Pep talk: You don’t have to look a certain way, and you don’t need a certain amount of equipment before getting started in triathlon.

Have some kind of bike in the garage? Ride it. Have a limited amount of time? Train when you can. Have kids? Built-in cheer squad! Survey after survey has tried to figure out what keeps people from participating in triathlon, including what prevents more women from getting into the sport, and the obstacles facing athletes in disadvantaged communities. But it turns out, they’re the same obstacles everyone faces: access, money, equipment, time, culture.

People don’t do triathlon because they don’t know how to swim and they’re scared, or they don’t know anyone in the sport and they don’t feel like they’ll fit in.

The good news is this means we know how to solve these problems, we know which excuses are real (money, swim skills) and which ones are more mental (body image, making new tri friends).

If you’re reading this, you’ve surely conquered some excuses on the way to your first tri. Should these cop-outs rear their heads again, grab this chart! Got a buddy who hasn’t yet committed? Point them to this page, then pat them on the back and say: “Let’s go!”

Illustration by Matt Collins