Inspirational fitness documentaries or shows
August 11, 2017 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I got a stationary bike recently that I like parking in front of the TV on days I don't run. I've found that watching videos/documentaries on fitness of any kind (whether marathon running or dancing) really keeps my motivation up when I'm spinning. What should I check out in this category that's worth watching?

I have access to Netflix (US), Hulu, and of course YouTube. I'd definitely prefer watching something more fitness-based than food or dieting.

I think I'll probably try to find American Ninja Warrior episodes on Hulu next, but I'm out of ideas beyond that!
posted by erratic meatsack to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Can you give some examples? The Barkley Marathons documentary is an amazing documentary about an athletic event, but it's not exactly about "fitness", and "inspiring" or not is left to individual taste. The people who compete are kind of amazing, all in their own ways.
posted by brainmouse at 8:53 AM on August 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

I like to watch trail running videos on the treadmill for similar reasons, and I highly recommend the race videos from Ginger Runner (probably not the gear reviews) and almost everything by Billy Yang.
posted by brozek at 9:00 AM on August 11, 2017

I like to watch roller derby games when I'm on the treadmill. It's an exciting, hard-hitting sport, played almost exclusively by amateurs, and the athleticism is pretty amazing. The 2015 WFTDA Championship game is a pretty great place to start if you're interested.
posted by coppermoss at 9:01 AM on August 11, 2017

I do the same thing, sort of, except I have Zwift on half the screen and Netflix on the other half of the screen.

I liked CounterPunch and Last Chance U on Netflix for this.
posted by kbanas at 10:02 AM on August 11, 2017

I'm not sure whether it's still on Netflix, but I found the documentary First Position very inspiring. It's about six young dancers preparing for a ballet competition. Also, if Mad Hot Ballroom is available, that's another great dance competition documentary.
posted by FencingGal at 10:34 AM on August 11, 2017

One single program has really inspired me:

Nova - Marathon Challenge (info here)

In 2009 Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days with hardly any training. Textbook what not to do, but also inspiring as heck:

Marathon Man - Episode 1, 2, 3
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 1:39 PM on August 11, 2017

I adore American Ninja Warrior, and the current season is on Hulu. It's about half obstacle course challenge and half competitor backstory, it's a simple competition so easy to get into, fun to watch, and definitely inspiring.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:07 PM on August 11, 2017

Ninja Warrior for sure. Also the People are Awesome videos on YouTube are pretty awesome and you can set up a playlist so they auto play.
posted by fshgrl at 3:08 PM on August 11, 2017

I loved Unbreakable, about the 2010 version of the Western States 100 ultramarathon. I believe you can watch the whole film on YouTube.
posted by barnoley at 3:45 PM on August 11, 2017

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the recommendations so far! The Barkley documentary on Netflix was one of the first things I watched, so anything that shows people pushing their endurance is definitely on the list, regardless of how fast-paced the activity or sport is.
posted by erratic meatsack at 4:54 PM on August 11, 2017

Life in a Day! Just incredible. I've seen it so many times. I love to come back to it to re-inspire myself regularly.
posted by eggs at 5:30 PM on August 11, 2017

You might like Meru too, not sure if its on Netflix but I liked it a lot.
posted by fshgrl at 8:57 PM on August 11, 2017

Fittest On Earth is currently on Netflix. It's a great documentary about the CrossFit Games in 2016, with interesting profiles of the major athletes. Very easy to get sucked into the events and watch men and women at the top of their game going all out.
posted by brism at 11:14 PM on August 11, 2017

A couple years ago I saw on Netflix a documentary called Desert Runners about runners trying to complete the four-deserts series of ultramarathons. Very motivating!
posted by crLLC at 5:34 AM on August 12, 2017

Definitely in the pushing endurance category is Coxless Crew. It's about the women that rowed across the Pacific Ocean without any additional support. It took over 250 days of 24hour rowing!
posted by eisforcool at 8:23 AM on August 12, 2017

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