Which Fitness Magazine is Fit?

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Fitness, Magazines, Reviews

I have 17 magazine subscriptions:  3 fitness, 3  professional (English education), 2 food, 2 entertainment, 2 local news, 1 global news, 1 fashion, 1 teen fashion, 1 psychology, 1 dance.  If I wasn’t a teacher, I would either be a magazine editor or news anchor so my insane magazine addiction must be my way to fulfill those interests.   Yes, even with these many publications waiting for me at home, I still find myself slipping another mag or two into my shopping cart at the local grocer.  I can’t help myself . . . and I read them all!   There is at least one magazine somewhere in every room of my house (well, maybe not the laundary room).  One can get a lot of information in one spare, quick moment.

Out of all these magazines, the ones I refer to every single day are the fitness magazines:  Women’s Health, Oxygen, and Muscle & Fitness Hers.  I love all three of them for their own reasons but would like to take the time to seriously compare the good and bad of each.  So sit back, relax, and ponder which of these may work best for you.  Guys, I apologize – all three of these are women’s publications but you certainly can benefit from the health and nutrition information these provide (and I KNOW you enjoy sneaking a peek at the fitness models):

Here is an overview of this month’s issues – the cover stories & the features.  My views on each article are in green.  After describing them, Grading Girl will reveal which one has the most to offer for both the fitness fanatic and occasional gym patron alike.

Women’s Health:  (July/August 2009 issue)

July/August 2009

July/August 2009

Cover Stories =

a.  “Ditch the Gym!” – a workout for home – doesn’t offer new exercises but has the usual plank, lunges, steps.  It is, however, presented in a handy pullout section.  For those new to exercise, this is an informative article.
b.  “Eat This, Not That” – healthy food swaps – includes some useful tips you may not think about when in the grocery store.
c.   “Hot Body Secrets” – sculpt a tight butt and flat abs – some good tips for committing to an exercise regime along with ways to inject fun into it.  I’m going to use some tonight.
d.  “Relationship News You Can Use Tonight” – how to fire things up
some fun ideas!
e.  “Speedy Summer Meals” I’m saving the recipes from this article!  This was my favorite article in this month’s issue.
f.  “The Belly-Rubbing High” – why some women may like being pregnant too much – this article makes perfect sense.  Very interesting and logical.

Monthly Features =

~ Health & Fitness – skin saving tips, managing medical bills
~ Beauty & Style – shaving, travel gear, etc.
~ Smart Moves – finance tips, career advice
~ Weight Loss – dieting tips
~ Nutrition – clean eating plans
~ Relationships – communication advice

Women’s Health‘s monthly features cover both physical and mental well-being.  This magazine touches on the whole person, not just physical fitness in the gym.

GG gives Women’s Health magazine a B.  This is a great magazine for someone just beginning to incorporate working out into her lifestyle as well as the occasional exerciser.  While I appreciate the beauty tips and relationship articles, I get similar advice from my other women’s magazines.  I buy the fitness magazines for fitness advice.  Women’s Health does not provide ample sample exercises and workout plans.  The medical columns at the beginning are very helpful and are cited with very credible sources, but this magazine ping pongs between many smaller articles on beauty, fashion, and relationship tips rather than fitness advice.

Oxygen: (July 2009 issue)

Cover Stories =

a.  “Recession Proof Your Fitness” – how to bring the gym to your living room for under $100.  Nothing new here . . . buy a dvd, jump rope, etc.

July 2009

July 2009

b.  “Get Jelena’s Shape-up Secrets” – they always have a feature about the cover model that covers her beginning into the fitness world, her goals, challenges, diet.  These model cover stories are brief but interesting to peek at how these models got hooked on fitness.
c.  ” Get a Sexy Back” – hmmm . . . all five exercises are those I already do. In fact, this magazine seems to be repeating many of the same exercises.
d.  “Muscle up your Meals” – this article provides 10 “superfoods” that help pack on lean muscle and stem off fat.  I appreciated the recipes and will use them.
e. “Tighten your Butt” – again, there were no new exercises here for me.
f.  “23 Instant Fat Loss Tips” – specifically geared toward summer.  There are some helpful hints here.  A good checklist.
g. “Get a Fit Body” –  this is a great article on active rest and why resting days are as important as workout days.
h. “Flatten your Belly” – 2 new exercises here out of the 6 . . . not bad.

Monthly Features =

~ Training – quick fitness news
~Health & Nutrition – clean eating tips and fat loss hints
~ Fit Finds – things to buy for the gym bag
~ Motivation – how to keep the exercise regime going
~ Fitness Industry – specifically geared toward fitness competitors
~ About You – success stories from reader

The majority of Oxygen is devoted to either actual workouts to use in the gym or eat clean diets to supplement the exercises.

