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The Cover-Blurb Conundrum

Have you noticed that the cover lines on most fitness-oriented magazines seem to alternately channel our inner drill sergeant and our inner seductress?

First come the shame-based exhortations: “Lose Your Gut!” they bark. “Drop the Flab!” “Belly Off!” Or my current least favorite: “Lose the Muffin Top!”

And then there are the breathless, come-hither promises: “Your Best Body Ever!” “Six Pack Abs!” “Slender Thighs in 15 Minutes!” “The Bikini-Bod You’ve Always Wanted!”

As infamous for their dogged repetition as for their split personality, these covers have been known to elicit eye-rolling in certain circles. But they also sell like crazy. Which is why some magic phrases are repeated ad nauseam, month in and month out. [Check out Gawker.com writer John Cook's recent exposé on how Men's Health does this.]

In a business where most magazines live or die by their newsstand sales, and where far too many good publications have recently died premature deaths, magazine-makers can perhaps be forgiven for doing what they must to get their copies flying off the shelves.

(Read the rest of this article, which first appeared in Experience Life magazine.)

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