Health and fitness magazines take different approaches when motivating women and men

Posted: May 28, 2012 at 7:20 am


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I'm one of those women who likes reading men's health and fitness magazines. Though they all promise bodies and sex lives that most of us will never have, I'm drawn to the funny, self-deprecating tone, the functional workout tips and the emphasis on sweat, competition and strength training.

Yes, women's magazines have these elements but on a vastly diminished scale. They're fluffier, in part because beauty products and clothes are considered health-related, but also because women are still plagued by the irrational fear of "bulking up."

We won't get huge without added testosterone, but some magazines still perpetuate the notion that men should build insanely huge muscles and women need to lose fat.

A recent Muscle & Fitness magazine cover, for example, promised "75 of the Best Muscle Building Exercises."

By contrast, Muscle & Fitness Hers, the female counterpart to the bodybuilder mag, featured thinspiration, including "The Skinny on Fat Loss" and "The Best Natural Appetite Suppressants."

The majority of advertisements touted fat-burning supplements, stimulants and weight loss products.

Men's Health and Women's Health magazines have plenty of overlapping content.

Both recognize that both genders compete in marathons and triathlons, want great abs in 15 minutes and need nutritional guidance. But the editors use considerably different voices to reach their male and female readers.

"For Women's Health, it's a confiding, challenging, sisterly thing -- equal parts encouragement, sympathy and advice. It comes from a place of 'just us girls,'" said David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health and editorial director of Women's Health.

"Guys tend to be a bit more bracing with their counsel, with a healthy dose of humor -- plus self-denigration -- thrown into the mix," Zinczenko added. "First we laugh at ourselves, then we laugh at you, then we deliver the goods straight up, with an expert chaser."

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Health and fitness magazines take different approaches when motivating women and men

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May 28th, 2012 at 7:20 am

Posted in Health and Fitness