Channeling your inner control freak, rebelling against consumerism, and having no hand-eye coordination for team sports don’t sound like the usual motivations to hit the gym. But they work for me, and you’re welcome to try them, too.

At work, I dream of dropping a 45-pound plate on my computer at least twice a day. I can’t control unresponsive hardware or software, or petulant programs or people. But I can control my own flesh-and-blood software and hardware. I can rebel against the food industrial complex and #resist its addictive and deliberate modern witch’s brew of salt, sugar, and lard simply to make us crave more brew. My skills in football, basketball, or any sport involving a ball have no magic, dark or otherwise. But with cardio and resistance training, luckily, it doesn’t matter.

Post-workout Pump

Personally, my gym hour before work on weekdays is my time, and I love it that way. I take the frustration from emails, red tape, and computer troubleshooting at work and channel that frustration to push out one more rep. I can’t control negative responses from book publishers, no responses from potential employers, or favorite projects getting the ax. This is why I hit the weights, stair master, and jump rope.

Riding over the Ravenel

We emphasize and monetize athleticism to a fault, but it does teaches us three important lessons: persistence, discipline, and playing a long game. The gratification comes slowly, the failure rate remains high, and the game takes forever. But if you can #persist and #resist, health and good looks are just two rewards. You can feel you’ve taken control of your health, food, and physique when work, traffic, unhappy spouses, and screaming kids remain out of your control.

When friends you haven’t seen since last summer’s river float compliment your physique, the long-delayed gratification is well worth it. Staying in shape is a sport for all seasons, and although others tend to notice only during the warm ones, we can enjoy the high health benefits and lower doctor bills year-round.

River Rats

Getting and staying healthy is one of the few things in life we can control. It’s a rebellion we can win and be proud of fighting. So fight the power, stick it to the man, and hit the gym.