Top 10 Hot Topics to Pitch to Editors at Health & Fitness Magazines

July 21, 2016
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As early as 2004, the health and wellness industry was already a billion-dollar business, and almost all its sectors, including the fitness magazines, gained from its growth. According to the National Directory of Magazines (published by Oxbridge Communications), the U.S. market has 508 health & fitness magazines. The number of health & fitness magazines has grown 62% from 2004 to 2010.

Today, these publications are still on a rave, making them great places to begin a full-fledged freelance writing career:

1. Sports

Many new sports have gained notoriety over the years, such as rugby, track and field, mixed martial arts, and golf. The latter even has its own dedicated magazines. You can find “quirky” sports such as toe wrestling, and cheese rolling. You can go for these types of topics, as well as throw in the growth of these sports, where and how to play them, the dynamics of the team, and sporting events such as marathons and triathlons.

2. Nutrition

People, especially the baby boomers, are interested on longevity. One good proof is the high sales of supplements, especially those advertised as antioxidants. Besides supplements, you can write articles about modern nutrition, American diets, childhood obesity, secrets of longevity, organic or raw diets, and vegetarianism.

3. Health

Health is all about diseases, treatments, prognosis, and the various breakthroughs and setbacks that we experience over the years. You can cover the latest ones, such as the growth of cancer cases, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Other topics include how to maintain female and male health, how to find a good doctor, alternative medicine, mental health issues, sex addictions, and health organizations.

4. Sex

Sex may be a taboo to some but not for many. Almost everyone is just interested in it; over the years, we’ve come to know more about the science behind it. Talks about sex are sensitive but definitely pique curiosity. Some subjects include different sexual positions, how people view sex today, the pros and cons of premarital sex, diseases related to sex, benefits of sex, as well as dating tips.

5. Workout Routines

Exercise has been a part of regular routines of many individuals, and just as many — especially baby boomers–are thinking about adding exercise routines to their daily activities. Workout articles can be how-to articles (e.g., how to build a muscle, work out for 5 minutes, or reduce injuries). You may also deal with various fitness gyms, new kinds of workouts, and the science behind workouts.

6. Apparel and Accessories

Exercise equipment rakes in billions of dollars every year and makes up 25 percent of the entire fitness supplies and accessories category. And even if the economy is unstable, such as our global recession, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association still forecasts positive growth. You can write articles about new fitness gadgets, where to get them cheap, and how to wear them.

7. Reviews

People are highly dependent on consumer reviews before they buy a product or sign up for a service, such as a weight-loss program or gym membership. You can cover anything, from weight loss products, to supplements, gyms, fitness exercises, and music for workouts.

8. Celebrity Secrets

Who doesn’t want to know how Jennifer Hudson dropped several pounds? Hollywood stars are still looked up to by many, and anything related about them is interesting. Give readers an idea of their health struggles, diseases, and weight loss secrets. If possible, submit interviews.

9. Weight Loss

In 2006, 1 in 5 women is into weight loss pills. Today, many more are involved in weight loss, thanks to fad diets, weight loss centers, protein shakes, and routines for weight loss. Another hot topic is writing about eating disorders.

10. Beauty

Topics include skin care products, best brands for a certain type of skin, organic skin care, mineral makeup, new methods of styling, product reviews, cosmetic procedures, hairstyles, make-ups, salons, and celebrity makeup artists and

Who’s Your Audience?

You have the baby boomers, which contribute to almost half of the country’s economy, fitness enthusiasts, people who love a change of lifestyle, sports aficionados, athletes, and health care practitioners.

Where Should You Submit Your Work?

Major magazines

  • Health magazine is the leading women’s health and lifestyle magazine. The magazine publishes articles on food, exercise, mental health, fashion, beauty, entertainment and more.
  • Fitness magazine is written for women who want to stay physically, emotionally, and mentally fit.
  • Men’s Health magazine features articles on fitness, health, career, relationships, nutrition, sex and general interests.
  • Women’s Health magazine provides tips and advice for integrating getting in shape and feeling good into their busy schedules.
  • Muscle and Fitness is a lifestyle magazine for bodybuilders. Muscle and Fitness magazine features expert health and fitness advice for men and women on every level of fitness. The publisher, American Media, Inc., also publishes Pregnancy magazine, Flex, Men’s Fitness magazine, Muscle & Fitness magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine, Natural Health magazine, and Shape magazine.

The magazines which we have listed above are the best in the industry. Pay rates for freelance articles are between .80 cents to $1.50 per word, and sometimes above. These editors are always swamped with query letters and editorial submissions and do not have time to reply to every inquiry (unfortunately); thus, they do not publish writer’s guidelines online.

The best method to approach the editor with an article idea is to visit the magazine’s Contact Us page and simply e-mail an inquiry to the editor. The editors will not accept query letters from non-published writers, so don’t even waste your time. These magazines require a freelance writer to have at least 3-5 years of experience in professional writing and have verifiable clips related to health and fitness.

