Listen: you don't really need $100 athletic shoes. You don't really need Under Armour compression gear.

You don't need a Nike Fuelband fitness tracker device. Nor do you need a Saucony running arm sleeve.

There is not one single product manufactured by Lululemon that you need to buy under any conceivable circumstances.

You don't need to pay a personal trainer. That's right! You don't! Assuming you possess functional literacy, an even temperament, and a childlike level of credulousness, you can learn everything you need to know about working out on this or countless other less reputable sites. Or books, even. Cheapo used books, even. You only have to pay for them once. Later you can do tiny box jumps onto them.

People often ask me* (*lie), "Hey, I'm thinking of going on down to the gym to get in a little 'cardio.' Should I purchase some Cleto Reyes Tae Bo gloves and some Asics Gel-Intensity™ trainers and some Puma warm up suits and a Nike™ performance training duffel bag to hold my Reebok ZigTech™ jacket and my Swiftwick performance compression argyle running socks?" And I'm like, "Well..." and then they hastily interrupt to add "and my Bolle training sunglasses and my TYR competitor Tri shorts and my Giro mountain bike shoes that you would think cost more than an actual bike until you learn that my bike cost $6,000?"

No. You should not purchase that.

You do not need to pay for an Equinox membership. Or even a Crossfit membership. Some of the baddest athletes in the metropolis work out on monkey bars in school playgrounds. You do not need to join a ridiculous "private training" gym catering to billionaires and their egos. Many of the world's best fighters work out in a small hot LA strip mall gym over a mediocre Thai restaurant. You do not need a tanned and smiling crew of motivational "boot camp" trainers to help you "accelerate your fat loss and body-toning goals." Go run up a hill. You do not need a "fitness app" to "share your progress" with your "virtual community." I'll tell you where to share your progress: in your head. While you're doing neck bridges, on a dirty towel that you found on the curb on trash day.

Johnny Knuckles punches steel lightpoles in city parks until his swollen fists are impervious to pain. Soul Cycle can suck it.

In order to "work out" to a hardcore degree you will need the following things: some old shorts, old shoes (optional), old t-shirt (optional), caffeine, and a will to achieve that burns like a fire unto your very soul. The total cost of these items is about five bucks, give or take. It's nice to join a gym, if you can afford it, because they have barbells and cages and hundreds of pounds of iron plates, which you probably do not have in your apartment. But if you can't afford it, you can carry some god damn rocks and sandbags and gallon jugs of water. You say that I need to pay a hefty fee in order to come into your "fancy" gym? I say that I'm right on the public sidewalk outside, doing pushups until I develop tetanus in my palms, absolutely free, until the police are called. Now who's fancy? You are. But I have fewer expenses.

You do not need a motherfucking nine dollar bottle of juice. People in Thailand kick banana trees. You should be ashamed of yourself.

The niceness of someone's gym outfit is directly inversely proportional to their hardcoreness. Do not get caught out there like a sucker in your too-white new shoes and too-bright spandex and too-sweet performance energy glucose glucosamine patented workout mixturade. Take your cues from the tiger: Solitary. Dirty. Naked. And fucking up anybody who comes by acting all ostentatious, especially monkeys—which are a lot stronger than they look, so you do the math.

The archive for I of the Tiger, one of the internet's 50 Most Popular Fitness Columns (Cat Video Website division), is viewable here.

[Image by Jim Cooke]