The Men’s Health Paradox: When Good Advice Goes Bad

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I have a subscription to Men’s Health. I admit it. But I have a good reason. Growing up, I was the fat kid. In fact, when I was twelve, I weighed more than I do now, and while I grew into my weight a little when I was a teenager, I was still out of shape in high school and college. After college, I decided it was time to do something, but I didn’t really know how. I had read a couple of random issues of Men’s Health, so I thought getting a subscription might help. I used the magazine to learn about eating healthier and to make myself a work-out plan. Over the course of a year or so, I lost about 50 pounds, and I’ve maintained my current weight ever since.

What I discovered, though, is that you have to read between the lines and really figure out which advice works for you and which doesn’t, because sometimes the magazine contradicts itself, just a little.

For example:*

Fitness

The one-armed reverse triple Lutz dead lift super lunge: The ONE exercise you MUST do to get 6-pack abs.

And then in the next issue:

Exercises you should NEVER do: the one-armed reverse triple Lutz dead lift super lunge. YOU WILL BREAK YOUR NECK, AND YOU WILL DIE.

Nutrition

The Paraguayan spotted chili pepper: the next super-food. Eat a pound of these a day and you’ll never get cancer or heart disease, you’ll regrow hair, and you’ll gain x-ray vision plus the ability to fly. Also, you’ll instantly have 6-pack abs and every woman within a five-mile radius will find you irresistible.

And a few issues later:

The Paraguayan spotted chili pepper: the hidden dangers. Sure, they’ll grant you 6-pack abs and immortality, but will it be worth it when YOUR HAIR TURNS GREEN, YOU GROW THREE EXTRA NIPPLES, AND YOU START TALKING LIKE ELMER FUDD?

Style

Nothing is sexier than being confident in who you are, so you should work to create your own personal, unique style.

HOWEVER, this Fall, skinny dark jeans (True Religion, $211), ankle boots (Cole Haan, $228), Cardigan sweaters (Hugo Boss, $225), and scarves (Banana Republic, $98) are in, so study the picture of the model on the next page very carefully and copy his look EXACTLY or PEOPLE WILL POINT AT YOU AND LAUGH. (And by EXACTLY, we mean you should also get a 31-inch waist and 6-pack abs.)

Grain of salt. I’m just sayin’.

*These examples may be slightly exaggerated and/or entirely made up, but you get the point.

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