As the cooler temperatures kick in and with holiday season just in sight, motivation to do your DB365 workout, go outdoors for a trail run or try a new yoga class can disappear as quickly as those extra hours of daylight. We say, go ahead and log some extra hours on the couch — because if you work your Netflix playlist right, you just may find yourself not only wanting to get off the couch, but actually leaping off of it to get moving.
Enter these nice choice Netflix movies, each packed with some of the most motivating, inspiring and “Hell yeah, I can totally do this” vibes. So sit down, curl up (snuggie optional) and cue up your queue — but don’t get too comfortable. These picks will have you ready to lace up and get out faster than you can click “Play Next.” Major bonus points for stretching or working your core while you stream our inspirational selects.
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9 Motivational Netflix Movies That’ll Get You Up and Out
Whether you’re watching for the first time or the fiftieth, this 1976 classic gets us amped every time. Rocky Balboa — played epically by Sylvester Stallone — is an unknown boxer who spends his days working for a loan shark and his nights fighting in sleazy clubs for little money and no respect. But when he gets the chance to fight world champion Apollo Creed, he seizes the opportunity to try and make a name for himself. It’s one part underdog story, one part love story and all around awe-inspiring. Get “Eye of the Tiger” ready to go on your playlist.
Your Workout: Stair repeats — with shadow boxing in between sets, naturally.
It’s the classic, lovable and based-on-a-true-story underdog tale: Rudy Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin, who just flexed his own muscles at RunDisney’s Avengers Superheroes 5K) dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame, but he can’t afford the tuition and doesn’t have the grades for a scholarship. And there’s all kinds of things working against Rudy: he suffers from dyslexia, is smaller than the average football player and his best friend passes away, yet he still gets accepted to his dream school. His next goal is to make it onto the team. Spoiler alert: You’re gonna love the way this one plays out. And maybe cry once… or twice.
The Workout: Build a rock-solid upper body and base — critical on the football field — with a strengthening rowing workout.
3. Man on Wire
In 1974, French tightrope walker Philippe Petit performed a daring (and, uh, illegal) “walk” between New York City’s Twin Towers. And by “walk,” we mean the 24-year-old spent 45 minutes between the two buildings — a quarter-mile above the ground — walking, dancing and even laying down on the wire he and his friends strung between the rooftops. If you’ve got a fear of heights, be forewarned: You may just want to “walk” to the next selection instead.
Your Workout: Slacklining. Pro tip: Start out close to the ground — with close supervision!
Ah, to be 14 years old again: first dates, school dances, a jam-packed social schedule and no real-world pressures weighing on your shoulders just quite yet. Unless you’re Laura Dekker, who at 14, decided she wanted to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world. By herself. This documentary uses footage Dekker shot at sea to follow her two-year voyage on board a 38-foot ketch, named Guppy, adorably.
Your Workout: If you wanna sail like Dekker, you’re gonna need strong arms. A circuit workout will get you there.
5. Rising from Ashes
If you’ve ever thought your hometown, neighborhood or current situation is what’s holding you back from great achievement, you’re gonna have to watch this documentary and then think about it again. Rising from Ashes tells the story of Rwanda’s first national cycling team and its quest to move past the country’s genocide to make it to the 2012 Olympic Games. It’s a story that’s both sad and hopeful, but by the end, you’ll find yourself making fewer excuses for why you just can’t get out the door.
Your Workout: Forget the spin bike and head outside.
6. 180 Degrees South
In this documentary, Jeff Johnson sets out to retrace the 1968 journey of his heroes — environmental activists Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins — to Patagonia, South America. As he travels by boat, Johnson surfs, gets shipwrecked and prepares to climb Rio de Janeiro’s Cerro Corcovado (which, NBD, is a huge mountain, with a 2,000-plus-ft peak). The surfing and climbing footage is borderline surreal, and the story takes a motivational turn when Johnson gets to actually meet the two men who changed his life.
Your Workout: Rock climbing. Gyms with walls are popping up across the country, so keep your eyes peeled for one in your area soon.
7. Desert Runners
If you’ve ever been curious about ultramarathoners — those (slightly crazy) outdoorsy endurance athletes who run way more than 26.2 miles at a time — this documentary will enlighten and entertain you. Follow along as a group of non-professional runners (as in, they’re doing this for fun) attempt to complete 4 Deserts, a series of four 150-mile races that are considered to be the most difficult in the world. They traverse terrain in treacherous conditions, including the dry Chili desert, the windy Gobi desert, the hot Sahara desert and oh-so-chilly Antarctic.
Your Workout: A good long run, of course!
8. Clean Spirit
Competitive cycling may have a bad rep these because of its seemingly endless trail of high-profile alleged doping scandals. But enter Argos-Shimano, a team of elite cyclists dedicated to racing drug-free in the 2013 Tour de France. These guys clearly care about each other and about working together to survive the grueling days of the Tour, and the no-holds-barred questions from the film crew provide a rare glimpse at one of the world’s toughest physical challenges and the athletes who participate in it.
Your Workout: Give it your all at a spin class — just make sure you set the indoor bike up properly.
9. Mile… Mile & a Half
Imagine: Instead of getting up and going to work one morning, you and your friends said, “Eh, no,” and went on an epic adventure instead. Well, that’s pretty much the story of this documentary, in which five friends ditch their daily lives in California to spend a month hiking the 219-mile John Muir Trail. The scenery is gorgeous, the people are cool and the trip proves unforgettable — so good luck watching this and then not calling in sick tomorrow with a case of incurable wanderlust.
Your Workout: Go off-road for a nature hike or kick things up with a more adventurous trail run.
BONUS: Friday Night Lights
OK, while this isn’t technically a film, we had to include one of our all-time favorite television series. (Not to mention, all five season are currently available to stream right now.) And while we don’t necessarily advocate for binge-watching it all in one sitting, we do recommend garnering inspiration from it. Friday Night Lights, a warm-fuzzies-inducing show, centers around football coach Eric Taylor (whose wife, Tami, happens to be the school principal) and his quest to build his team from the ground up. And if Coach Taylor can do it, you can do it, too, right?
By Alison Feller for Life by Daily Burn
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