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Fitness Magazine - balanced
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  Fitness Magazine - balanced
Fitness Magazine
by Preeti Khicha
February 4, 2008

Topping most women's New Year's resolutions list is the perennial wish to become fit and get in shape. Some women promise to eat healthy, others plan to visit the gym more often, and many just do something “new” to shed those extra pounds gained during the holiday season. Unfortunately, after a few weeks or months, those enthused moments of resolute thinking fizzle away and are replaced by the familiar old habits.

Exercise is never easy to begin with. Though, once in a routine, it becomes less of a chore and more of an activity you look forward to each day. Whether you like to work out outdoors, prefer to do some light yoga, or whiz through your exercise regime to save time, it is essential that you choose an activity that you love.

Fitness Magazine, published by Meredith Corporation, is a monthly English magazine in the US, which inspires women to follow a healthier and balanced lifestyle by providing exercise techniques and strategies to feel fit, energetic, and beautiful.

The “web-zine,” an extension of the Fitness print magazine, was launched in 2005, allowing readers access to health related content online. Whether you need a fresh boost to your exercise regimen or a diet to keep you energetic and healthy, the site has the necessary tools to help you get back on track.

The site’s user friendly approach makes it a pleasure to surf. Well conceptualized content and compelling images reinforce the message that healthy living is the way to look good and feel great. As Stephanie Wagle, web director, Fitness Magazine, avers in a phone interview, “We believe in serving readers from inside outside. Skinny minis are not what we’re after; we focus on overall well-being and [help our readers achieve] a balance of mind, body, and spirit.”

Fitness Magazine - balanced The neatly structured top and side navigation menus on the homepage allow web users to explore the different sections of the site. The "fitness tip," which is updated daily, gives us a reason to log onto the site regularly. A definite highlight on the homepage is a section that outlines the best workouts and top searches. This feature allows web users to quickly access popular sections of the site without much sweat.

The Workouts section is perhaps one of the most useful areas of the site. Whether your goal is to have a tighter behind, or you’re aiming for that ambitious six pack, this section is loaded with exercise routines for all. This section also has a link directing users to the section on video workouts, which is only accessible after you register online as a member.

Other extras like exercise gear and workout play lists are also provided in the Workouts section, making the site a one-stop destination for fitness. Compiling a workout play list often feels like the most time consuming activity, and having the play lists of celebrities and leading fitness experts as a guide is a definite plus.

While the editorial content in the Workouts sections is a definite strength of the site, in terms of layout this section could use some minor improvements. It could take a few lessons from Shape magazine’s website, where the workouts section is better organized. Here the exercises are arranged by target area (shoulders, chest, arms), allowing users to access the desired content without spending too much time searching for it.

Besides “sweating-it-out,” one’s diet plays an equally important role in maintaining overall well-being. Therefore, it is no surprise that the site has dedicated an entire section to Diet and Nutrition, which provides a comprehensive review of diet-related information like calorie charts, nutrition advice, and recipes. The “Create a Diet” feature allows you to customize each meal to match your diet’s goals, and even gives you some creative ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once you choose your meal options, the site goes that extra mile and generates a shopping list of the ingredients that you need to prepare those “feasts.” Now if only you could ask to get the groceries delivered to your doorstep! Well, sometimes grocery shopping is also an exercise!

The site also has a Health and Wellness section, which provides information on various ailments and their cures. The "Find a Therapist" feature is a smart tool for those looking for a therapist. The site provides a brief profile of the therapist coupled with contact details, saving the reader the hassle of browsing through a service directory. Information on gyms and fitness classes available in different locations across the US could be a useful feature to add to this section.

Apart from internal well-being, the site understands that external beauty is, at times, as important. The section titled "Beauty" is a must visit for those looking for tips and advice on skincare and makeup. In order to make this section interactive, there are beauty quizzes that allow readers to understand their skin type, hair type, etc.

Fitness fanatics have the option of designing a customized fitness plan with the help of the Personal Fitness Planner. This feature allows you to develop an exercise program that also considers diet and nutrition. One can use this feature for cost of $8.99 per month and save money otherwise spent on a personal trainer.

In order to build a feeling of community, the site has a section called Team Fitness that allows people to find fitness buddies and participate in online discussions. While the concept is interesting, the interaction in the online forums is very haphazard, with users posting random messages that have no flow and structure.

In addition to exercise-and diet-related content, the site also features a weekly newsletter, sweepstakes, and online polls that encourage revisits to the site.

The team at Fitness Magazine realizes that the website plays an important role in generating awareness for the print magazine. Details on subscription rates are available, and if you subscribe to the print version, the customer service section effectively handles subscription renewals, online bill payments, and address changes.

Apart from the fact that the online magazine isn’t the best pillow read, in most other ways it successfully complements the print version. The up-to-date editorial content on the site is full of enthusiastic energy, with clear, practical, and inspiring ways for women to stay healthy, strong and vibrant. The only thing that’s missing is to offer some health advice for men!


Preeti Khicha currently lives in Mumbai, India. She graduated from the University of Bath, UK, with a master's degree in management, specializing in marketing. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics and psychology from the University of Virginia, USA.

*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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