Friday, January 23, 2009

Men's Exercise Magazines

When I was in high school, the only magazines around that addressed exercise were the bodybuilding ones. So my friends and I would read them and copy the routines of the latest "presumably" (apparently it's politically correct to always say presumably before making this wild and crazy allegation) steroid induced Mr. Olympia contender. The results we got were reasonable, because an untrained physique will respond to almost any stimulus. They were not however, ideal for the lifestyles we were trying to live (athletes who also wanted to look good on the beach in the summer.) We were constantly over-trained and, as a result, our gains in both size and strength were limited.

During the 20 years since, much has changed in the world of fitness publishing. Currently, every bookstore in the nation has copies of over a dozen health and fitness magazines aimed at the general population that is looking to get or stay fit, while improving performance. "Performance" is a key criteria I use when looking at all types of fitness products. If a product (or exercise) will improve my performance then it has some value. If not, then its value decreases drastically, in my opinion. You might be surprised at how much of the exercise equipment out there is actually detrimental to your performance. (We'll be coming back to this theme many times in the future.)

For a while, much of the information in these magazines was repetitive, boring and run-of-the-mill. If you had a subscription for one year, you had read everything they had to say, and the value of a second year was significantly reduced. That is changing.

Men's Health, Men's Fitness and Men's Journal seem to be getting it right, by and large. They each have some fantastic contributor's each month. They are bringing forward some great techniques and cutting edge research, which are available for free on some of the author's blogs, but would take years to trickle down to your local gym population without them. Yes, you'll still see people doing dumb things, like single legged romanian deadlifts on a bosu ball with 5 lb. dumbbells, or using the smith machine for anything other than a place to hang their coat (more on both of those later,) but the trend is toward more athletic, performance based movements.

Over the next few posts, I'll share with you some of my favorite tips from this month's issues of these magazines, as well as links to some of the blogs put out by the outstanding author's of them.

Train smart; eat right.

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