Getting to the gym isn't always an easy task. Sometimes, the day's sucked all the energy out of you and all you want do is snuggle up under a blanket and fall asleep with Netflix on in the background. Of course, you'll regret it the next morning, when your arms don't look as toned as they could do.
So, why not settle for a compromise? You can put on Netflix right now, but instead of your regulars, tune into one of these inspirational sports documentaries. If you still feel like falling asleep afterwards — scratch that, I'm sure you'll be at the gym before the episode's even over.
The Playbook: A Coach's Rules For Life
Pick your favourite — basketball, football, or tennis — and hear from some of the most acclaimed coaches who have ever graced the sport. It could be José Mourinho, the current manager of Tottenham Hotspurs. He's been nicknamed the special one courtesy of his ever-expanding trophy room. Or Patrick Mouratoglou, who's been coaching Serena Williams for almost a decade now. He has helped her win over a dozen titles in that time.
The coaches reflect on their careers, touching upon definitive moments while offering up guiding principles which have carried them to success. Their insights can be applied to almost any area of life, but they're particularly effective when you're chasing your goal of getting fit.
The Last Dance
On the off-chance that you haven't already watched one of the most iconic sports documentaries ever produced—I mean, the whole world was in lockdown when this came out, everyone's seen it—The Last Dance is a 10-part mini-series chronicling Michael Jordan's time spent with the Chicago Bulls.
It's impossible not to be motivated as you listen to interviews from Jordan's teammates and rivals alike, and they all unanimously agree to his claim as one of the greatest of all time. Jordan's story is epic to a point that it almost feels scripted. Sure, the documentary has employed a fair bit of dramatic liberty, but these moments—the buzzer-beaters, the back-to-back-to-back championship runs—they all actually happened. It's almost a surreal feeling watching it all unfold.
Last Chance U
Even if you know nothing about American Football—I don't, and I've watched the first three seasons twice—Last Chance U is undeniably one of the most well-produced documentaries on Netflix. It has drama, action, adrenaline, heartbreak—honestly, all the works. There's a sense of immersion as you follow a junior college team throughout the season, getting to know each of the players on a personal level, beyond the numbers which they put up on the field.
The journey's often full of struggle and the ending's not always out of a fairytale. But still, there's a lot to be taken away from the immense dedication and effort shown by some of the protagonists as they attempt to fulfill their dreams of playing professional football.
Basketball or Nothing
The basketball equivalent of Last Chance U, even though Last Chance U now has a newly released season following a basketball team too. Basketball or Nothing is the story of a team of high-schoolers from the Navajo Nation reservation in the US. They come from an isolated community and play the game with hopes of attaining college scholarships and making it out of their neighbourhood.
The inspiring documentary showcases the sheer impact which sports can play on the lives of people, whether its those in the community who watch and support as a means of escape, or those on the court who put everything on the line in the pursuit of victory.
We rarely remember the names of those who don't place first, but inspirational sports documentaries come in all shapes and forms. The stories of those who missed out on glory often showcase an even greater magnitude of struggle and fortitude. There's a lot which goes into experiencing defeat and trying to pick yourself back up thereon.
Losers interviews professional athletes, from sports such as golf, boxing, and figure-skating, who couldn't quite place their name among the stars. They offer varied perspectives on drawing the positives from their experience and moving on. There are enlightening bits of wisdom to be found which highlight that there's a lot more to life than winning.
All of these inspirational sports documentaries can be streamed on Netflix now.