fbpx ;

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

Cover promise 1: 5 Moves to a New Body
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



Cover promise 1: Success Without Stress
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.

Cover promise 3: Slim Without the Gym!
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


FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. tfh says:

    Great reviews! I might have to check out Oxygen just for those five moves. Although I’m guessing a “new body” might be pushing it…

  2. MizFit says:

    and if you read way too many mags in general you want em BOTH 🙂


  3. m says:

    You read allot! Good reviews…

  4. Marsha says:

    Very helpful reviews. It can be tough to get perspective on some of the advice given out in magazines. Also glad to her FBG isn’t into extremes — that just doesn’t work for most of us.

  5. Sagan says:

    Love the face-off! I hope you do some more of these:)

    I’ve read both of these magazines but have never bought either of them. I’m also such a sucker for those hybrid moves. I really dislike the supplement ads in Oxygen but both magazines seem pretty decent. Women’s Health seems more geared to everyday people, too.

    Mmm, magazines.

  6. Marcy says:

    Ummmm I’ll have to pass on Oxygen just for this statement alone

    “even the occasional sugary treat or alcoholic beverage “will destroy your efforts at maintaining a lean, fit physique.”

    Love me some Twinkies baby!

  7. DomestiGals says:

    A mag face-off! What a fabulous idea!

    I can’t get over how amazing your reviews are on this site. You girls are awesome.



  8. HangryPants says:

    I usually buy Women’s Health. For some reason Oxygen always seems too intense for me, but I’ll have to check it out again.

  9. gina (fitnessista) says:

    i subscribe to both and LOVE them
    thanks for a great review 😀

  10. Jessica says:

    I love them both! Although, Oxygen’s publisher gives me the creepy old man vibe. I also agree that the supplement ads are a turn off. Finally, I am not a fan of all the Tosca in it. But the workouts and nutrition advice is great.

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. RACHEL! says:

    Awesome reviews! I love knowing what the overall “tone” of a magazine is before I buy it.

    In addition, I just stumbled across this site and LOVE it 🙂 Thanks for the great material!

  13. steve@weightlossweapons.com says:

    Nice reviews. I might have to do this with the men’s mags 🙂 (I’ll give you the credit for the inspiration)

    The women’s fitness mags are the same as the men’s.

    Some of the advice is really good but the way it is presented is a turn off. (over hyped of mis-represented).

    Great job ladies!

  14. Tami says:

    a friend from the gym gave me a copy of oxygen AFTER i gave her a copy of women’s health. a few months ago, WH had an article about strong/ultimate abs…on the last page, they had a girl doing some type of move and in very small pretty, it said they had to PHOTOSHOP the picture, because she could not do the move herself without the GUY holding her up. give me a break! oxygen might be a little over the top with clean eating but that’s my magazine of choice now.

  15. Miss Oxygen says:

    Great reviews thanks for sharing them

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hey! How about Muscle and Fitness Hers vs Oxygen – I am always torn between the two at the grocery store checkout!

  17. Jody - Fit at 51 says:

    I am an Oxygen mag lover but I do love the weights! I get tired of the beauty, style stuff that is in many health mags like Shape & Fitness. I read both of those but nice to have a mag minus that stuff. Yes, supplement ads are a turn off at times but the other mags have lots of ads as well along with those prescription drug ads that I really dislike. In all mags, there are going to be ads we don't like. Women's Health is a good mag but I am an Oxygen women!

  18. Hallie Fullagar says:

    I second Jody’s comment. I’m all about breathing the Oxygen. Women’s Health for me provides weak diet advice and workouts just aren’t as hard as i like them. Since I’m a more muscular girl i find oxygen more motivating, even though i would like to burn all the stupid ads in both magazines in an angry bonfire..i subscribe to Oxygen…but am guilty for takin’ a peek at Women’s Health in the checkout line/airport news stand.

Comments are closed.