Don’t be ridiculous.
Okay, so I suppose a certain amount of exercise is permissible. You need to be waif thin which should be no problem if you stick to the prescribed Whiskey & Cigarettes diet. If however you do put on weight somehow you’ll need to shed it ASAP: they’re called “skinny” jeans for a reason.
Eating disorders haven’t been cool for like nine years so if you’re going to lose weight you should “go to the gym” and you ought to let people know that you’re going to “go to the gym” or that you’ve just “been to the gym.” Running (which you should never under any circumstances do outside “the gym”), swimming, saunas… What you actually do there isn’t that important, so long as you get rid of your excess fat and don’t gain any extra weight. Can you lift a guitar? You can? Then you’re already strong enough and don’t need to build up your muscles.
Playing football’s fine too although you need to play it semi-ironically and ideally you should’ve been playing since you were much younger; that way football’s an intrinsic part of who you are, like your collection of rare ‘70s vinyls. If people look surprised when you tell them you play football, then you’ve done it right. Faris Badwan from the Horrors really likes football but then he hasn’t been in the NME Cool List since 2006 so he’s not a great role model. Take Peter Crouch as your inspiration instead: world class footballer, yet skinny as fuck AND danced The Robot as a goal celebration. The man’s a genius.
Martial arts are fine too. Okay so you should already have a mean right hook from your days as a gutter-snipe ruffian, growing up on a dodgy housing estate, but that needn’t stop you developing that into something more refined and controlled. As with “going to the gym” and football, you mustn’t let martial arts result in muscle development.
Other sports aren’t cool, end of story. Cricket, baseball, etc. involve too much standing around and standing around’s pointless unless you’ve got a cigarette in one hand and a whiskey in the other; rugby, American football, Aussie rules, ice hockey etc. are all just organised fights and if you’re cool you don’t organise anything, especially not your fights.
Yoga is also an avenue to be explored, albeit with caution. Your life ought to be a giddy rollercoaster of substance-fuelled anonymous sex and live music and a bit of relaxation that doesn’t involve a tourniquet now and then is no bad thing. Plus, it’ll get you flexible enough to experiment with sexual positions unavailable to the less-limber. Here’s the danger: don’t turn into one of those sanctimonious, new-age, Madonna-type cunts that bang on about how wonderful their wholesome Pilates-filled, colonically-irrigated lives are. Truly cool people lead by example they don’t harp on about how great they are. Anyway, why would you want to be wholesome in the first place?
Unless you’re dancing, playing a gig or having sex, then breaking a sweat is to be avoided at all costs but when it comes down to it, sweating from a session on a running machine is infinitely preferable to sweating from the exertion of trying to squeeze into a pair of Cheap Mondays…
Christopher’s Guide to Being Cool now has its own blog which will be updated whenever I can drag myself away from having sex with rockstars.