' Get Shredded In Six Weeks !' The Problem With Extreme Male Body Transformations
Mens Health magazine has transformed many men and its own fortunes by featuring extreme muscle makeovers. But does changing shape fast have a dark side?
In 2004, Men’s Health journalist Dan Rookwood strolled into his editor’s office in a funk. The topless beefcakes who appeared on their covers were unrealistic, he had decided. No one actually looked like that- not least the staff of what was then the UK’s third-biggest-selling men’s publication. His editor smiled. He felt specific features coming on.
Just over a year later, a smirking Rookwood appeared on the March 2006 cover of Men’s Health. His biceps were huge, his six-pack extraordinarily well defined.” From fat to flat !” read the cover line, alongside a picture of a mournful-looking Rookwood, pre-transformation, his belly soft and rounded. It became the biggest-selling Men’s Health issue of all time.
The transformation genre of men’s publication encompas tales was born. Since then, they have become the bread and butter( or steamed spinach and chicken breast) of these publications. Pick up a copy of Men’s Health every six months or so and you will see a topless staffer grinning for the camera, next to the words” Get shredded in six weeks !” or” From scrawny to brawny !”
In difficult times for print publishing, Men’s Health and its challengers hit upon a monetisable formula. In different regions of the country, podgy dads and harried office workers dreamed of having the perfect physique. Makeover transformations promised the body they longed for- typically within eight to 12 weeks.