Diverse diets define successful fitness journeys, but the best diet isn’t a physical one.
We’re talking about the mind diet: The information we browse, consume, digest, and utilize for energy. Whether you’re studying macros, bulking regimens, cutting diets, or anything in between, few resources outweigh the wise words of those who’ve lifted before us.
The worth of websites like GymJunkies.com can’t be understated—but the muscle magazine shouldn’t be overlooked. A lot of us have moved to online reading, wherein immediate accessibility allows for rapid info consumption. This isn’t a bad thing, as pro-guided websites and forums close the gap between intent and action.
Even so, the longevity of today’s most popular muscle magazines speaks for itself: Those most likely to read them, naturally, is an older generation far more adapted to them.
And, as they say, knowledge comes with age.
Training Between the Pages: Our Top Magazine Picks
We’ll still cover a couple of e-zines, as some are simply too good to pass up. Most of today’s top fitness mags power lift a hefty online presence, as it is.
Physical magazines are great for fitness lifestyle categorization, however, as a mag cover’s inside page is sometimes easier to decipher than website tabs and cross-posts.
Even better: These magazines span across every element of health—rather than bodybuilding, exclusively. Dedicated lifting, after all, can’t be caged within a single topic. From kitchens to cubicles, from yard work to seated rows, everything matters.
Our top muscle magazine picks cover new recipes, innovative routines, awesome physique tips, and more. Make no mistake: Front-page mag models aren’t all show—despite having won their fair share. The real men and women of bodybuilding dedicate their lives to fitness, and their input can often serve as a remote mentor’s.
Let’s see where the gurus hang out—and what their pages have to say.
Today’s best in the show:
Flex Magazine was created by Joe Weider in 1983, enamoring lifters around the world ever since. It covers top-tier bodybuilding insights, primarily, taking a keen approach to annual show training, low-carb energy diets, and lesser-known anabolic tips. Flex is all about growth—both in body and mind.
It’s featured some of the best bodybuilders the fitness world has ever seen, like Phil Heath: One of the most successful Mr. Olympia award-winners to ever cross the stage.
What makes Flex Magazine stand out is its hold-no-punches approach to deep fitness insights. If one were inclined to learn about the technology of trimming, for example, they can peruse Phil Heath’s interviews for great tips.
Most of the insights contained within Flex extend well beyond the mundane—which is why the magazine carries a subscription upon sign-up. Each page is well worth the price, too, once you read about the daily routines of highly successful bodybuilders, as Flex is the best in the business.
Muscular Development Magazine
Up next, we have Bob Hoffman’s Muscular Development. Originally, the magazine was created to introduce fitness newcomers to the world of bodybuilding.
This was no easy feat and still isn’t, as most gym-goers prepped for a bodybuilding journey already have a decent training background.
And yet, since 1964, Muscular Development has been an immediate, highly accessible choice among the experienced and inexperienced alike.
It features the industry’s top bodybuilders—each of which, regardless of topic, discussing the practice’s fundamentals. This is incredibly helpful for newcomers, naturally, but it also helps advanced lifters reconnect with their roots—lending a hand to bust through plateaus, rethink diet strategies, and redefine age-old tips and tricks.
Muscular Development manages this due to its foundation in nutrition. Originally centered around general wellness dieting, Muscular Development now focuses on the nutrients which power pro lifters. From every angle, the magazine celebrates the sport of bodybuilding—doing so with gusto.
We might not readily consider the ever-popular Men’s Health magazine to be a muscle magazine—but the best-selling publication has an abundance of bodybuilding tips.
More so, it offers valuable insights into the transition from gym life to home life. Men’s Health has won a number of awards, including National Magazine’s famous Best Cover Award.
Men’s Health shines in its 10-issue annual sweep: Each issue is power-packed with fitness tips from the industry’s finest, tying them in with modern tech, finances, relationships, and nutrition.
For bodybuilders, the magazine might serve as a Swizz Army Knife for fitness—specifically when it comes to cutting-edge insights from the world of nutrition.
Today, Men’s Health serves its massive readership—and its website sees approximately fourteen million account logins every month.
Muscle & Fitness
The legendary Muscle & Fitness has been around since 1935, inspiring hardcore lifters, trainers, and athletes from all walks of life.
