It’s off-season, so we thought we’d give you a list of sports movies and fitness films to binge on that won’t leave you feeling too lax
Lead photo from official trailer
We’ve thought a productive way to spend your downtime: watching how the most inspiring names in sports, well, made a name for themselves. Here are biopics, documentaries, and a few health-centric films that can get you training like a true athlete:
“Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man Alive” (2012)
A few months ago, Usain Bolt shocked the world by announcing that he was ditching sprinting for football. But before all that, the legendary Jamaican athlete once aspired to be so fast he could run through water. This documentary details Bolt’s journey to become the first sprinter to win three golds (100 and 200 meters and 100-meter relay) in consecutive Olympic Games.
“GLOW: The Story Behind the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” (2012)
The “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” was the first women’s professional wrestling TV show whose campy, unapologetic wrestling matches (which included comedy sketches and rap battles) inspired a cult following when it first aired in 1996. This documentary offers a fascinating story about ‘80s wrestling (as well as its physically-tolling realities) as it chronicles the show’s all-women cast trying to make it in show business.
Relying heavily on archive racetrack footage and home video clips, this documentary tells the story of three-time Formula One racing champion Ayrton Senna whose death at 34 is considered one of the worst tragedies in the history of Formula One racing. The commentary-free film—whose raw and honest approach has garnered praise even from viewers who’ve never even heard of Senna—focuses on the Brazilian driver’s rivalry with fellow driver Alain Prost.
“The Magic Pill” (2017)
Much has been said about the keto diet. The wealth of information available online can be overwhelming, but if you don’t have time to research, watch this documentary instead. Following several people undergoing the diet, “The Magic Pill” is a film that takes a science-based approach to uncover the true benefits of (and debunking the myths of) what might seem like yet another fitness fad.
“Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness” (2017)
The name of this film is in reference to the fact that the annual CrossFit Games (held every summer in the US) dubs its winners the “fittest on Earth.” And its premise is straightforward—the movie simply follows athletes as they compete for the title of Fittest Person on Earth. Something to watch for when you’re in need of motivation.
“Pumping Iron” (1977)
Before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a household name, he was a serious weightlifter who went on to win Mr. Olympia (one of the most prestigious weightlifting competitions around the world) a total of seven times. This film chronicles Schwarzenegger’s rivalry with Lou Ferrigno as the latter attempts to snatch Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Olympia title. The intensity of each of their workouts provides a great sneak peek into the lives of professional weightlifters.
This film tells the story of how Brazilian football player Edson Arantes do Nascimento (better known as Pelé) became widely regarded as the best player to ever grace the pitch. From winning three World Cups to breaking countless other records in his inimitable career, Pelé has lived a wildly remarkable life—and the film shows just that, as it retells the athlete’s impoverished childhood in the crime-ridden favelas of Sao Paulo where he practiced his sport with rotten grapefruits. The biopic also sheds light on Pelé’s formative relationship with his father.
“The Armstrong Lie” (2013)
In 2012, cyclist Lance Armstrong was subjected to a doping investigation that led to his lifetime ban from professional competition. He was also stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Filmmaker Alex Gibney chronicles this controversy involving the now infamous athlete, spotlighting a rather sensitive—but very much pervasive—aspect of athletics that warrants serious discussion (and of course, subsequent action).