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5 Movies to Watch for Fitness Inspiration (That Aren’t Rocky)

Ali (2001)

Ali traces the story of the boxer, Muhammad Ali, as he changed what boxing meant to America. He challenged way more than the sport, impacting the law, conventions, and society with his genius and athletic dynamo. This movie is both a story of tremendous heart and incredible athleticism and rigor.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million Dollar Baby–another boxing movie–tells the story of Frankie Dunn, who is a veteran and Los Angeles boxing trainer. He has become accustomed to remaining closed off from other people, however, starts to form an unsuspecting close bond with a young woman, Maggie Fitzgerald, who he trains at his gym.

This is more than a story of perseverance–it is one of human bond and connection, the power of community, and unstoppable motivation.

Never Back Down (2008)

This movie is essentially a contemporary take on The Karate Kid. The main character, Jake, moves to Orlando, Florida and has trouble controlling his temper. The combination of this situation and Jake’s quick fuse draw him into a fight, where he is humiliated. Following this, he starts training in martial arts on a journey that is both physical and mental, takes patience and persistence.

It teaches the importance of trusting the process and taking initiative to better one’s body to simultaneously better one’s mind.

300 (2006)

300 is a movie of strength, undying camaraderie, and persistence. It is set in 480 B.C. and takes place during the Battle of Thermopylae, a battle between Sparta and Persian. The two opposing sides are led, respectively, by Leonidas and Xerxes. The Spartan army, although tremendously more trained and disciplined than the Persian army, is extraordinarily outnumbered by the seemingly endless line of Persian forces.

Although the promise of death awaits the Spartans, they are so filled with their purpose and honor that they fight to their full capacity and never, not even for a moment, lose their discipline and focus.

I Am Legend (2007)

I Am Legend portrays a man dedicated to training rigorously–both physically and mentally–under the horrendous conditions of living within a society predominantly wiped out by a man-made plague. He has lost all of his family, friends, and the society he had previously been a part of. Although the main character, Robert Neville, knows the odds are not on his side, he does not stop persevering and training to be faster, stronger, and smarter.