Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness Movie Poster Image
Nearly two-hour commercial for CrossFit; some cursing.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 127 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

When you think you've given your all, give a little more. Both men and women can compete at a high level physically.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Athletes push themselves to the farthest boundaries of pain tolerance and exhaustion. Female athletes perform the same difficult tasks as the male participants.
 

Violence

Athletes in CrossFit competition lift, climb, run, and swim past the point of pain and exhaustion. Competitors pull each other back to gain advantage in races. During a swim, a racer reports being dragged down by the ankle below the surface.
 

Sex

Men and women dress in skimpy workout clothes.

Language

"S--t" and "bitch." Athletes seem to say "f--k," but the words are bleeped.

Consumerism

The CrossFit brand of workout regimens and gyms are mentioned and displayed. Reebok, the games' other sponsor, is also heavily featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's no mention of performance-enhancing drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness is a slick documentary chronicling the 10th anniversary of the Reebok CrossFit Games, which is a demanding five-day physical competition that produces male and female winners billed as the "fittest on earth." Any violence here is self-inflicted by athletes willing to work themselves to extremes of pain and endurance as they lift, climb, run, and swim. Competitors pull each other back to gain advantage in races. During a swim, a racer reports being dragged down by the ankle below the surface. In interviews, some of the athletes say "s--t" and "bitch," but all instances of the word "f--k" are bleeped. Performance-enhancing drugs aren't mentioned but some observers believe that high-level CrossFit competitors may use them.

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What's the story?

FITTEST ON EARTH: A DECADE OF FITNESS is a slick documentary commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Reebok CrossFit Games, a competition that produces male and female winners billed as the "fittest on earth." The participants are generally adherents of the CrossFit training method, which is a closely controlled workout brand. Camera crews follow several athletes apparently deemed most likely to finish in the top four of the male and female divisions. They're seen training at home and on the field competing.
 

Is it any good?

This movie feels like a nearly two-hour commercial for the CrossFit workout brand. To the degree that Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness qualifies as a documentary, production values are understandably good, since the CrossFit team of producers spent enough money to buy great camera work. Since they were also the producers of the event, those camera people had plenty of access to the athletes and venues. But editing may have been where they stinted on talent. Neither content nor story quality would have suffered from a 30-minute trim. And out-of-sequence cuts to biographical segments on individual athletes seem overlong and misplaced.

There have been reports that CrossFit adherents suffer lots of injuries, and there has been speculation that, as in bodybuilding, performance-enhancing drug use exists. Reebok CrossFit Games have a strict drug-testing policy, but so do professional baseball, bike-racing, and football, and no one believes those sports are clean. As far as narrative goes, an episode of American Ninja Warrior, which this closely resembles, feels far more cohesive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the obsessiveness of world-class athletes and their training and eating regimens in Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness. What other areas of life do you think such discipline could be applied to?

  • The athletes depicted here want to be "the best" in their field. Do you think it's helpful to set high goals? Why or why not?

  • What qualities must you have to be a world-class athlete? How much do you think is hard work and how much is natural ability?

Movie details

For kids who love fitness

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