Anatomy of a Fitness Magazine

When I was a little girl, I would make my mother read Little Red Riding Hood to me over and over again. And each time she got to the part with the wolf, I’d cover my eyes in renewed fear that poor Red was a goner. It took some time for me to grasp that the story always ended the same way. This is a lesson I have apparently not taken with me as I’ve grown. And the modern tales I read over and over and over again anticipating a unique outcome? Fitness magazines.

 I rip these suckers off the shelves in droves anytime I’m in a stone’s throw of an airport newsstand. I’m equally proud and shamed to say I have four – oh yes four – of them in my carry-on bag as I type.

I realize it sounds innocent enough. Any reasonably health-conscious person should care about the next best running shoe and the fiber intake of Carrie Underwood. And who can’t benefit from the little kick-in-the-pants dose of motivation that comes from learning you can “whittle your middle without doing a single crunch”? But with my ever-increasing arsenal of life-betterment periodicals, I’m slowly realizing that the lunge doesn’t really change from month to month or magazine to magazine – and neither do these other features:

Cover Story: The likeable, sunny-faced actress on the cover very recently lost exactly 10 pounds by eating oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and salmon and steamed veggies for dinner. She also drinks lots of water and wears earrings that cost more than your house.

Health: One of your guilty pleasures is killing you slowly.

Fitness: Portable tear-out cards will let you try the latest yoga-spin-lates pose in the privacy of your 24 Hour Fitness. 

Beauty & Fashion: Acquire the confidence to mix bold prints with loud patterns with non-slip headbands with teal nail polish with confidence – the ultimate beautifier.

Sex: You’re doing it wrong.

Nutrition: Slash the fat from your favorite comfort foods by swapping butter for flaxseed and kale. You can also find a weeklong menu of healthy meals that will help you lose weight whilst still indulging in your finger-in-cookie-dough habit.

Perhaps there are worse vices than forking over twenty bucks a month for identical magazines that give me a temporary burst of pleasure. Perhaps even though I expect a different outcome with each flip of the page I’m still clinging to the right side of sanity. Or perhaps there’s still hope of a brand new ending – as I still have about half of my Women’s Health left to read before I land.

What’s your vote? Do I need to kick this habit or is it really all that bad?


About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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13 Responses to Anatomy of a Fitness Magazine

  1. I experienced exactly the same thing. All the magazines preached the same advise. My solution was to go to the ibrary and read a magazine from 1960 or 1970 or 1980. It re-enforeced the same advise. I had to question, what was it I didn’t get the first time I read it. . . . . . . . Now when I’m in the grocery store line, I smile to myself and chuckle at the money I didn’t spend which I promptly take to Starbucks and indulged myself!

  2. paywindow7 says:

    I’ve been a gymrat for 45 years and I always had to fight myself to get myself off my butt and into the local Presidents, Bally’s, Gold’s or whatever was closest. The magazines were always regarded as soft porn to myself and the people I worked out with. OK for the gays, I suppose but for serious hogs? Don’t think so. I can testify to the benefits of conditioning however. It works. Not only as in a venue for cosmetic rips and cuts, but in maybe saving your life someday. If you’re in it stay in it. If not then get aboard, your bus maybe leaving.

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  4. notquiteold says:

    With me it is makeup. The next blush will make me beautiful, right? But I have a dozen (or more) blushes, and they are all the same.

  5. It’s amazing how they never run out of different ways to convey the same message!

  6. I think we all have certain magazines calling us from the news stand. I like fitness, cooking and travel. I do not think I have cooked anything out of one of those magazines, but still pick one or two or three up. I take a few things from the fitness and travel mags though. Keep reading and if you enjoy it continue to do it! Happy Sunday!

  7. I was just thinking that I should buy one fitness mag and mail it to myself every month to rediscover. It would save me a ton of cash.

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  9. ATA says:

    I probably buy about 6 total a year – enough to satisfy the craving, with a month in between which makes me forget how repetitive they are!

  10. ATA says:

    I usually buy one every other month – satisfies the craving and the month in between makes me forget *(overlook) the repetitiveness!

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  12. LifeWorthLiving says:

    I have a habit too but mine is with shoes. When I go shopping if I see a pear of shoes that I absolutely love then I buy them. Even if they are exactly like the one’s at my house but in a different color. The sad part is I don’t even wear them. I have all these pretty sandals, boots, heals that just sit in my closet or on hooks to look at because I don’t know how to walk in them or they give me blisters.

  13. nancyfrancis says:

    I don’t know how I missed this one – but this is hilarious! and Spot on. I bet you could do the same type of post with the ‘women’s magazine’ category like Cosmo, Jane, Sassy etc 🙂

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