Oh, the magical cellulite cure of celluloid!
One of the reasons we go to the movies is their ability to transport us to another time or place. They're like an amusement park ride with costumes. Beyond pure escapism, they also have the power to motivate. Since films compress time, we get to see the effects of great acts without having to do them ourselves. But movies also have the power to transcend their medium and become part of our real world. For better or for worse, they've become one of the strongest educational and motivational tools we have.
Enter the sports film. Since the day we first saw Rocky Balboa running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Hollywood has been trying to upstage him. Prior to the release of Rocky in 1976, a sports-related movie was expected to be socially relevant. After the Rock went 15 rounds with the champ, then to the Oscars, it became apparent that this was no longer the case. A sports film no longer needed to be "serious." If it made you leave the theater wanting to cheer, it was a job well done and money in the bank.
This article, though, is about fitness, not sports. So let's focus on films that'll make you want to be fit. The Natural is a great sports film, but it's unlikely that any trips you make to the batting cages after seeing it are going to change your waistline significantly. These films should make you want to burn calories, sculpt your body, and chug raw eggs for breakfast. (Well, two out of three ain't bad.)
So without further ado—drumroll, please—here are our top fitness movies of all time.
Best training moment you might miss: The scene where he tries on some prototype shoes, goes for a run, and doesn't come back for hours.
Quote: "Is there anything worse than coming in second?"
Other films in genre: There are many films about running or runners. Here are some you may have missed: The Jericho Mile (1979), On the Edge (1985), and Personal Best (1982).
Best training moment you might miss: Jimmy Chitwood shooting around at sunset, even though he's vowed not to play.
Quote: "I'll make it."
Other films in genre: There are a ton of good hoop films. Don't miss Heart of the Game (2005), Coach Carter (2005), One on One (1977), and Soul in the Hole (1998).
Best training moment you might miss: Don't walk in late. The opening scene is worth the price of admission alone.
Quote: "Train Hard. Go Big." Not actually said, but written on the protagonist's mirror in lipstick.
Other films in genre: An embarrassing genre from the Hollywood perspective (Gidget, Ride the Wild Surf, Point Break). Big Wednesday (1978) is a lone gem, and it's not really about surfing. Instead, rent the documentaries Riding Giants (2004) and Endless Summer (1966).
Best training moment you might miss: Like I said, it's an obvious film, but there's a scene where he's practicing on the beach that evokes his passion for soccer, which makes a nice contrast to all the more overt face-down-in-the-muck sort of stuff
Quote: "I don't know where home is." "Yeah, ya do. It's green an' it's got a goalpost at each end."
Other films in genre: Though soccer is the most popular sport in the world, we don't have much to choose from. Notables include Bend It Like Beckham (2002), A Shot at Glory (2000), and Victory (1981).
Best training moment you might miss: It's impossible to miss any training moments in this film.
Quote: "Don't think. Feel. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory."
Other films in genre: Oh, about a million. Most of them are unwatchable but virtually all feature a lot of training. Pick your favorite beefcake. Here are three you probably haven't seen: Drunken Master II (1994), Iron Monkey (1993), and Billy Jack (1971). Unfortunately, there's never been a female counterpart to Bruce Lee in the U.S., but Cynthia Rothrock was a big star in Hong Kong for years. Check with Netflix® and pick the films with the best ratings.
Best training moment you might miss: When Arnold walks onto the stage, looking serious, and slowly breaks into a grin. This is a guy at the top of his game.
Quote: "Remember, if you are training hard, he may be training twice as hard. You just gotta keep coming back stronger."
Other films in genre: Pumping Iron II: The Women (1985). Not a real popular genre, though I guess you could add any sword-and-sorcery movie to this list. At least these guys found a way to make money after all that time in the gym.
Best training moment you might miss: Riding the rollers in a car wash while eating an apple. Don't try this at home!
Quote: "I know eye-tie food when I hear it! It's all them 'eenie' foods . . . zucchini . . . and linguini . . . and fettuccine. I want some American food, dammit! I want French fries!"
