It's just about time to present this year's ESPN The Magazine Body Issue.
With the annual display of the athletic form set to hit newsstands in the coming days, I decided to preview some of the highlights released by ESPN already—both in photos and videos.
If these shots don't inspire you to hit the gym, well, I don't know what will.
Release Date: Friday, July 12
Athletes Appearing in Issue: Colin Kaepernick, Matt Harvey, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Giancarlo Stanton, Swin Cash, Courtney Force, John Wall, Vernon Davis, John Isner, Sydney Leroux, Kenneth Faried, Carly Booth, Joffrey Lupul, Elena Hight, Agnieszka Radwanska, Chris Sharma, Daila Ojeda, Miesha Tate, Marlen Esparza, Tarah Gieger and Gary Player.
We start with funny car driver Force, who bares all next to an exposed engine. And you thought drivers weren't athletes...
Now, how about some room service with young New York Mets ace Harvey?
All he's done this year is go 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 147 strikeouts in 130 innings. Move over Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw—there is a new young ace in the National League.
We turn from room service to a bit of rock climbing with Ojeda.
Not only is this one of the coolest pictures I've ever seen, but I'm also now terrified despite being planted firmly on the ground.
While we're off the ground, let's catch some air with Gieger.
Don't try that at home, kids.
Hey, let's grab one more airborne shot as the USWNT's Leroux is captured in mid bicycle kick.
With all of these amazing bodies and beautiful photography, maybe we should take a moment to cool off with the Miami Marlins' Stanton.
Unfortunately, Stanton has been pretty cooled off all season long, hitting just .243 with eight home runs and 23 RBI this year. Of course, he's essentially surrounded by a minor league team—and he did lose a big chunk of the year to injury—so his struggles aren't totally shocking.
We start with Kaepernick—of course, the quarterback for the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. In this video, Kaepernick talks about the controversy surrounding his tattoos and how he wants to defy the notion of what a traditional quarterback should be.
That includes how players of the position should look.
Next, we turn to Walsh Jennings, one of the most decorated beach volleyball players in history. Her photo shoot was really cool, as it started when she was pregnant and ended a few months after she gave birth to a little girl.
Here, she talks about the difficulties of getting back into top condition after a pregnancy, while reminding ladies it is totally doable.
Finally, we turn to Esparza, a boxer who could stun you with a smile or a jab to your chin. She talks about maintaining her femininity while engaging in such a brutal sport, and how the athletic form is beautiful despite counteracting many archaic notions of beauty.
In all of these videos, the athletes show off their toned and fit bodies, but they also offer a different perspective on what it means to be an athlete and why the athletic form is to be admired.