Rant: Content, Schmontent

stack-of-magazinesI love to read fitness magazines. I subscribe to SELF, Shape, Women’s Health, and Fitness. I used to also get Health, and sometimes I read Oxygen if someone left a copy at the gym.

But as a consumer, I have to say, I’m really getting annoyed with the predictable, formulaic content in each and every issue, regardless of the publication.

There’s seriously nothing new out there, and they’re all the same!

True, sometimes we hear about new health/fitness studies. But they’re usually bullets or side-bars, not full-on analyses. Nothing in-depth.

Each of these magazines dish the same topics about beauty, fashion, fitness, food, sex … just rehashed in different ways.

Their covers scream unrealistic things like,

-Get bikini ready now!
-Lose your love handles in four days!
-Drop 20 lbs this month!
-20 ways to cut 200 calories!
-So-and-so celeb tipped the scale at X (a ridiculously low weight anyway) and lost 10 lbs!

I buy them, I read them, I fall victim to them. Why? I’m always hoping to find a new nugget of wisdom. There’s that glimmer of hope that I’ll discover something new.

And sometimes I do find a gem worth sharing, and I’ll share it here — that’s how I found out about Monica Seles’s book, Getting a Grip: through an article in SELF.

(SELF is my probably my favorite of the bunch; it’s also where I first learned the expression “disordered eating” which led to the creation of my blog, when I realized that, indeed, was what I was!).

But for the most part, it’s the same old, same old in these pubs.

Blogging has taught me about creating unique content, at least most of the time. Sometimes I link to another great blog, or review a new food find, or share an article I’ve read. But for the most part, I try to be original.

I don’t have any solutions to offer, it’s just an observation (and an obvious one, I realize). These magazines help my time on the Precor with arms fly by, so for that, they’re valuable.

But I can also see how they could influence body image, and there’s risk in that for people already suffering from poor body image. Sometimes these magazines can boost our confidence with success stories of overcoming challenges, disabilities, etc.

I personally admire the figures of the models shown in those magazines vs. fashion magazines (fitness models are usually fit, toned, lean).

But all too often, we see air-brushed celebs whose bodies are just unrealistic and unattainable, and hearing how so-and-so eats anything she wants and doesn’t work out and still weighs less than my left leg … well, that just doesn’t help anyone (nor is it a healthy lifestyle to flaunt!)

The bottom line is that most days, I can’t help but feel like it’s Groundhog Day when I pick up one of these magazines.

I’m not quite ready to ditch the magazines yet (hell, I’ve already paid for the year subscription!), but I’m definitely leaning that way … and likely won’t be renewing my subscriptions.

How about you? Do you have a favorite publication? A recommendation for me to try? Have you given up on fitness/fashion magazines yet?


12 thoughts on “Rant: Content, Schmontent

  1. I’ve had similar thoughts about health magazines lately. I used to love Self, but I swear every issue I buy seems like a version of a past issue. I never actually learn much when I am done reading it! Lately I am into Health and just discovered Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Those seem to be a bit better than the old Shapes and Selfs.

  2. I like Women’s Health a lot — I just read that this morning at the gym. And it’s a bit less fashion-focused, so I like it,

  3. I like Women’s Health. I also sometimes look at Clean Eating and Eating Well. Fortunately for me, we get a ton of magazines at my office (I work in advertising) so I can just browse the interesting parts without having to buy them.

  4. I know these magazines are repeats of repeats, but I somehow still like them. I refuse to actually buy any though…I take them out from the library along with Oprah, Real Simple and InStyle. It gives me something to flip through while I’m up in the middle of the night (each night, it seems) to have my routine snack.

  5. Also, it’s not only that these mags are repeats, but that they perpetuate impossible ideals. It’s junk food for the brain, as far as I’m concerned. But…I still like them in limited quantities.

  6. I SO feel this way!
    however, I have cut my subscriptions down by alot. now I only order Women’s Health and buy SELF when I’m at the airport or taking the train somewhere (it makes it a TREAT).
    because I only get one of these now regularly, it still is a THRILL to dive into it when it arrives.
    but you’re right, they ALL say the same thing, season after season. when you only get one of them it’s less obvious, ha!

  7. I notice this every month (yet I still find myself buying them) There is never anything new in there. I mean really, any truly new and inmportant health/diet info will be discussed in real news sources. I view them as sort of an escape. I like seeing pics of the fashions and what not (although in this economy a $5K bag just doesn’t seem right) and do get some beauty/fashion ideas now and then but for the most part it is the same old same old. One month they delcare skinnny jeans to be in. Next month it is only wide leg and high waist. I think they just make stuff up to keep people reading. And I always think when they recommend products it is because they are being paid to do so,.

  8. hehe! lissa you are so right. same stuff every month, different words. thesaurus much?

    i buy them, but i only look at the pictures, and the recipes. i gotta have something to stare at on the stepmill! i even buy the rags…just for the horoscopes tho. 😉

  9. I find they do repeat. Especially if you get the same magazine month after month. Fitness Rx is a huge repeater. It`s like they can`t think of anything! I subscribe to Body and Soul which I love. I also like Cooking Light or Chatelaine. I find non-exercise focused magazines have a good mix of everything. Body and Soul is by far my favourite. I like to look at the fitness magazines at the store and buy one here and there, but I agree they overlap so much. How much more can we hear about the Mediterranean Diet.. ugh. WE KNOW. Oils and healthy fats and vegetables are good for you. ahah

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