Is Physical on Apple TV+ based on a true story?

By Louie Fecou
Published: August 4, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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Is Physical on Apple TV+ based on a true story

Is Physical on Apple TV+ based on a true story? We discuss the popular series and where it is on real events.

Physical is a comedy-drama that follows the epiphany of Sheila Rubin, a distraught and despairing housewife who eventually finds aerobics and transforms her life accordingly.

If you are of a certain generation, it will be hard to imagine just how truly groundbreaking the aerobics boom of the nineteen eighties was.

Take the rise of home video, and marry it with the latest fitness craze, presented by one of the biggest names in Hollywood, Jane Fonda, and ta-dah, instant cultural phenomena.

You might think that the latest TikTok dance is a big deal, but Jane Fonda’s workout was like nothing you had ever seen before and influenced everything that would come after it.

The home videos were followed by records, books, and even equipment, and the whole world was soon grapevining its way to a fitter and more balanced way of living.

Fonda was resplendent in various different lycra outfits, and her army grew in their millions.

The video cassettes were so popular they led to a boom in the sale of home video players, and this was no flash in the pan, with the craze creating an industry that shaped the fitness world as we know it today.

It seems that the creators of Physical were very aware of the Fonda exercise cult, and it is reflected in the motivations of many of the characters in Physical.

So with all that in mind, you would be forgiven for wondering about the series, so grab your leg warmers and headband and prepare for a sweaty article that will answer: Is Physical on Apple TV+ based on a true story?

What is the TV Show Physical about?

Physical follows Sheila, a housewife with her own set of baggage, supporting her husband’s endeavors but losing herself at the same time until she discovers aerobics.

Sheila slowly becomes obsessed with the exercise regime, a phenomenon that gathered speed in the early eighties, and finds herself becoming more and more absorbed by it,

This leads to her finding a way forward, empowering herself through the activity, and starting her own fitness business along the way.

Is Physical on Apple TV+ based on a true story?

Although not based on a true story, there is no denying that the home exercise boom did happen and did shape the industry forever after. Sheila’s rise to an eighties style influencer, before there were influencers. was probably reminiscent of the legion of fitness instructors who would rise to prominence at this time and beyond.

So although the plots and storylines are fictional, the structure of the series is based on fact.

Is Physical based on real-life people?

No, the characters are fictional, and the situations, although plausible at the time the show is set, all come from the creative team behind the show.

I have no doubt that the Jane Fonda workout videos of the time were a huge inspiration for the team behind the show, and I am sure that many of you out there might recall somebody who reminds you of Sheila, but the story is a work of fiction.

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