GG gives Oxygen magazine a B+.  It didn’t quite earn an A because so many of the exercises presented are those I already use in my exercise repertoire and seem to be repeated fairly regularly.  That is my biggest complaint with Oxygen.  I would like to see more variety . . . perhaps more cardio circuits, more yoga/pilates routines, more floor exercises, etc.   I do, however, save the recipes each month and appreciate the eat clean tips to keep me on track.  Also, the no-nonsense advice on fat loss cuts to the chase and tells you exactly what you should and shouldn’t do.  I appreciate the meal plans.   Very result-oriented.

Muscle & Fitness Hers: (July/August 2009 issue)

a. “Working out with a Kardashian” – I am surprised they chose Kim for the cover.  Since I’ve been a subscriber, only lean, cut women have been cover models.  This cover and article aren’t characteristic of typical M & F fare. Not inspired by the article or pics here.

Jul/Aug 2009

Jul/Aug 2009

b. “Starch Madness” – I can always count on M & F for atypical recipes such as spaghetti squash with chili flakes, almond romesco-stuffed squash blossoms, and jicama ravioli with dungeness crab & avocado.  As an experimental cook, I loooooove this.
c.  “Taut Tauti” – I discovered two new exercises out of the five here.  What I enjoy about M & F sample circuits is the “Workout to Go” bookmark they include on the side of their articles.  These are easy to cut out and take to the gym.
d. “Made for Each Other” – M & F includes articles on how certain foods supplement each other.  Pertinent information!
e. “Get Pomped Up” – this article does a good job of explaining heavy weights and repetitions.
f.  “The Vacation Countdown” – how to get your body bikini-ready in four weeks.  No new exercises here for me, but some helpful information on supplements and sample diets.  The pictures of the exercises are easier to follow than others in that they include a “shadow” of the model in both the beginning and end position of each exercise.
g. “GH Balance” – a technical article about growth-hormone boosters.  I now know the difference between arginine and soy protein and glutamine, etc.  Very informative!!
h. “Going the Distance” – this article trecks the adventure of one reader who took a two-week backpacking expedition covering 105 miles along the Continental Divide in Wyoming.  Interesting if you are considering something like this in your future.

Monthly Features =

~ Training Notebook – detailed tid-bits for specific exercises
~ Nutrition Notebook – very useful, interesting nutrition info told in quick, user-friendly manner
~ Twists & Turns – a closer look at women of fitness, figure, and bikini competitions
~ For the Competitor – hints for the competitior (this month addressed fitness modeling)
~ Calendar of Events – upcoming competitions
~ End Result – on the last page, features a prominent sports or fitness figure (this month addressed gymnastics champion Dominique Dawes)

Muscle & Fitness Hers monthly features are geared toward the more serious fitness fanatic as well as the professional competitior; however, the medical and nutritional information are well accredited and useful to everyone on the planet.

Grading Girl gives Muscle & Fitness Hers an A.  Out of the three, this is the publication I get the most new, useful information overall.   I learn something within every article I read in this magazine.  Whether it’s the difference between supplements, methods to vary my repetitions during strength training, nutrition news, or unique recipes, I get my money’s worth and more with each article.  While this magazine is geared toward the more serious fitness woman, everyone can benefit from the healthful information.  The only complaint I have concerning Muscle & Fitness Hers is that it comes out only six times a year.

So . . . Which Magazine is Best for Whom?

Muscle & Fitness Hers is geared toward the more serious fitness fans, those who workout at the gym five – six days a week and may possibly be preparing for a fitness competition.  As their motto reads on the cover, “For Women Who Want More Out of Fitness.”  Oxygen is for that crowd but also toward women who may not be too serious with their exercise regime but who are looking for advice on how to get more serious.  Women’s Health favors the average exerciser – the women looking to improve their overall healthful lifestyle.  They may not workout every day; in fact, they may exercise at home.  I would definitely recommend Women’s Health above the other women’s health magazines out there.  It offers the most credibly sourced and well-rounded features.

In summary, if you are just beginning to incorporate or would like to incorporate working out into your schedule, Women’s Health is definitely the one to start with.  For those that are looking to get more serious in the gym, Oxygen magazine is a good start for you.  Finally, for those who are already gym rats but find themselves needing more motivation, Muscle & Fitness Hers is definitely the winner.  As for me, I’m going to continue my subscription to all three mags.  After all, I’m a self-processed gym rat and magazine junkie.  I can’t get enough of either one.

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