American Media Inc.’s Muscle & Fitness is about to get the Dave Zinczenko treatment.
A year after the magazine dynamo took AMI’s Men’s Fitness out of the gym and into the lifestyle realm with a splashy redesign, he’s working his magic on the body-building magazine.
Muscle & Fitness has always billed itself as a magazine for serious fitness enthusiasts, each cover sporting a glistening, bare-chested weight-lifting buff and blaring manly-man headlines like “Get Combat Ready” and “Maximize Your Size.”
Zinczenko said the changes are meant to appeal to a "new breed of fitness enthusiast" who's supplementing body-building with CrossFit, mud runs, spin classes and the like. "The same men who lift weights are doing more than just moving iron," he said.
New columns will include grooming, product reviews, athletes from a wider range of sports and even investigative reporting, while hard-core workout content will move to the back of the book.
A dish of greens scattered with quinoa and topped with salmon pictured in the April issue is a sign of how much has changed from the old Muscle & Fitness days. "There were fewer meat salads back then," Zinczenko admitted.
The changes started to take effect with the March issue and will culminate in a full redesign in May. The hope is, of course, also to make the magazine more attractive to advertisers beyond supplements and sports drinks makers.
Shawn Perine is the magazine’s editor in chief, but as consulting editorial director for AMI, Zinczenko will have a hand in all of it. Aiding in the new aesthetic of the magazine is new art director Marne Mayer, formerly of ESPN: The Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She’ll work with Joe Heroun, who was behind last year’s Men’s Fitness revamp.
That remake resulted in a 27 percent year-over-year increase in ad pages in 2013 (per Publishers Information Bureau) and 20 percent lift in single-copy sales (2H 2013, Alliance for Audited Media).
Zinczenko's work at AMI has put him in the ring with his old employer, Rodale, where Men's Health issued its own redesign last year, and ignited a bit of an old-fashioned magazine war. The Men's Fitness revamp invited comparisons with Men's Health, an exercise that will likely repeat itself with the Muscle & Fitness repositioning.
Of the two AMI redesigns he's overseen, Zinczenko said: "It's a very good one-two punch in the market."