Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New SOBeFit magazine- So What?

Picture: Christine Michaels and trainer Dominic Dorsey


A new fitness magazine has launched, a health and fitness magazine. Another one? Apparently so. But SOBeFit magazine, unlike other national magazines, targets both men and women in South Florida area who are interested in health and fitness. Not just "interested", but actively breathing and living it. This is not a magazine for couch potatoes.

The event to announce the launch took place on October 14. I had the opportunity to attend via personal invitation and so I RSVPd. To read my complete review and experience of the event, please click here.

Scanning the magazine racks at bookstores in anticipation of the launch, titles such as SELF, SHAPE, MUSCLE & FITNESS, Mind Body Spirit FITNESS, Women's Health, Men's Health lined the shelves of the lifestyle section. Is SOBeFit really different? Is it equally balanced for women and men? Is there substantial content to tie it back to South Florida? Is the magazine informative, engaging and motivational? Will it spark readers to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Will it speak to me? Kick me in the butt? Maybe that's for couch potatoes.

In flipping through the pages casually, here are my immediate observations:

Pluses
+ An article on nutritional value of stone crabs at Joe's, a popular, seasonal restaurant in South Beach famous for their stone crabs speaks to ==> Food, Nutriton, Connection to SFL

+ Calendar of fitness and sport events for reader participation. Events include a 5K run, the ING Miami Marathon, and Climbing the Wachovia tower--wow just the adrenaline from fear will burn calories ==> Activity, Fitness, Connection to SFL

+ An article on the consumption of black beans and other legumes (popular staples in South Florida meals) and healthy recipes ==> Food, Nutrition, Connection to SFL


Minuses

- The promotion of the "Fittest Person" sends you to their website to register but the registration is not set up. Also, the website does not offer details of the contest and only announces the prizes. This is not a strike on the magazine but the website. Note to Marta--someone needs to connect the dots and ensure all i's are dotted, t's crossed, links working, and promos are backed up ...

- The article on SOBeFit certified facilities left me dazed and confused. I had to read it three times and reach for the fitness dictionary. The "day pass" threw me off. A "day pass" normally means a free pass for one day to a gym. In the introductory paragraph, I understood the readers will get a day pass to evaluate the different facilities. But in reading the full article, I think SoBeFit rates the gyms. So what is the "day pass"? Maybe my blood sugar was low.

-A protein monger and lover of stone crabs, I enjoy them best at the famous Joe's restaurant in South Beach. The article educates the reader on the nutritional value of stone crabs and mentions it is "low cholesterol" but fails to show the cholesterol amount in the nutritional breakdown chart.


OVERALL

The launch issue is nice and condensed, about 100 pages from cover to cover, a plus in my consumer opinion. For me, the less pages, the more likely I will absorb and digest from the first to last page instead of speed reading where I forget 90% of the material. Thick magazines are daunting for this busy Bond bee, although I overheard that the first issue, which launches December 24, will contain twice as many pages. I'm guessing the additional pages will serve as guidance and motivation for the dreaded NEW YEAR resolutions.

Content is evenly distributed across the four pillars--health, fitness, nutrition, and sports. SOBeFit successfully melds content with South Florida culture as indicated above. The magazine draws inspiration from Miami icon and celebrity athelete, Alonzo Mourning who's ready-to-take-off pose mirrors the launch spirit. At both the launch event and in the magazine, Alonzo invites readers to be the fittest person in South Florida. Unfortunately, in following the SoBeFit brick road to the website, there's no information. Was this teaser intentional? Not sure.

More inspiring to me were the articles of regular folks, like me, who have full-time jobs and juggle a plethora of responsibilities including a fitness regimen. The story of Junelly Rojas, a violinist, is a perfect example. She started exercising out of necessity because she developed scoliosis from carrying the heavy violin case for years on the same side. Now she works out at least three times per week: 30 minutes of cardio in the morning, circuit training and 600 reps of abdominal exercises, plus 45 laps in the pool once a week. Junelly is 33 years old and at 5'4" weighs 110 pounds. I need some Junelly juice to get this Bond Girl back on track!

SOBeFit is also packed with how-to's for pushups, weightlifting, stretching and use of the new fitness toys with plenty of photographs at different stages and angles to guide readers. This is very important and I give SOBeFit contributors high marks. Other magazines lack in this area. Risk of injury is high without proper instruction on form and function. Four, five or more clear pictures or illustrations with use of arrows and diagrams is critical to minimize injury and to maximize the exercise. The magazine takes it a step further to include zoomed-in illustrations of the primary and secondary muscle groups. Excellent idea!

RECOMMENDATIONS for future issues:

* I hope to see nutritional value of other local restaurants, whether it's a mom and pop location, a destination restaurant, or a popular fast food chain like Pollo Tropical that is famous for homemade Caribbean fare that is mostly grilled.

* Offer subscribers discounts to future events and day passes to spas and gyms alike. [Day pass meaning no cost to use the gym or spa and its facilities]. Remember, loyalty has its rewards. In a quick comparison to a national magazine, I visited the SELF.com website, and found an offer for a three-day pass to the LA Sports Club in Miami on Brickell Avenue.

Overall, SOBeFit magazine is a refreshing addition, aid or arsenal for South Florida's fit and health-conscious women and men to battle the bulge, stay fit or strive for higher goals. SOBeFit stands apart from other national magazines and I predict will become part of Miami mainstay. So BE IT!

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

The magazine has too much of Marta Montenegro. It's like she wants to be all over it: "Look at me I'm on the cover, and here, and there too". Big NO,NO Miss Venezuela. overshadows the core of the magazine, and makes it very unprofessional.