Founded by entrepreneur Joe Weider, Muscle & Fitness approaches the fitness world head-on: Everything from bio-engineered supplements to “Man of the Century” features can be found here—delivering something for everyone.
Muscle & Fitness is also the companion magazine to Flex Magazine, covering the full scope of bodybuilding with guest posts—as well as snippets from Joe and Ben Weider’s International Federation of BodyBuilders. Joe himself started the Mr. Olympia competition, which would soon pass up the Mr. Universe competition as the most elite spotlight bodybuilders could aspire to.
The magazine is also a great source for historical insights into the life of bodybuilders. Celebrity lifters like Dwayne Johnson have praised Muscle & Fitness for its down-to-earth representation of fitness, backing up its prestige along its journey of over 30 years.
Similar to the popular Runner’s World, Yoga Journal contains a wealth of highly specific, nevertheless muscle-centric, exercises, diets, and daily wellness routines.
The magazine’s cover is immediately recognizable, as Yoga Journal has found its way into most book stores, grocery stores, and department stores. It offers a much-needed women’s perspective on fitness growth, too, hosting a 77-percent female readership rate.
Yoga Journal is just a strong of a magazine as any, covering the art of comprehensive health extensively. While the journal is indeed yoga-centric, yoga itself only constitutes about 40 percent of each issue’s page count.
Approximately 20 percent can be attributed to recipes and diet regimens, 20 percent to fashion, 15 percent to comprehensive health, and five percent to travel.
MuscleMag International was originally a Canadian fitness magazine with a heavy lean towards bodybuilding. Created by Robert Kennedy in 1974, MuscleMag achieved an initial print run count of 110,000.
It’s an unconventional publication to be ranked, certainly, as MuscleMag actually went out of print in June 2013.
So, what’s the deal?
It was a three-part deal, to be precise. MuscleMag International was eventually acquired by Active Interest Media, then officially divided and marketed as its separate components: the nutrition magazine, Clean Eating; the women’s fitness title, Oxygen; and MuscleMag International.
While these publications can be read separately, we totally suggest tracking down some of the original MuscleMag issues—as their fitness tips have aged incredibly well.
Fine Dining in the World of Fitness
Information and industry insights will always be healthy, especially if you know where to dine. If you’re looking for great bodybuilding insights, these magazines have what you’re looking for.
Despite being shied away from due to heavy supplement ad coverage, muscle magazines aren’t altogether worthless. Far from it.
Throughout the industry, direct, down-to-earth discussions about bodybuilding are tough to come by.
For this reason, finding a series of publications catering to advanced lifters is awesome for fresh lifters looking to improve. When a magazine’s main audience is a collection of experts, each with their own expertise, it needs to be not only reputable—but thought-provoking.
Where reading itself is concerned, opting for print-based muscle-building insights is certainly worthwhile. Surveys suggest that the drastic; 120-percent increase in digital media consumption in recent years might’ve had a significant impact on the fitness world.
Specifically, bodybuilding experts have become more print-centric in their interviews, reviews, and industry insights.
By and large, this is done in dedication to bodybuilding’s inherent disciplines: Train, foster dedication, target fitness progression and lead a wholesome, fulfilling life.
On the other hand, digital media has allowed magazines like MuscleMag the opportunity to impact readers alongside an evolving industry. A majority of muscle magazine publications are primarily engaged over the Internet. Which is something to be acknowledged and even appreciated.
What’s In Store for the Future?
It’s anyone’s guess, really, as the best fitness supply stores are also Internet-based. Again, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. E-commerce supplement providers, such as Bodybuilding.com, have aided the consumer’s battle against inflated product prices.
Those new to the Internet’s massive arsenal of fitness resources have a lot to look forward to—especially if they’re seeking advice from similar minds.
To include any of these publications in your own life, as fitness resources or otherwise, is to enter a new world. The past’s bodybuilders spent years, if not decades, looking for information that is currently accessible to all.
In many ways, one’s chance to shine as a bodybuilder has never been so bright.
Fueled by digital outlooks on the industry’s future, and supported by its past’s lessons, we truly do stand upon the shoulders of giants.