Mens Health Magazine

You know Mens Health Magazine, its the one with the shirtless man on the cover with rock hard abs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an issue without a shirtless man on the front and in some ways the content of the magazine has to struggle to overcome its own cover. A new issue is published every month. I don’t buy it every month but I probably do buy it 4 or 5 times a year.

Over the decade or so that I’ve been reading Mens Health it has changed in many ways. There was a time when no issue could be published without an article about women. How to pick up women, how to satisfy women, and the articles would come with an accompanying picture of a beautiful woman, usually in her underwear. It was always a cringe moment on public transport. There you were on the bus, reading recipes for a high protein diet, only to turn the page to what could be a picture from Playboy, and quickly try to turn the page again to the next article lest you look like the early commute pervert. These type of articles disappeared long ago.

Yes the man on the cover probably helps sell issues as a body type men aspire to, but the contents of the magazine are wide ranging. There are articles on travel, the latest tech gadgets, healthy diets, recipes, interviews, gym reviews, fashion, and lots more besides.

Three specific things worth mentioning.

Number one. Over the last number of years Mens Health magazine has taken a big step towards focusing on mens mental health. I would go as far to say that they are one of the leading advocates of mens mental health and do a lot to raise awareness of mens mental health issues. The last issue I read had a full feature on the effects of covid-19 on mental health and covered issues like the effects of social isolation, the effects of having had covid, and the effects of the shutting down of mental health resources as a non-essential service.

Number two. The workouts they give you in the magazine. My workout routine is fairly well established at this point and I’ll usually glance at the in-magazine workouts and if I don’t see how they can be incorporated into what I already do, I skip over them. But in the current times, with covid having shut down gyms and classes, the workouts offered in Mens Health are a welcome break from my usual routine. It prevents my routine from becoming stale and boring by throwing in a wildcard workout from Mens Health every once in a while.

Number three. The magazine has a newfound focus on building a body for life, not just one that is swole. So its less about looking the part, more about sustaining long-term health, but there is an overlap between both of these.

I don’t love the magazine enough to subscribe to it or buy every new issue, but its a good read and worth picking up once in a while to keep yourself aware of current trends in mens mental and physical health. Take care of yourself.

The Cover the the content has to overcome
A new workout to try

Functionality and Movement

The July/August issue of Mens Health magazine is the Body Issue, which confused me because I thought that every issue was a body issue. Issue theme aside, it was a welcome surprise to see that when choosing which men to feature in the “body issue” they opted for ability and functionality, instead of aesthetics. Rather than cover model bodies and hollywood stars, Men’s Health have put together a list of Olympic rowers, strong men, cyclists, runners and ballerinos.  To be fair, all the men featured look good aesthetically, but all in their own way, and all very different from one another.

The men, and their training habits, featured in the current issue Mens Health seems to be part of a larger trend in mens fitness, away from free weights and bulk for the sake of bulk, and towards functionality, ability and movement. This trend has been quietly gaining momentum for years. While Conor McGregor has helped bring bodyweight and movement training more into the spotlight, fellow UFC competitor Nate Diaz commented;

“Everybody nowadays is like there is this new movement setup that Conor is bringing to the table but that was already around. That’s what inspired us to begin with…….all that movement stuff they’re trying to preach, we already got.”

A few years ago I went to my first movement based exercise seminar. At the seminar my free-weight built muscles were exposed as largely useless. It turns out my free-weight build muscles were only good for lifting more free-weights. I quit the gym and replaced it with running, Rushfit, boxing, barre, olympic rings, crawling, parallettes and more. I do still own a set of 7.5kg dumbbells, but I incorporate them into full body movements. I drop elements of my training and bring in new pieces all the time, which keeps it interesting. In the Summer months, like now, I can train outside in the sun and fresh air. Below is a video of me doing some free movement, its far from perfect and I have a long way to go, but I feel fitter and even though Im getting older, I’m becoming MORE mobile, long may that continue!

 

 

Mo Run

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Its the month of November, which is also the month of Movember. I decided to grow a moustache and run the MoRun 10K in the Phoenix Park with my fiancée. My weekly running routine consists of three runs. Two 30 minute runs during the week, and a distance run at the weekend, and I stuck to this routine for the MoRun. The MoRun is about raising awareness and having some fun so I wasn’t looking to break any records so I was pleased with my 10K time of 52 mins and 52 seconds.

The MoRun is a very enjoyable race. The course isn’t flat, but the ups and downs are not all that steep so its manageable for most. The race organisation is done well, with the 5K runners starting first and doing one lap of the course, and the 10K runners starting 15 minutes later doing 2 laps.

There is a very fun atmosphere at this race. Lots of people were dressed up in fancy dress, there was a fun warm up consisting of dance moves such as the chainsaw, and the medal is in the shape of a moustache.

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While I’ve no reason to believe Movember is anything but a great charity, I’ve not done any research into where the money raised goes, so this year I’m raising awareness, not money. I’m no doctor, but check out Men’s Health UK’s article on prostate cancer, which is most common cancer found in men, its an informative read.

Happy running and stay healthy.

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