Other films in genre: American Flyers (1985). Other than that, we're still waiting for the movie about Major Taylor. Maybe rent some old Tour de France videos or, if you're completely jonesing for some velo action, try Quicksilver (1986) or Rad (1987).
Best training moment you might miss: Not training, but motivation for training, is when Abrams is sitting in the stands after losing and visualizing the race he's just lost.
Quote: "When I run, I feel God's pleasure."
Other films in genre: See Without Limits (1998).
Best training moment you might miss: Rocky running up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Just kidding.)
Quote: "He doesn't know it's a damn show! He thinks it's a damn fight!"
Other films in genre: There are a lot of great boxing movies, all of which feature a lot of training. However, most of them aren't great endorsements of the sport. Three great boxing films that won't make you want to step into a ring with Apollo Creed anytime soon are Raging Bull (1980), The Harder They Fall (1956), Fat City (1972), and The Fighter (2010).
Best training moment you might miss: I doubt you'll miss it, but when Louden warms up for his big match, then busts through the doors to the cheering audience, it makes me want to train until I pass out. In fact, I think I'll go watch it right now.
Quote: "It's not about the 6 minutes. It's what happens in those 6 minutes."
Other films in genre: None; probably indicative of why it's not more popular.
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An interesting 2009 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine took a look at cookbook recipes over the last several decades (with an emphasis on recipes in The Joy of Cooking). It found that calorie counts per serving have gone up dramatically as authors have increased portion sizes to conform to new cultural norms. Where the 1936 edition of the kitchen classic averaged 268 calories per serving, the most recent edition in 2006 averaged 384 calories. The study theorized that lower costs of food and larger plate sizes are part of the reason for the increase, but nutritionist Marion Nestle says that mainly it's just a reflection of people becoming accustomed to eating more and more per meal. What can we do to monitor and control portion sizes? Here are some ideas:
"8 Insider Tips to Help You Burn Fat Faster"
"6 Healthy Foods That Are Easy on Your Wallet"
"9 Foods That Can Fool You"
On November 11th (11/11/11), Beachbody® CEO Carl Daikeler is challenging the Team Beachbody® community to put together the largest-ever group of people working out at one time in the Beachbody SuperGym.
That day, Carl will be selecting one person who logs his or her workout in the SuperGym to receive a prize of $1,111.
All YOU Need to Do for Your Chance to Win:
On Friday, November 11th (11/11/11), be working out inside the online SuperGym in an active workout session at 11:11 AM in your local time zone (i.e., where you live)! So just make sure that you're actively working out in the SuperGym when 11:11 AM rolls around in Eastern (if you live somewhere in the East—Shout outs to Boston!), Central (if you live in the Central time zone—Shout outs to Chicago!), Mountain (if that's where you live), or Pacific (Shout outs to the West Coast!). Or if you live anywhere west of the Pacific time zone, you roll into 11:11 AM Hawaii Time (that's got to be the coolest time ever . . . "I'm on Hawaii Time.")
Click here for complete official sweepstakes rules.
Hope to see you in the SuperGym on Friday, November 11th, at 11:11 AM!
Chalene gives you the life-changing tools you need to change your habits with 30 days of practical steps that include pinpointing goals, reverse engineering a course of action to achieve them, and kicking the clutter—whether that means junk food, draining exercise regimens, or toxic relationships.
On 11/11/11, her PUSH Jump Start eBook goes on sale, and the first 15,000 people will get a hard copy FREE! (Just pay shipping and handling.)
Visit PushJumpStart.com to learn how to get the book FREE!
Debbie Siebers serves up a fresh healthy eating tip to keep you on track for your fitness goals. This tip focuses on preparing mini-meals and snacks at night so you're ready to go the next day.
Click below to see the video.
Spray a medium-sized pan with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. When it's hot but not smoking, add onions and garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Add raw chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until no pink remains in center of each piece. Remove pan from heat. Place tortillas on plates. Put half the lettuce on each tortilla, followed by half the chicken, half the dressing, and half the rice. To assemble wraps, roll tortilla around contents, securing each with a toothpick if necessary. Makes 2 servings.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Nutritional Information (per serving):
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