8 Best Fitness Documentaries To Watch in 2021

Watch 8 best fitness documentaries handpicked and curated for you. Learn, educate and inspire!
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eed some inspiration to step foot in a gym or have you been too hard on yourself while working out? Then, it’s time to sit back, relax & get inspired. That doesn't mean that you have to watch your favorite show for the hundredth time. You can chill with something new, a bunch of inspiring documentaries from the fitness genre and learn more about the fitness culture.

The fitness documentaries on Netflix and Amazon have a significant role in urging people to take charge of their health in their own hands. Watching someone grow fitter, stronger, and healthier motivates individuals to move and work out more frequently. Inspirational fitness and bodybuilding documentaries that capture a journey of weight loss or transformation often help viewers to make significant adjustments to their diets, such as reduced intake of sugar, junk, and other processed foods.

When we witness someone else overcome challenges and prepare the road for success, we are so overwhelmed that we frequently picture ourselves in their shoes. While watching, we often start making decisions for the protagonist of a fitness documentary.

Then why hold back, when it comes to the protagonist of your life (you)? It is time you get up and take charge of your health because it’s never too late.

Various streaming platforms have brought our favorite movies to our fingertips and spoiled us with infinite options to explore. You might wanna watch fitness shows on Netflix, weightlifting documentaries, bodybuilding movies and other inspiring documentaries to ignite your passion for staying healthy and fit throughout your life.

On Netflix, Hulu and Amazon prime, there is something for everyone. We have carefully curated a list of the best fitness documentaries currently trending amongst the fitness freaks. The list would load your mind & body with the much-needed enthusiasm you need to start or resume your fitness journey. 

Scroll down and start streaming.

01. The Game Changers

The Game Changers is a well-researched fitness documentary about plant-based athletes and some of these include Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Wilks, Patrick Baboumian, Morgan Mitchell, and a lot of others. The movie takes a strong position on anti-veganism and meat use especially for the diet of an athlete. It even says that lean meats such as chicken and fish are unhealthy for the heart and can cause worse consequences for your health.

It also gives a broad, surface-level examination of many important research topics in relation to the possible benefits of a vegan diet. The film says that a plant based diet is better than an animal-based diet, since it boosts cardiac health, decreases inflammation, reduces the risk of cancer and increases athletic performance. 

Even though some parts of the documentary are trustworthy, it has been attacked for highlighting the information that fits its goal. It has been criticized citing that the fitness documentary has cherry-picked conclusions from small or weak studies to support the agenda of veganism. Although the documentary has faced some sort of criticism, it still has a lot to offer to its audiences in terms of perspective.

Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Bookee-o-meter- 4/5

A group of body builder posing for camera


02. Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

The documentary is about the use of steroids in the field of bodybuilding. This is one of the bodybuilding documentaries where director Chris Bell walks us through his childhood and early life in his extremely personal documentary, struggling to find a place in his family, while defining his personal ambitions revolving around steroids and athletics.

The steroid documentary is particularly intriguing and the tone is quite intimate because the filmmaker Chris Bell casts himself as the central character. Bell shows what it was like to grow up as the second one of three boys in a household that is fascinated by appearances and competitive sports.

The Bell brothers have been trapped in the world of performance-enhancing drugs. "Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser." is the core of "Bigger, Stronger, Faster. The documentary is against the use of steroids in bodybuilding but it is even more against the win-win mentality of the athletes and their peers. People want their athletes to win yet they believe they have to utilize performance-enhancing drugs to compete on a great playing field. This may not be one of the workout motivation movies but the theme definitely hits a bigger picture of the hustling fitness culture.

Available on Amazon Prime Video

Bookee-o-meter - 3.9/5

Theatrical release poster for the documentary

03. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Another documentary hitting our list of best fitness documentaries is Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Starring the wonderful actor, Joe Cross, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead is a fantastic movie that features a juice diet that the protagonist carries out while he is on a road trip. Joe Cross, a cheery Australian trader comes to the conclusion that his 310 pounds and 53-inch girth have caused him chronic auto-immune disorder.

The transition from chubby to trim is documented by Mr. Cross, who roams around America as he sets out on a 60-day juice diet and a highway tour. He chats with irregular Joes and Janes about the extra weight they possess and approaches them boldly with his healthy glass of green goop.

Through this amazing documentary, Mr. Cross conveys the message that self-help is the best help and this makes him break free from his medications. This is one light-hearted inspirational fitness documentary that lets its viewers take away the message of self-sufficiency and the need for utter grit & determination like that of Mr. Cross to overcome any life challenge.

Available on Amazon prime video.

Bookee-o-meter - 3.8/5

An actor from movie holding a glass of juice

04. Forks Over Knives

The fitness documentary ‘fork over knives’ investigates the significant assertion that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases we are suffering from, may be controlled or even reversed through a switch of our menu which currently includes animal-based products and other processed foods.

