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Young woman powerlifter leaning over a barbell in a sunlit gym



By capturing an aspect of the human experience, a well-made and thought-provoking documentary can inspire us to achieve, to change, and to grow. Wherever you are on your fitness journey, take a peek at these five documentaries on physical achievement, and find a little extra push to make this your best year yet. 

Froning: The Fittest Man in History (2016)

If the goal is to get fit, why not start our viewing party with a story about a guy who’s been called the fittest man in history? Follow Rich Froning as he prepares for the 2014 CrossFit Games – the championship of the sport – where he took aim at his fourth consecutive title. To be clear, Froning: The Fittest Man in History is not a how-to guide (no one is suggesting copying his ridiculous training schedule!), but the hyper-competitive nature that Froning displays, his clear desire to be the best, and his willingness to put in the work it takes to get there, can still inspire you to reach a different level in your pursuits.

Pumping Iron (1977)

Need some fuel to help you go after the pump? Check out Arnold Schwarzenegger and a seriously sideburned Lou Ferrigno in the 1977 classic Pumping Iron. If you’re into bodybuilding that’s just a bonus – but anyone who is interested in fitness or the cult of celebrity will find something to love here, from the vintage style to Arnold’s brash personality. Even if it was partly scripted, Pumping Iron provides a super-cool snapshot of an important moment in lifting history, with plenty of flexed muscles to get you off the couch and into the gym.

Free Solo (2018)

Now for something completely different… In the realm of athletic achievement, few accomplishments in our lifetimes will rival mountain climber Alex Honnold summiting Yosemite’s El Capitan without any ropes or assistance. Free Solo documents the motivation and preparation for Honnold’s famous climb. Though it has its fair share of nervy moments, this film will leave you awed by his single-minded drive to achieve something that’s never been done before. Remember, you can absolutely push the limits of your physical capabilities without hanging off the side of mountains!

Limitless (2017)

One aspect of physical exercise worth celebrating is the way it can empower us to do and achieve things we didn’t think we could. Limitless tells the story of eight women in India who are passionate runners, and who push against social and practical pressures in order to make running part of their lives. This film will encourage you to do what you like, and to redefine boundaries if that’s what it looks like to pursue your dreams. May your fitness journey be an uplifting one!

Eddie: Strongman (2015)

Not only does Eddie: Strongman feature the most massive human beings on earth moving things no person should be able to move, but it also presents the unique character who is Eddie Hall, car mechanic, husband, father, and competitive weightlifter. Look out for amazing lines like “The scariest thing for me, in life, is being normal,” and “I was put on this planet to be a legend.” Going along for the challenges and the successes, we can all draw from this focused look at a highly driven individual and his process of striving to be the best. Exercise should be fun, and it should encourage us to be our best selves. 

Whatever goals you’re working toward, stay safe and enjoy the process! Make sure to check out the Mirador & Stovall at River City blog for more health and fitness tips, plus ways to stay active in and around Jacksonville.


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