Reader’s Indigest

What's the relevance of the apple ... or the girl?

If you buy this magazine, you’ll get a girl like this with the apple thrown in for free

I sometimes splash out and buy one of those fitness magazines.

These usually stand out on a cluttered newsstand because their covers always feature an incredibly muscular man, with an incredibly beautiful babe hanging off his arm. I take it the subliminal message is: “Buddy, if you want a chick like her, you better buy this magazine and get buffed like him“.

And these magazines are not cheap. The particular title that I occasionally buy costs $8.95 a copy.

For that amount, I can get 2.5 regular-size cups of soy flat white from my favourite barista. This is a type of hot beverage that we in Australia call coffee – much better than anything from Starbucks. Then again, I don’t think the stuff Starbucks sells is coffee, so it’s hardly a fair comparison.

For $8.95, I can also purchase 1.1 pint of beer in a city bar – not quite enough to make me chat up anyone who moves in a skirt, but enough to make me think I’m the funniest person in the world (my wife often disagrees … strenuously).

The point is, the opportunity cost of spending $8.95 on a fitness magazine is pretty damn high, and I expect its content to make the purchase worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the business case has so far failed to stack up.

Don’t get me wrong, I find some of the articles in these publications very useful, particularly those that relate to … you know … fitness. But in between insightful and entertaining pieces, there is a dizzying array of glitz and gloss that has nothing to do with making me fitter, faster or healthier.

Take the one that I just bought.

The cover? A good-looking woman in a bikini that looks to a weigh half a gram, standing next to a man whose tits are about to explode.

Open the magazine and the next 9 pages are straight-out advertisements, trumpeting the benefits of, among others, a particular energy drink, a certain brand of running shoes, vitamins, home gyms, supplements, more energy drinks and some cross-fit apparel (what is that? some kind of gym gear for cross-dressers?). Most of them feature some half-naked woman smiling at the reader and some half-naked man smiling at her.

It is not until page 18 that the magazine is graced with its first feature article. And the title of the piece, I shit you not, is: ‘Build a chest that you can be proud of, on the beach and in bed’. What the hell does that mean? As far as I’m concerned, whether on the beach or in bed, I don’t want to be proud of my own chest. I want to be proud of the opposite sex’s chest!

Then, more advertisements, more half-naked people in ‘come and f*** me’ poses and more pictures of fully made-up models exercising but with not a sweat bead in sight.

The amount of skin in the magazine is such that I had trouble convincing my wife that I bought this magazine for the articles.

Then there is a whole crap load of pages on nutrition and cooking. They all strictly adhere to what appears to be one overriding principle: how to cook a meal without using the most delicious ingredients.

The fat bit on the meat, the skin on the chicken, the salt from the shaker and the butter from the container. All eliminated! And bacon? Why the discrimination against bacon? I have yet to see a dish in any fitness magazines featuring bacon. I see plenty freakin’ avocado crammed down the throat of every recipe. But bacon? HELL NO!

I must admit, what limited fitness-related articles this particular magazine has are very good. Even the one that showed me how to ‘Build a chest that you can be proud of … on the beach and in bed’‘ was extremely informative, even if somewhat irrelevant to a 40 year-old man who couldn’t care less anymore what his chest looks like on the beach. My wife certainly hasn’t cared what my chest looked like in bed since two kids invaded the scene.

I just wish more space in these fitness magazines is devoted to great articles penned by talented writers, rather than to info-mercial farcicals whipped up by desperate floggers.

Of course, I understand that these advertisements pay the bills and drive the profitability of these publications. However, it seems to have a reached a stage where the advertising-editorial split is so unevenly weighted that it must be impacting readership.

On the other hand, perhaps I’m missing the whole point.

Perhaps I’m just not in the target audience of these magazines anymore. Perhaps they only want readers who are titillated by images of semi-naked women, and those who appreciate the correlation between ‘sculpting the pecs’ and “landing the chicks’.

Which is a pity, because I still want to ‘sculpt my pecs’, if only to keep up with those who run with no shirts on their backs.

Keep on pounding.

