To my dearest darling daughter:

I love you. I would step in front of a Nickelback concert for you. But during this exercise in the time of COVID, I need to explain some things about gym etiquette.

I know you’re going bugshit because you can’t go to karate or your fitness classes, and I’m happy to have you working out with me in the home gym. I also understand that you’ve never worked out in a conventional gym before, and must explain that there are certain things that you just don’t do.

Let’s get to it.

No stinky perfumes
I know you meant well, but dafuq was up with that deodorant? It had the image of a cucumber on the front but smelled like something you spray on a female rhinoceros to get the males to mate with her.

I’d rather smell nasty stank ass unwashed teenager B.O. any day than smell that again.

No calling the guy who complains about your stinky deodorant “a whiny little bitch”
I think that covers it.

No, I won’t turn it down
I’m on Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica and you thump on the treadmill like an angry elephant. I’m not sure how someone who weighs half what I do can be so heavy footed. I need to be able to hear Boomer profess her robot love for whichever dude she’s currently interfacing with.

Uh, spoiler? Yeah, Boomer is a cylon.

We need to talk about start time
You can’t stroll out of bed at 1pm, have a bowl of cereal and a latte and then say you’re ready to work out. I understand you want to work out with me for motivation, but my coffee wore off five hours ago. There needs to be some compromise here.

Seriously, ew.

No farting
Drop them in your brother’s room and close the door. It’s nasty in there anyway and no one will notice the difference.

Post workout shower dibs
My shower takes three minutes. Yours takes until the hot water tank is empty. Therefore, I declare an eternal state of first dibs.

I reserve the right to expand upon this list as the atrocities mount.




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James S. Fell, MA, MBA, has bylines in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, TIME Magazine, and many other publications. His blog has millions of readers and he is the author of two books: The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant (St. Martin’s Press, 2019), and Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind (Random House Canada, 2014). Order them here.