Last year I decided to finally lose weight. I visited my doctor for advice, and he told me to “eat healthy and exercise.” Being that I thought fat-free frozen yogurt covered in M&Ms was still fat-free, more specific guidance was needed. So I searched for fitness advice online and discovered an abundance of scantily clad experts with no shortage of merchandise or opinions.

Unfortunately, some of these YouTube sages provided confusing and often contradictory guidance on how to get healthy. Desperate for clarity and more videos of fitness models in bikinis, I visited countless websites run by self-promoting gurus who were unfamiliar with concepts like science and basic human dignity. Through this excruciating research, I cobbled together a few key principles that have motivated me as I continue my transformative journey from overweight and unhealthy to somewhat out of shape.

Shirts are Bad

The one good thing about being an internet fitness expert is your clothing budget is close to zero. Women wear barely enough fabric to dress a small toddler, while most of the guys consider sleeves to be their kryptonite. And this total disregard for modesty isn’t just for the gym, but also applies to the car, living room, and post workout lunches at the Cheesecake Factory.

Since all these folks are in fantastic shape, most people don’t mind them walking around in a borderline criminal state of undress. Conversely, I still remember being afraid to shower after eighth-grade gym class because a classmate told me I suffered from a serious medical condition called “man boobs.” Even today, the only way I’d be shirtless in public is if I got caught in the middle of the kind of epic global catastrophe where the President skips calling in the military and goes straight to The Rock.

Nothing is Truly Healthy

The experts I encountered ranged from sketchy doctors and nutritionists to esteemed members of the National Academy of Bro Science. They taught me to be wary of proteins, carbs, and fats. Don’t drink too little water, but also be careful of over hydrating. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, assuming you’re doing CrossFit training and not a steady state cardio workout, in which case it’s dinner.

Of course, this all depends on which diet you follow, and options include Keto, Atkins, Vegetarian, Vegan, Fruitarian, Low Carb, Slow Carb, Carnivore, Primal, Paleo, Pescatarian, Mediterranean, Whole 30, and the ever annoying Gluten Free. Seem like it’s impossible to figure out what to eat? Good! Because the newest weight loss trend is fasting for days at a time. Advocates recommend anywhere from 2 to 5 days without food for best results, but I recommend 6 hours before collapsing in a pile of potato chips.

Supplement with My Supplements

Any fitness expert worth their weight in protein powder has their own line of supplements. These products are filled with a long list of patented-yet-unpronounceable ingredients originally designed to make racehorses faster and more prone to heart attacks. When it comes to people, the claims include increased energy, fat loss, muscle gain, and even a better boner in the bedroom, assuming you don’t have a heart attack before the sex starts.

I bought a product from a well-known celebrity trainer called Creatine Monohydrate, which was supposed to reduce muscle soreness and allow for better workouts. Ten days after starting Creatine there were no differences in the gym, but when I flew home for Christmas my bag got flagged by TSA Agents who mistook the chalky white powder for cocaine. Nothing puts one in the holiday spirit like spending an hour alone in a TSA waiting room fearing a Christmas Eve cavity search.

When in Doubt, Put Stuff in a Blender

Regardless of their philosophy or gimmick, all online fitness professionals bow down to the mighty blender. Maybe it’s how they spend the cash they’ve saved on proper clothing, or perhaps blenders give them something to do in their videos besides slow motion squats and bicep curls. Either way, this kitchen staple isn’t only for cleansing and detoxing, as one buff online meathead blends some of his 12 daily meals so his mouth doesn’t get sore from chewing.

Inspired by a guy who works out his mouth more than I do my entire body, I readied the blender for action. My girlfriend came over bearing bags of organic produce and a music playlist with way too much Katy Perry. While I stuffed a random collection of vegetables into the cylinder, she asked if I was adding any fruit, to which I replied, “in the smoothie game, fruits are a crutch for the weak.”

Two minutes later I held up a bubbling green liquid reeking of sulphur. My girlfriend retreated to the bedroom and locked the door. I overcame some anticipatory dry heaves, closed my eyes, and chugged the putrid smoothie straight from the blender as “Firework” played in the background. A few hours later I felt much healthier, although I’m unsure if it was due to the smoothie or the three gallons of water I drank to wash out the taste.

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