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26 thoughts on “Reader’s Indigest

  1. nancytex2013

    This: “The cover? A good-looking woman in a bikini that looks to a weigh half a gram, standing next to a man whose tits are about to explode.” made my life. 🙂

    You’re so right about the fitness magazines. Every other page is an ad for a magic pill, energy drink or athletic shoes/fitness gear. I usually get value out of one article or one pictorial of “great ab exercises” or “tone that butt’ which I clip and add to my pile for travel/hotel room workouts.

    Reply
  2. Pandora Viltis

    I hate all the product ads in those mags too. I tried them for a bit, but I can’t relate to the people in them. For one, I like real food. Plus, I don’t really want any of their bodies, as my own or in my bed. Too scary looking.

    But then, I’m probably not their target audience. Running doesn’t seem to be something they write about much, especially not distance running. Oh well. I’ll save that $8.95 and buy k-cups for my coffee machine to last me a week.

    Reply
  3. TIA

    If you ever get a chance, you should pose for one of those fake fitness magazine covers that they, at least at some point, use to offer at the theme park. You know, the one where both your wife and yourselves heads are placed upon the bodies of the airbrushed fitness gurus. Id love to see your pecs on the cover of that…..Id even pay eight dollars plus tax!!:)

    Reply
  4. pieterk515

    “a man who’s tits are about to explode…” I laughed so hard, I only finished reading your post 5 minutes later. This has to be the funniest thing I’ve read from you in like…ever!

    I eventually unsubscribed to Men’s Health for the same reason, and also because my friends were starting to think I’m gay. Too many half naked men in the aforementioned f*** me poses.

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      I read those Men’s Health mags as a comedy relief. I love the ‘Ask the girls’ section where guys seek advice from 3 skanks with questions like: “should I tell my girl friend that I want to jump her sister’s bones?”

      Reply
  5. Ice_Badger

    You are completely right! “womens fitness” magazines are simillar…all “how to lose 73lbs in 2 mins” and such like!
    No actual information about how to be…fit or healthy!

    How about this for a health food recipe…

    quinoa, bulgar wheat, with chorizo, pancetta (or bacon..), chicken, red and yellow peppers. filling, healthy high protien and involves chorizo and bacon…I should write a magazine 😀

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      Not only should you write a magazine, you should write a whole cooking book. Just make sure the skin is attached to the chicken and no skimping on the chorizos. Oh, and put some tobacco sauce on the peppers!

      Reply
      1. Ice_Badger

        chicken skin is allowable 🙂

        Tabasco sauce on the peppers sounds good, or maybe add dried chilli flakes to the whole thing…that works well!

        I’ll start my book right away 😀

        Reply
  6. strawberryquicksand

    I managed to pilfer a couple of good running magazines from the doctor’s office once (yes, I did replace them – with Take 5 and That’s Life…) and totally agree – I was amazed at the advertisements, both frequency and subject, but impressed with the articles. I dare say that I would not have been impressed with the price had I been the one to shell out for them… Maybe there is a niche market you can tap – for those of us who are over 35 or so and want to keep fit and keep learning about stuff like that without the crap and the glamour that goes with it all… so when will I see your magazine in print? 😉

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      As soon as you’re ready to be the feature writer, we’re on. And we’ll charge $12.95 a copy because … because we are over 35 and we can damn well charge whatever we want! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Rachel

    This is spot on! I would like to add my 10 cents which is…
    1. Protein shakes make me gag.
    2. I refuse on principal to consume any substances with names that contain the following words: max or maxx (sometimes two x’s are necessary it seems), blast, thrust, ripped , or power.
    Number 3 – Have you the MOST ridiculous women’s body craze at the moment which is called “thigh gap”. Apparently we are all meant to whittle our thighs away until they don’t touch anymore. I’m pretty sure the only thigh gap that most men are interested in has nothing to do with excersise 😉

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      I know how to get ‘thigh gap’- you just stand/walk with your legs wider apart. In other words, you strut around like you own the world. Then again, I can see how women doing that would look a little strange!

      Reply
  8. smile breathe and go slowly

    I’ve been out of the loop in the blogging world lately, so I’m catching up today…love this post…and haven’t bought a ‘fitness’ mag in eons. It’s all advertising and sex and crap with a few nuggets of health thrown in for good measure. LOL

    Reply

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