Many people in your life won’t take your fitness seriously. Shrug them off. You don’t need their permission to take your fitness as seriously as you need to. Don’t be ashamed to make time for it and defend that time like your life depends on it. In many ways, it does.

Because without regular exercise—and strength training in particular—health and vitality inevitably decay. And your health and vitality aren’t just “parts of your life”—they quite literally are your life.

By refusing to spend a few hours per week on your fitness, then, you’re basically saying, “I don’t care about my life.”

What’s that? You’re too busy to get fit? Well, I declare! Look, who has the “free time” for even half of all the stuff they want to do? Who has a chunk of their days neatly gift wrapped for training in Zen-like comfort and solitude? 

Let’s face it: We’re all going to die with a long to-do list. Fondling ourselves and arguing with strangers on the internet should be on that list. “Start training” shouldn’t be.

You’re allowed to look away, too. From the news. From social media. From the streaming circus. You’re allowed to seize and occupy a swath of your life to eat, exercise, and sleep the way you want to. Harrumph at anyone who says otherwise. They’re entitled to their life, not yours.

And I know, you won’t enjoy every workout. Nobody does. But you’ll always enjoy having worked out. Remember that when it feels like you’re sweating blood. Remember that some days, you rescue the workout. Other days, the workout rescues you.

Also, don’t get so gripped by the cacophony of conflicting rules and methods that you spend more time thinking than doing. Don’t allow the temptation of a Better Way to eat and exercise become the fiery, unblinking, and paralyzing gaze of Sauron. Push it aside. Train first. Then reflect.

And finally, once you’ve found a setup that works for you, offer it to others. Leave a light on and ladder out for those coming up behind you. Show them your map so they can better chart theirs.