Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
A decent fitness magazine IF you can overlook the flaws
on September 18, 2006
About two years ago, I became a subscriber to Shape, mainly because I had received it for free as part of a package deal with another magazine. I had always liked browsing through issues of Shape in the supermarket, and I thought that being a subscriber would help support my fitness goals. Overall, I have enjoyed Shape and found it to be useful, but there definitely are some negatives, and the magazine might not be for everyone.
But first the good. Like many others have mentioned, what I most enjoy about Shape is their real-life weight stories featuring a nice variety of women, some of whom actually needed to *gain* weight in order to be healthy. I also love their relatively new feature in which they follow one of their own staffers on a year-long weight loss journey. Many of their other regular features are also excellent, particularly the body part-focused strength exercises and other how-to exercise guides. And I especially like that Shape uses "Reader Models" with so many of their articles--real life women of various ages (although admittedly, mostly in the 25-35 range) with normal, healthy, strong bodies. Finally, their featured exercise plans each month often offer some unique variations on traditional exercises, and the recipes are often quite good as well.
The main negative has already been brought up by many others here: the use of too-skinny, not overtly fit or strong models to illustrate much of the magazine. I find this extremely disappointing; I understand that to sell magazines, the models probably have to conform to some traditional standards of attractiveness, but those of us buying the magazine want to see women who are not only fit but also strong--show us some muscles now and then! As I said above, the reader models are great; the women are usually quite fit, but they have muscles and curves too, which is wonderful to see. Shape MAY be trying to make some improvements in this area, as the last few covers have featured famous women who do exercise (such as Denise Richards), but they still have a long way to go. And while they're at it, I hope they will return to having their cover models dress in fitness wear, not bathing suits! They can still show off their model's physique AND showcase cute fitness wear at the same time. Similarly, I would like to see the magazine get rid of the fashion segment at the end *unless* they start focusing it on exercise clothing, not haute couture.
If you are overweight and/or new to exercising, you may find the magazine discouraging, but if you can get past some of the negatives, it can also be inspiring. I think it's up to each individual to determine whether a magazine like this is likely to hurt or help her fitness efforts; for me, it is helpful, but this definitely might not be the case with everyone.