I prefer Men’s Health to Flex, easily.
Sure, there is a lot of stuff aimed at beginners, but in general the nutrition and training pieces are way better than most other muscle magazines. Lots of good contributors, many of whom write for T-Nation as well. I remember MH ran a piece a LONG time ago talking about the virtues of pull-ups and chin-ups over lat pulldowns…before they were in vogue. They also were among the first to recommend dusting off your old “ab wheel” and using them for jack-knives. Yeah, they’ve run some absolute POS articles as well, but who hasn’t?
Now, reading through an issue of Flex typically goes like this:
1.) Turn through 16 pages of ads to find the index.
2.) A couple of thinly-veiled “ed-vertisements” before the first piece, usually several pages of a jacked guy in cutoff jean shorts and work boots showing off his striated hamstrings and/or buttocks (I don’t care how big you are, cutoff jean shorts are for reserved for sexy Southern chicks and girls washing cars only!)
3.) Another 23 pages of ads, most of which are littered with extreme sounding-superlatives like “most bodacious” and “explodingest”.
4.) A training article, typically containing such groundbreaking muscle-building tips as “Go for sets of 8-12, make the last two reps really count”, “Feel the pump…you’ve gotta feel the pump!” and “To really burn up your bracialis, try drop-sets!”.
5.) More ads. “For the most bodacious, explodingest grape-enosity imaginable, try our ready-to-drink grape whey protein isolate!”. No, thank you, I don’t think I’m intense enough to handle that magnitude of grape-enosity.
6.) A nutrition piece. Again, real hard-hitting topics like “Egg Yolks: Friend or Foe?” or “Gram of Protein per Pound of Bodyweight…Enough?”. There is always a requisite picture of a bodybuilder in his kitchen, spooning a powder into his blender and giving the camera a goofy grin. He is inevitably wearing a tank-top which coincidentally advertises said powder.
7.) Did someone ask for more ads? No? Well too bad, here are another 28 pages! “When Jean-Pierre Fux wants to REALLY put on mass, he looks no further than Chrysin!”. Oh, forgive me, I thought it was a whole medicine cabinet of exotic testosterone esters from countries which no longer exist, stacked with growth hormones extracted from a Dodo bird’s pituitary. It was CHRYSIN! Should have known all along.
8.) You reach the back cover. An audible sigh is emitted, along with the word “fuck”. You think of a whole laundry list of things that 6 dollars could have been better spent on, including Cadbury Easter Eggs, a rhubarb-scented freshener for your car, or a set of collector’s coins commerating “Wild Songbirds of New England”.