FitLit: Oxygen vs. Women’s Health
Our first FBG magazine face-off included some of the fluffier women’s fitness magazines available. This time around, we decided to go a little more hard-core, with Oxygen and Women’s Health magazines. These magazines have little or no emphasis on beauty, style and fashion, and focus much more on serious exercise and healthy eating. So how do these “serious” magazines stack up? Read on, lovers, read on.
Oxygen, November 2008
154 pages of buff bods
This cover story promises that five moves will get you results in just four weeks. The moves are all fairly basic—squats combined with overhead presses, lunges combined with medicine ball twists—but I’m a sucker for hybrid moves that work more than one muscle group at once. While these types of moves can take more coordination, the illustrations show each step of the multi-step moves, making it easy to figure out. This would be a great workout to pull out and take with you to the gym or to follow along at home.
Cover promise 2: Get Sexy, Tight & Lean at Any Age
This informative article gives recommendations for each decade of life from your 20s through the 50s and beyond. It stresses the importance of strength training early, and reminds you about building strong bones because your 20s are the last decade to build bone (yikes!). For the 30s, the article discussed balancing busy schedules, which often include children, and making healthy lifestyle choices even when it’s difficult. Stretching and strength training through the later decades can help with maintaining flexibility and fight muscle loss. This is a cool article that reminds you that the fitness and health journey is lifelong.
Cover promise 3: 60 Seconds to Dream Abs
Oh, if it were only that easy. But we know it’s not. Each move of the ab workout in this article lasts 60 seconds, but with four moves, that equals four minutes of ab exercises. So while the moves do look effective, alas, getting those flat abs takes more than a minute. Can’t pull one over on this mathematician.
In sum: Oxygen emphasizes clean eating and training like an athlete. It’s got some great workouts and tips, but it’s definitely geared toward the very serious exerciser and clean eater, or those who may compete in fitness competitions. The many supplement ads were a turnoff, as was a comment (or two, actually) by the publisher. In his letter to the reader, he says that even the occasional sugary treat or alcoholic beverage “will destroy your efforts at maintaining a lean, fit physique.” Hmm. We’re not about that kind of mentality in FBG land.
Women’s Health, October 2008
164 pages of female power
This article details how stress can impact your health and your eating habits. It also includes ways to send stress to the curb, and even has a workout plan to help you get through a stressful week. I’m taking notes on this one.
Cover promise 2: 15 Fat-Burning Power Foods
This one took me a while to find on the inside of the mag, as it was actually a decade-by-decade nutrition plan. As Oxygen did, it emphasized milk to strengthen the bones in your 20s, along with beef to build muscle to prevent sports injuries and fish to help with joint problems in your 30s. Sweet potatoes guard your skin from cancer, and greens help with eye health. No matter what decade you’re in, this article tells you which food helps combat different body drawbacks.
This pull-out at-home fitness guide has a 20-minute combo yoga/strength workout you can do with minimal time and equipment. A Bosu ball and weights keep it interesting, but it’s a workout that could be modified if needed. So … I guess you don’t need the gym if you own a Bosu ball.
In sum: Women’s Health takes a more overall approach to its discussion of women’s lifestyles. With health, sex and relationship, nutrition, and fitness information, it focuses on a whole-self approach to health.
Verdict: If you’re a hard-core athlete, or want to be inspired by them, Oxygen might be the fitness-centric mag for you. If you’re looking for a more overall approach to a healthy and fit lifestyle, and even some beauty and style, Women’s Health is worth a read. —Erin
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