“Physical 100” provides a new take on fitness


“Physical 100” is Korea’s new hit reality show. Following 100 of the top athletes in Korea, the show aims to find the so-called perfect body. Athletes like Olympic medal winners, world-famous MMA fighters, models and crossfitters compete for the honor of putting their torso on the top spot pedestal.

The show consists of eight episodes, and six main quests. The first, a preliminary quest, asks contestants to hang as long as possible from a set of bars on the ceiling. The second quest is a rapid elimination round, in which contestants pair up and participate in a “death match.” Contestants fight in either a mud pit arena or a grassy obstacle course. The pairings are often fairly equal, and the competition is so close that every match is exhilarating to watch. The two following quests are team quests, in which the remaining contestants group together and compete in challenges that test the boundaries of human strength. These quests are inspiring, and offer a new dimension to the contestants, as they need to demonstrate admirable leadership and teamwork skills. The final twenty contestants, participate in five contests modeled after five ancient Greek myths: the myth of Prometheus, the Wings of Icarus, the myth of Sisyphus, the Tail of Ouroboros, and the Punishment of Atlas. These challenges allow contestants to highlight their niche talents, as contestants choose which challenge they want to participate in. 

Apart from the quests, the participants themselves are a highly diverse and captivating group. They range from bodybuilders like Seol Ki-Kwan to fitness YouTubers like Shim Eu-DDeum, to people like Kim Min-Cheol, a nationally ranked ice climber and a member of the Special Mountain Rescue Team. The range of talent is astounding and exhibits the extent of human ability. It is not just their brute strength that is admirable, but also their agility, determination and endurance. 

The show is reality television at its best — a demonstration of the range of human ability and camaraderie among people. These are some of the most physically impressive people in the world, and “Physical 100” highlights their strength while uncovering the personalities within their bodies.