system, claims that the drug can help you relax and focus better while training.

“It's not about getting high. It's about keeping my mind engaged in the activity I'm in," said McAlpine, The LA Times reported.

For now, gym membership will only be available for those with medical marijuana licenses, but Newser reports that this could change if California voters legalize recreational pot use in a November vote.

Williams is not the first athlete to come out in support of combining marijuana and exercise. The drug is also popular among long-distance runners who claim it helps to enhance the running experience, avoid fatigue and boredom during long runs, and combats joint and muscle pain, The Guardian reported.

“I’d say 50% of the runners I meet are avid cannabis users, whether it’s at night or all day or just during or after runs,” said Avery Collins, an ultramarathoner who recently spoke to The Guardian about marijuana use among runners. “I’d say almost none of them are open about it.”

According to Gregory Gerdeman, an assistant professor of biology at Eckerd College who has studied the effect of exercise on mood and brain chemistry, athletes may enjoy incorporating marijuana into their workouts because it mirrors the natural euphoria, or “runner’s high” experienced by long-distance runners. Along with giving a feeling of euphoria, the THC in marijuana also affects the part of the brain responsible for regulating appetite, pain-sensation, and emotions, all important factors for serious athletes.

Some even propose that marijuana could enhance one's athletic ability, though many runners such as Collins prefer to eat cannabis edibles rather than smoke the drug.

“It’s conceivable that cannabis could benefit someone who is just starting an exercise routine,” said Gerdeman, who added that cannabis’ tendency to elevate heart rate could make the drug dangerous for someone who is older or may not be used to exercising.

Still, despite the mixed public reviews and the lack of concrete scientific evidence on whether or not there are actual benefits to smoking weed while working out, the Power Plant Fitness is set to open later this year and Williams hopes it will help to change the way we view marijuana smokers.

"I think a lot of people buy into the stoner stereotype where guys just sit on the couch, smoke and don't do anything, and they're not very motivated," said Williams. "I found when I was playing football that using cannabis helped me relax physically, relax mentally and even spiritually."