It is a documentary where Lee Fulkerson gives a mirror picture of Morgan Spurlock's journey in 'Supersize Me.' He eats a healthy food diet for six months and abandons McDonald's food for a month and nearly dying himself. This diet helps him to get rid of all his cholesterol and blood pressure meds, lower a great deal of heaviness, helps him to sleep better and provides him extra power throughout the day.

The documentary portrays how a large population gets sick in a very short span of time despite the world's most advanced medical technologies available. It communicates to a public that wants to confirm that there is something wrong with the way we eat and encourages people to adopt a healthier diet.

Available on Amazon Prime Video.

Bookee-o-meter - 3.5/5

Theatrical release poster

05. Ripped - Inside Women’s Bodybuilding

If you are looking for some of the best sports documentaries on YouTube, then we’ve found one for you. The documentary ‘Ripped’ takes you through two female bodybuilders' personal experiences while practicing for a nationwide tournament. Both Teresa Popowicz and Krystia Petrossie reveal their personal, emotional background and how their passion leads them to enter the body-building field that ultimately tests their emotional and physical boundaries.

This movie inspires and sends more than one significant message with just a 20-minute length. We witness two most amazing transformations of women in this fitness documentary. 

It’s a short must-watch bodybuilding documentary that shows the setbacks of being a female in the bodybuilding industry and shows the compromise a woman has to make towards her family to follow her passion. Watch out women, you can surely get some weightlifting inspiration from this documentary 

Available on YouTube.

Bookee-o-meter - 4/5

06. Man Made

Man made, T Cooper's fitness documentary, follows the journey of four trans men as they prepare for an upcoming bodybuilding competition. This is one of the bodybuilding documentaries which is not about cis-gendered men, but four trans men who are passionate to leave an indelible mark in the society with their skills.

These trans men address some complicated themes in a candid manner such as transition, parenthood, relations, and family and body image. These themes are strategically brought to the forefront in the film's emotional peaks. Their vulnerability, which is the film's most powerful element, is definitely motivated by shared experience with the person who asks the questions behind the camera. These emotional moments in the documentary communicate the feeling of disintegration and difference from society. 

This bodybuilding documentary is a poignant and worthy addition to the growing trans film canon. But the documentary goes beyond bodybuilding and expands on gender, compassion, and humanity. The movie was shown as part of NewFest, New York's L.G.B.T. Film Festival. The "All-Gender-Restroom" paper signs were pasted over the regular restroom signs at the theatre to promote the documentary. This one of the best bodybuilding documentaries every aspiring must watch to awaken the passion in their heart. This is yet another inspiring fitness story 

Available on Amazon Prime Video.

Bookee-o-meter - 3.5/5

A scene from the film

07. Limitless 

Scrolling through Netflix in search of inspiring documentaries?  Then, ‘Limitless’ is a perfect find. This 60-minute fitness documentary directed by Vrinda Samartha portrays eight women who found their new identity from running.  The Including a woman from Mumbai, who worked as a domestic helper and is now earning her livelihood from running races. Viji Swaminathan was also on this list, and when she went out for the run she once had to stand up to a group of drunken men. Swaminathan is currently running in men's groups.

The film shows the challenges that women face both at home and on the streets. A woman is made to believe by society that she is doing something wrong if she does something for herself. 

There’s a major noteworthiness of the several long races these 8 women undertake. Sprinting also signifies their break-free moment from the shackles of prejudice against woman and their determination to sprint past all sorts of challenges. All of these 8 women had different motives and backgrounds. Their passion to run brought them all together in a sport where they could rely on running for their support and empowerment.

Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Bookee-o-meter - 3.2/5

Theatrical release poster for the documentary

08. Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

This inspiring fitness story is about a Hawaiian surfer, Bethany Hamilton who was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark off the shore of Makua Beach, at the age of 13. This all changed her life. The event took her left arm off the shoulder, but Hamilton remained lionhearted. The most inspiring thing is that Hamilton went back on board four weeks after the incident to compete on the professional level.

The beautifully-told narrative is about the earlier well-spent life, despite the evident problems which highlight that Bethany Hamilton is unstoppable. And in later life, we see her deep-held faith, persistent optimism and passion for surfing that led her to some of the global waves. In the documentary, everything is told with a good amount of self-reflection and contemplation.

This is not just a light fitness documentary but a moving piece of art. It certainly gives life lessons to the audience who are watching the life story of bold and inspirational Bethany Hamilton. Thrill and entertainment are unstoppable in this Hamilton’s documentary. The action/surfing cinematography in the documentary is commendable and most of the time, you would feel like you are in the sea with her. A must-watch movie to get you up from your couch.

Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Bookee-o-meter - 4/5 

Theatrical release poster for the documentary

Go ahead and pick your favorites from the list to watch this weekend.

Wish to document your fitness studio's chapter in the records of history? Choose a business companion that's there for you when you need it to be.

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