I think movies are underrated.
Although I’m not a huge fan of spending countless hours staring at a big black box, I must admit that sometimes there’s no better feeling than kicking back and throwing on a classic hit.
Maybe some Jean Claude Van Dam? A little bit of Jessica Alba – yes?
It doesn’t matter – whatever puts you in the mood.
But I think there’s more to movies than just their entertainment value. I think there is an opportunity to learn something from everything we do – movies included. As funny as it may sound, there is a lot Hollywood can teach us about getting fit.
From all of my years in front of the TV (it may not be much), I’ve picked up some great lessons along the way. Here are 8 things movies have taught me about fitness:
1. Wall-E (2008)
Quick run-down: So it may be an animated film (a great one at that), but there’s something to be learned from this beautiful love story. Set hundreds of years into the future, the story is about a robot who’s purpose in life is to clean up the garbage that has completely succumbed planet Earth. While this is happening, humans are relaxing up on some cool spaceship with robot slaves and flying chairs. Everything is literally done for them at the touch of a button. Who knew obesity would become the norm??
Lesson Learned: If you become reliant on technology to take care of all your shit, you will become a fat slob. That may be a bit harsh, but not far from the truth. We are living in a world where we are quickly becoming more and more dependant on technology. Things that used to require us to actually do work are now simply at the touch of a button. If you want to be fit, don’t fall into the habit of relying on technology. Don’t opt for convenience. Make a consious effort to get off your ass and do something!
2. 300 (2006)
Quick run-down: This was a movie for the ages and you should be ashamed of yourself if you haven’t seen it. The plot was epic, but very simple. Back in 480 BC, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian army. Persian King Xerxes lead an army of well over 100,000 men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans. 300 of them!! That’s it! The battle was epic. I won’t tell you who won, but if you’re capable of doing some basic math I’m pretty sure you can figure it out. However, it wasn’t the victory or defeat that mattered – it was the courage to stand up for what you believe.
Note: This movie was so bad-ass that there were TWO lessons to be learned from it (BONUS!). One was on-screen, the other was off-screen. Don’t thank me, thank the Butler.
Lesson Learned (on-screen): King Leonidas lead his army of 300 Spartans to battle against 10-freakin-thousand Greek soldiers. Are you kidding me?? 300 tanks couldn’t take down 10,000 men let alone 300 men in sandals and capes. But that’s besides the point. The Spartans chose to stand up for their land. They weren’t just going to give in. They fought with courage and heart. This is how you have to take on your challenges. Losing 50lbs may seem like an impossible feat, but you have to be courageous enough to stand up for what you want. You have to be willing to fight even when things seem impossible.
Lesson Learned (off-screen): One of the reasons this movie got so much attention was because of the absolutely ridiculous fitness levels all the cast members achieved for the movie. Gerard Butler and crew showed the world that extremely hard work can get you in incredible shape, no matter how old you are. Although there’s probably no way you’d be able to train like they trained, it goes to show what kind of results can be achieved with an abundance of hard work.
3. Fight Club (1999)
Quick run-down: I think everyone on the planet has seen this movie at least twice. I think. It’s a movie about a secret fight club that… actually all you need to know is that Brad Pitt is in this one and he looks absolutely ripped. The end.
Lesson Learned: This was the movie that revolutionized the lean look. It showed the world that the bodybuilder look was no longer the desired look. Thanks to Mr. Pitt, being lean, cut and ripped became the number one item on every man’s wish list. Just ask my friend Rusty from Fitness Black Book – he knows a little something about the lean Hollywood look.
4. Honey (2003)
Quick run-down: This movie is about Honey Daniels, a young, sexy, tough-minded hip hop dancer in New York’s East Harlem who has dreams of making it big as a music video choreographer. Dance is her life. It’s her passion, her fuel and her reason for being. She also has an amazing body.
Lesson Learned: You don’t need a gym membership to get fit and look incredible. Find a physical activity you are truly passionate about – something you truly enjoy doing – and you’ll never have to step foot in the gym again.
5. I Am Legend (2007)
Quick run-down: Will Smith plays the role of a brilliant scientist stuck in a world where a terrible man-made virus has left him as the last human survivor in what is left of New York City. For years, the dude is sending out radio messages praying to God somebody else is out there. There are also some crazy mutants that are waiting for him to make a mistake so they can eat his ass. Needless to say, Smith clearly can’t leave his home so he spends his time doing pull ups and push ups inside his pad – clearly the ultimate home workout since the dude looks jacked.
Lesson Learned: Just like Honey Daniels, Smith shows us that you don’t need a gym membership to get fit. A simple pull-up bar and some space for push ups is perhaps all you need to get a rocking body. No more excuses about lack of time or money – all you need is some space. A nice set of kettlebells would be nice too but hey, let’s not push it now.
6. Gladiator (2000)
Quick run-down: Without a doubt, this is one of the most epic revenge movies of all time. To keep it short, Maximus (Russell Crowe) goes on a bloodthirsty rampage after his son and wife are murdered. As a Gladiator, he fights his way from Africa to Rome where he meets (and, yes, kills) the man who murdered his family. A lot of blood and a lot of ‘Fuck yea’ moments in this one.
Lesson Learned: Maximus does nothing short of bringing down the ROMAN EMPEROR – all by himself. In sandals (again?). Sounds impossible. But it goes to show what one man is capable of doing when he is motivated. Motivation is the key to success. Without a passionate, deep-driven reason pushing you forward, you will never achieve what you’re striving for. That’s what the fitness bloomer revolution is all about. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to get fit? What is driving you?
7. Into the Wild (2007)
Quick run-down: The story is of a young man who decides to leave the world he lives in and all of his possessions so he can pursue his journey to Alaska where he hopes to spend time with nature and experience ‘real’ existence. It’s a beautiful movie that shows a path of self-discovery and a realization that happiness is only real when shared. That description just sounded so beautiful – don’t you think??
Lesson Learned: Sometimes you have to abandon everything you do/own to find out who you really are. Sometimes you have to abandon everything you’re doing and start over. In a world where unhealthy habits subconsciously lead us to poor decisions, this movie shows that sometimes you have to abandon all that you think is right to truly find out who you are and who you want to be.
8. Rocky (1976 +)
Quick run-down: I don’t think you need me to tell you the synopsis of the greatest film series of all time. But I will anyways. Sylvester Stallone plays the role of Rocky Balboa, a man who holds the record for the most punches taken to the head without getting knocked out or dying. Six movies of endless beating to the head from black guys, Russian guys and a random young American guy with a mullet, Rocky is still moving on two feet – now that’s something we can learn from.
Lesson Learned: All jokes aside, Rocky Balboa teaches us something valuable about fitness and life in general. You’re going to face massive challenges along your road to fitness. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to get knocked down. At the end, all that matters is whether you get back up and keep fighting.
As you can see, movies bring more to the table than just a bit of entertainment. There’s a lot we can learn from them – even fitness related.
What I would like you to do…
Scroll down to the comments section and tell me about one movie that you have learned something from. Tell me what you learned!! I need a good list of movies to watch!
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