My name’s Jerry, and I’m going to show you around the Nautilus equipment. You had your eye on one of the other trainers, didn’t you? That’s OK. I don’t mind being judged. In fact, once you get to know me, you’ll realize just how generous your initial impression was …

I’m sorry, I was just thinking about how unappealingly hairy my forearms are. Anyway, before we begin, I want to urge you to develop a fitness philosophy. I have two quotations taped in my locker, for example. The first—"O that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!"—is from Hamlet. The second is from Lance Armstrong, but is meant ironically. You should choose whatever words work for you.

All right, let’s get started. We don’t have to make eye contact if you don’t want to.

We’ll begin with the leg press. It’s good for overall lower-body strength, including the quads, the hamstrings, and the glutes. Oh, look at me with my little musculature shorthand—"glutes," "quads"—as if you can’t see right through me, as if you don’t know transparent insincerity when you hear it. That’s why I’m not allowed to sell memberships anymore, you see. I always end up crying and eating ice cream in the middle of the pitch. Did you know I never sold a single membership, but somehow bought six? Anyway, I can tell by the way you’re sipping from that bottle of Propel fitness water that you’ve already realized I don’t have any authentic essence whatsoever.

Do three sets of 10. Feel the burn if you can feel anything.

Next we’ll row. This is good for building up the upper back, until you inevitably lose the battle against age and atrophy—muscles, bone, skin—everything you spent a lifetime taking care of. Don’t even get me going on cartilage. If you think it’s worth it, however, I won’t stop you from doing three sets of 12, remembering to breathe out with the exertion. But you should look at this first: I carry a picture of an 86-year-old man in my wallet at all times, so I never forget exactly where life is dragging us. I’m guessing this guy’s mind is gone, too. That cup he’s holding looks like it’s been drool-proofed.

Great, now you think I’m weird. And you’re about to resent me even more because there’s a bunch of stuff I was supposed to mention before we got started. I got distracted thinking about how tough it was to motivate myself to even comb my hair this morning and how painful it is that no one’s ever tried to tickle me. I should have also gone over some stretches, and now your rotator-cuff tendinitis will be on my conscience. Aerobics, too. You should do a few minutes on the Sisyphean treadmill to get your muscles warmed up. You should also watch your diet, and use our nutritional supplements to maximize your body’s natural metabolic processes. Did you know that each of our scientifically calibrated enhancers is part pulverized seashell and part secret ingredient that causes nausea and temporary gender reassignment?

Damn! I thought I had the pitch that time. Wowee, I blew it. Can you imagine?

The chest press is next, but maybe you should just go ahead and try it without me. I’ll only fail you again. When you’re done, there’s the fly machine and the preacher curl and so on. Do the whole circuit, and when you’re done, pat yourself on the back with the satisfaction of knowing that most people don’t last a month into their gym membership and that, statistically, you’ll be one of them. I’m just going to find someplace to sit down, preferably in a room without mirrors. If you need to get ahold of me, you’d be the first person ever.