By Mollie Sherman, intern

I am by no means an “elite athlete.” I have never specialized in a particular sport and my dream of being a collegiate runner diminished when I plateaued in high school. However, I possess a characteristic that has kept me going for the past several years, and one that has allowed me to stay healthy, in-shape, and happy: willpower. Many individuals have the desire to be great and do good things for their body, but some find it hard to follow through with those goals. It is especially hard to get moving in the middle of a blazing-hot Georgia summer, but here is a list of 10 ways to overcome being a couch potato this summer.

1. Wake up early.

When the temperature is expected to creep up into the 90s by noon, it’s easy to assume there’s “just not enough time in the day” to workout. Contrary to the belief of many late-sleepers, there is a whole world out there before 12:00 p.m. In fact, I have gone on some of the prettiest and most rewarding runs well before 9:00 a.m. and my body didn’t implode from waking up before the sun. Plus, getting in a workout early in the morning leaves you energized and feeling great the rest of the day.

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2. Find a workout buddy.

Accountability is the greatest motivator out there. Find a buddy who has similar fitness goals as you and work out together, check-in with each other, and motivate each other to do well. This holds true for making sure you’re both eating well and doing good things for your body.

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3. Sign up for a 5k.

Or a 10k. If it isn’t a run, sign up for some kind of sporting event that requires you to stay in shape throughout the summer. No one wants to show up to an event with little to no training and end up with a preventable injury. My family runs the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA every July so I have to keep up a consistent running schedule every summer in order to perform well.

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A picture of me (very) happily crossing the finish line of the Peachtree in 2013.

4. Give swimming a chance.

If you’re already going to spend endless hours at the pool, what better way to stay in shape than swimming laps? Several pools rope off areas for individuals who want to swim laps, and this is a fantastic way to stay in shape while still cooling off. Make sure you have someone show you the proper technique for the stroke you’d like to swim to get the most out of your workout.

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5. Set an alarm on your phone.

Pick a specific time each day that you want to workout and set a reminder on your phone to notify you. There are several apps that do a similar job, but a simple alarm does the job. “GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND RUN” usually does the trick for me.

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6. Sign up for a group run or bike.

There are several local organizations that put on evening runs or bike rides several times a week. This creates a sense of community and gives you something to look forward to after a long day of work or class. Plus, the sun has gone down by the time these events take place so you escape the hotter temps.

 

7. Give yourself a day off.

Some people over exert themselves when they have extra time over the summer. Make sure to give yourself a day or two off each week so you don’t burn out. You will have a better chance to meet your fitness goals if you give your body some time to rest.

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8. Take advantage of a free fitness class.

Sometimes it simply is too hot to be outside. For those instances, take advantage of classes that are offered for free or for a low cost at local gyms. Group fitness classes are fun, exciting, and a change of pace from running on a treadmill or using an elliptical.

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9. Pack a bag (and a snack).

Many people are still working, taking classes, or interning over the summer and it’s easy to use the excuse that you don’t have exercise clothes so you don’t have to workout. If you set out a bag the night before with the appropriate clothing and healthy, protein-filled snacks, you are much more likely to workout the following day.

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10. Go on an adventure.

During the year, it’s hard to fit in adventurous trips. Georgia has a plethora of places to hike, kayak, and explore, which are all exciting opportunities to exercise while still having fun. An easy trip up 129 takes you into the beautiful mountains of North Georgia, where you can find trails, bodies of water, and other exciting opportunities.

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