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The Problem With Fitness and Muscle Magazines

So I picked up a copy of Men’s Fitness today for the princely sum of four pounds. It’s a cracking read for the toilet, and contains some genuinely interesting articles and bite-size factoids, but I can’t get over the fact that a worryingly high percentage of the content of this and other well known muscle mags could well be confusing and even misleading for novice and intermediate trainers.

GET SHREDDED ABS IN 5 MINUTES’ is a common headline proudly displayed on the cover of such magazines,

Now, while I don’t suggest this is substituted with something more realistic like;


Publishers should be more response about a lifestyle they’re effectively trying to promote.

Just in this one magazine there are several things I take issue with, take this on the front cover;

‘Build Huge Arms in four moves’ puts the emphasis on the type of exercises used, when this is actually largely irrelevant – it doesn’t matter whether you do vanilla dumbbell curls or reverse-grip preacher EZ-Bar curls with added band resistance, the key deciding factor that will dictate whether or not you do indeed ‘build huge arms’ is a degree of intensity applied to each and every rep, and consistency in doing these exercises regularly and intaking all the key muscle-building nutrients.


Something else that’s become a trend, or rather a bad habit for these magazines is the tendancy to feature film star workouts. Again, the problem is, specific single exercises are singled out as the key determinants in creating a given physique.

Just look at this, Men’s Fitness claims that to look like Tom Hardy, you need to do;

Upright rows
Handstand press-ups
Cable Trap pulls


Even the notion that you can achieve a physique possessed by someone is ridiculous (your shape is defined by genetics), let alone the fact that you can do it simply by focusing on three exercises.

You either gain muscle or lose muscle, burn fat or gain fat, all manipulated by consistent, hard training with heavy weights and meticulous attention to your nutrition. See a pattern developing?

Don’t believe everything you read, bare in mind that these articles and headlines are crafted to sell magazines, not necessarily to give you the best guidance.

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