The first day of summer is just nine days away, which means that hundreds of thousands of American women are plunging into heat-induced panic over the idea of cramming their bodies into swimsuits made for anorexic Hollywood actresses who eat celery for lunch and skip dinner in order to do 1,000 crunches just before going to glamorous parties while you are stuck watching "Veggie Tales" for the 6,000th time while picking Cheerios out of the carpet.
Notice I said women. Men do not worry about swimsuits. "The fatter, hairier and whiter I am, the better I look in a swimsuit" is the motto of most men.
Not all men, of course. Some of us have been exercising for months, straining to get into summer shape, but because our Italian fathers decided to marry Irish/German women, we get stuck with Irish/German skin and Italian eyebrows, because GOD FORBID IT BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
Not that we are bitter.
Anyway, since there are still a few of you hoping to get into summer shape, and because this is primarily an educational column, I've decided to share my 25 rules of fitness, culled from my experiences running in Mill Creek Park and working out at Creekside Fitness Center.
(In return for this generous plug, the Creekside managers have graciously offered to continue overcharging me for my monthly membership.)
The 25 rulesof fitness
1. If you have back hair, do not wear a tank top.
2. Guys, this goes for you, too.
3. Never attempt to operate exercise equipment when an aerobics class in is plain sight.
4. Never join a health club unless it has an aerobics class in plain sight.
5. Steam rooms do nothing.
6. Same with saunas.
7. All the cool kids read books, magazines or newspapers between sets. Since I seem to be the only person at my gym that does this, I'm left to conclude that I'm the only cool kid at my gym.
8. All the cool kids wear shirt sleeves on their heads while running. Since I seem to be the only person in Mill Creek Park who does this, I'm left to conclude I'm the only cool kid in the park.
9. If it looks like you're rowing a boat when you're doing biceps curls, you might want to think about using less weight.
10. Grunting on the last rep means you're there to lift. Grunting on the first rep means you're there to be seen lifting.
11. You see that really hot girl wearing the sports bra and the tight spandex shorts? She does not need a spot.
12. Unless she asks for one.
13. Only dorks wear lifting gloves.
14. Just because you bench press 350 pounds does not mean you don't have to re-rack your weights.
15. Just because you bench press 50 pounds does not mean you don't have to re-rack your weights.
16. An aerobics class is sort of like the sun. Look, but don't stare.
17. Don't compare yourself to the 220-pound genetic freak next to you. Compare yourself to the person you were two months ago.
18. Fake tans do not make you look bigger. They make you look orange.
19. Very few people on this planet look good in spandex.
20. None of them are guys.
21. If, at any point, you find yourself watching "The View" on one of the gym TVs, please gather your things, walk out the door and don't look back.
22. Women, this goes for you, too.
23. Seriously, guys, I mean it about the spandex.
24. If it's June 12 and you're still not in shape for swimsuit season, do not try to get in shape by following a bunch of stupid fitness rules from a newspaper.
25. Unless they're mine.
XJoe Scalzo is a sportswriter for The Vindicator. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.