MERRILL - Most of Merrill hasn't eaten breakfast by the time dozens of Bluejay athletes are in the gym, burning calories instead of consuming them.
"It's not like they just kind of mosey on around and mope around in the morning with it being super early," trainer Grant Dahlke said. "They get after it."
Some Merrill athletes get up before six a.m. to go to the school's summer conditioning program.
"It wakes me up," junior Timmy Handlin said. "It usually motivates me to stay up, it gives me a little boost to the day, because usually I'd sleep until noon."
More than a hundred kids signed up to lift, not in spite of the early start time, but because of it.
"The ones that show up kind of asked for it, actually," Dahlke said.
Athletes do strength and conditioning in the late afternoon while school is in session.
"I'd rather do it in the morning," Handlin said. "I usually have sports and stuff going on at the end of the day. Even in the summer, I have summer basketball."
Freshman Olivia Troyer says things just aren't the same when she doesn't get to sweat in the morning.
"You can definitely tell a difference when you don't work out, because when I work out in the morning, the rest of my day is just really good," Troyer said. "I feel really good about myself."
When it comes to getting motivated this early in the morning, it helps to keep the eye on the prize.
"My goals are just to get really strong for the volleyball season, because there's a lot of girls to compete with to get on the team," Troyer said.
Merrill's strength and conditioning program runs through July and ends August 2.
Many other Northwoods schools have similar programs.