I expect a lot of Xanax prescriptions will be filled today.
What a Trumpmare. But it’s a done deal, so we can now return this site and associated social media pages to its previously scheduled whatever the fuck I feel like writing about.
Two-and-a-half years ago I took a chance by writing about how much the so-called “alpha male” bullshit rife in the realm of fitness bothered me. Much to my surprise, the post was well received and led to a gig writing for TIME Magazine.
The thing that surprised me the most was how many young male trainers praised and shared it. I gave voice to something many of them were thinking. The Personal Trainer Development Center named it their “Top Article of the Week.”
Fitness, and more specifically the realm of building muscle, is permeated with fragile male egos and misogyny. I know there are plenty of young fellas who read my work, and as an old fella who has learned a few things I have an opportunity to instruct them on how not to be assholes towards women.
Overwhelmingly I have received support for these “not about fitness” writings. The two most popular pieces on my blog (one and two) are not about fitness at all. Traffic to my site and followers to my social media have grown significantly since I began expanding the range of topics I cover.
Alas, not everyone is happy.
Some people insist I “get back to just writing about fitness.” They are “so disappointed at what my writing has become.”
Well boo fucking hoo.
Note the operative word in the title of this piece. Do you see it? It’s “can.” These people can shut the fuck up. They don’t have to shut the fuck up or even should shut the fuck up. They can shut the fuck up because I can guarantee I’m not going to do what they want. People have the right to post whatever dumbfuck comment pops into their heads, just as I have the right to ignore their dumbfuckery.
That’s a lot of “fucks” for one short paragraph, so let’s start there.
Your swearing is offensive / shows a lack of intelligence and education / means you’re a lousy writer …
Please have sexual intercourse with yourself.
I swear mostly for one reason: because I love a good cursing. I’ve been complimented on my ability to swear in the English language. That’s what happens when you take the “get to Carnegie Hall” approach to training your potty mouth.
It’s offensive? I’m not making you read it. Block my page. Shows a lack of intelligence and education? Got any data to support that? I’m no Einstein, but I do have a couple of master’s degrees. Means I’m a lousy writer? The Los Angeles Times – which is a multiple Pulitzer winning publication and the fourth largest circulation newspaper in the United States – didn’t think that when they made me their fitness columnist six years ago. This despite the fact that I live in Canada, when L.A. isn’t exactly short on local fitness experts.
Stephen King was one of my favorite writers growing up. I love the way he swears.
When my writing doesn’t call for profanity, I leave it out. But in my regular life I swear like a long-haul trucker who just spilled McDonalds nuclear hellfire coffee on his crotch. Profanity is a cathartic and creative outlet for me, and a lot of people like reading it. If you’re not one of them, again, there are so many other writers for you to follow. You don’t need to waste your pearl-clutching time on me.
Fitness writers shouldn’t be writing about vaccines / GMOs / alternative medicine …
I don’t just cover “fitness,” but health in general, and these are public health issues. You and your kids being unvaccinated puts me and my family at risk. GMOs and modern farming techniques are critical to the food supply (and better for the environment), while organic (which is pervasive in the fitness industry) is nothing but a marketing gimmick getting people to pay a stupidity tax. What’s more, alternative medicine kills people, and I like people.
Feminism is cancer. Stop being such a feminist. Men’s rights activists are totes not evil.
Exposing the hate-filled rhetoric that is MRA and the rampant misogyny that persists in modern society is a bit of a hobby of mine (tell me the election results don’t prove it). Again, I have a lot of young male readers who I know are exposed to toxic ideals about masculinity because many muscle-focused fitness writers like to prey on frail egos in order to sell their message. I’m in a position to be able to counter some of that, and feel duty bound to do so. If you’re not into it, kindly look elsewhere for your fitness advice, but don’t expect to be appreciated by women when you treat them like second-class citizens.
Your recipe is all wrong. Instead you should …
I never once said I am a good cook. In fact, I have many times referred to my cooking as “mediocre at best.” Did I write those recipes (four in total) because I thought they were the paramount of culinary expertise? No. I wrote them for laughs, to tell a story, and maybe some people would try one out and like it.
And despite all of those proclaiming Italian heritage who called my lasagna recipe a “crime against gastronomy,” there were many who made the dish and enjoyed it.
Stop writing about American politics! You’re a fitness guy! From Canada!
I get that we all have election fatigue, so please join me in a collective sigh of What the fuck do we do now?
I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to stay out of it and just be grateful I live in Canada.
I published a piece two days ago explaining the unacceptable risk of nuclear warfare under a Trump presidency, and despite being “just a fitness guy” I actually am uniquely qualified to write such a thing. If you actually read the article you would have seen it contains a section explaining my education in U.S. foreign policy during the cold war. I expect I’ve studied your country more closely than the vast majority of your own population has.
I wrote a fair bit about this election in an effort to avert Adolf 2.0. This was our time to take a stand against the rise of a threat to world peace (and women and minorities and vaccination rates and the environment and the economy …). I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kind of person who sits back and let’s that kind of shit happen without a fight. And so, I fought. I fought in areas where I had the most expertise.
- When Donald Trump went on Dr. Oz to talk about his health and fitness, I wrote about it.
- When former Miss Universe Alicia Machado wanted to talk about body image and how the attacks she faced by Trump led to years of eating disorders, I interviewed her about it.
- When the Trump tapes revealed the “grab them by the pussy” comment, I created a flowchart. And, because I’ve spent so much time in actual locker rooms, explained how that really is NOT locker room talk.
- Because of some cheesy viral video about Canada saying you’re awesome, I wanted to let you know the real reason Canada cares about your election.
- Because I love a “nasty woman,” I wrote about why I married one.
- And, as I previously linked, I’m scared to death of Trump being in charge of nuclear weapons. Because I have specific education in that regard, I wrote about why he should never have access to anything more lethal than a potato gun.
In case you didn’t notice, stopping Trump from being elected was kind of important to a whole lot of people. As someone with knowledge and a voice that people listen to you are goddamn right that I’m going to opine.
Alas, it wasn’t enough. I tried, but now I need a break from this bullshit. A major publication just asked me to write about the election results for them and I turned them down because it’s hard to write when you constantly feel like throwing up.
I miss the fitness articles
Have you not been paying attention?
There are still plenty of them. Even during the height of the election the majority of what I wrote was in regards to diet and exercise. If they’re not coming out fast enough for you there are several hundred of my published articles at the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Chatelaine, AskMen, TIME Magazine, the Guardian, Men’s Health etc. that are linked from that drop down menu called “Articles” on this site. I haven’t updated it since March, but there are still a shit-ton and I doubt you’ve read them all. I also have a book you can read.
I should note that I often receive valuable feedback on my social media and via email. If I fuck something up, which does happen, people let me know and I’m grateful for it. There are several examples where I’ve fixed something or changed my thinking on an issue because of thoughtful criticism. Conversely, if someone only thinks I fucked up and it’s really their comment is that’s fucked up, then don’t expect me to be grateful.
Again, you don’t have to shut the fuck up, but realize that you’re just wasting your breath when you try to tell me how to do my job in terms of the topics I cover or even the style in which I cover them. Depending on just how stupid your commentary is, don’t be surprised if this happens:
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James S. Fell is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada. He also interviews celebrities about their fitness stories for the Los Angeles Times, and is head fitness columnist for AskMen.com and a regular contributor to Men’s Health.