Examples of high-circulation magazines

Aspiring writers and professional writers can find hundreds of other magazines, periodicals, journals and websites to write for, such as the following:

  • IDEA Health & Fitness Association, a membership association for fitness and wellness professionals, publishes a handful of publications that accept freelance material. These publications include: a) IDEA Fitness Journal; b) IDEA Trainer Success; c) IDEA Fitness Manager; and d) IDEA Pilates Today. Writer’s guidelines
  • U.S. Kids publishes a few magazines to educate and entertain readers and to promote good health and fitness among all children. A few of its publications include: Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids (ages 3-5); Humpty Dumpty Magazine (ages 5-7); and Jack and Jill (ages 6-12). Writer’s guidelines
  • Radish is a monthly magazine to help improve its readers’ health through the natural foods, products and services of western Illinois and eastern Iowa. Writer’s guidelines
  • Diabetes Health magazine provides patients, educators and healthcare professionals with practical advice and the latest information on new methods, technologies and research related to diabetes. Diabetes Health accepts solicited submissions from contributing writers for feature-length stories. Payment varies with experience. Writer’s guidelines
  • Adirondack Sports & Fitness is an outdoor recreation and fitness magazine covering the Adirondack Park and greater Capital-Saratoga region of New York State. Writer’s guidelines
  • EatingWell magazine is a national food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully. Pay rate: up to $1/word. Writer’s guidelines
  • pays for freelance articles to publish on its website. The editor requests writers to submit story ideas, a resume, and two original samples via e-mail. Visit
  • Massage Magazine is an internationally circulated trade publication for massage therapists and allied health professionals. Payment for articles ranges from $50 to $400, depending on the subject matter, category, length and quality of writing. Writer’s guidelines
  • Vibrant Life is a bimonthly lifestyle magazine that promotes physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual balance from a practical, Christian perspective. Payment for articles ranges from $100 to $300. Writer’s guidelines
  • Well Now Magazine (Well Now) is the first and only magazine that addresses the unique issues of health living, fitness training, nutrition, and well-being of moms. Category, Department, and Feature articles are compensated at $.10 a word. Writer’s guidelines

The above publications are a random selection of health and fitness magazines. To find many more magazines that accept freelance submissions, go to our Writer’s Guidelines Database, which has more than 1,000 publications that pay for freelance material. You can find health and fitness magazines in a variety of categories, such as sports, wellness, nutrition, parenting, and lifestyle.

What do editors look for?

Articles can range from soft to hard-core, the latter being very technical and systematic. You may need to have a more thorough knowledge about the subject before you can write. In general, editors look for articles that their audience can easily relate to and understand. Accuracy of data is needed, as well as timeliness of submissions. Competition is tough among publications; they want to be “first” in any subject. Most editors of highly-circulated magazines want original articles; they will refuse reprints or simultaneous submissions.

How Do You Pitch Ideas?

Begin with your local magazines as they are easier to penetrate. If you don’t want to start from scratch, check if they’re okay with reprints. Usually, you send the editor an e-mail, expressing your intention to write for them. Aspiring writers
should focus on writing for a specific column or department for the magazine as a first assignment.

How Much Do You Earn?

Big-time magazines, those with nationwide circulation, can pay as much as $1,500 for a 1,000 word article. Feature articles, with photos, sidebars, expert interviews, etc. will pay even more as part of a package. Smaller health and fitness magazines pay much less, anywhere from .10 cents per word up to .50 cents per word.
Primary Categories

As mentioned before, you can find health and fitness magazines in many categories, and even more subcategories. Here are the 7 primary Health & Fitness categories:

  • General health and wellness magazines
  • Family health and wellness magazines
  • Children’s health magazines
  • Women’s health magazines
  • Men’s health magazines
  • Bodybuilding and weight training magazines
  • Health conditions magazines

Top 3 Big Players

Men’s Health (MH), published by Rodale Inc., is the world’s largest men’s health magazine, publishing 44 editions around the world. It is the best-selling men’s magazine on U.S. newsstands. It covers fitness, nutrition, sexuality, lifestyle and other aspects of men’s life and health. Total circulation is 1,892,760 and total readership is above 5 million.

Fitness magazine, published by Meredith Corporation, comes in second with a national circulation of 1,501,244 copies.

Self magazine, a magazine that helps women with health, fitness, nutrition, beauty and happiness, comes in third at a circulation of 1,486,992 copies and a total audience of 5,541,000 readers.

Tips to Pitch

A quick-start guide of what most editors want to know

1. You article must be original and not published elsewhere.

2. Your article must be appropriate for the magazine’s readership.

3. Your article must directly address the needs of fitness and health consumers and/or professionals.

4. Why are you qualified to write this article? What are your credentials?

5. How will your article entice, engage and excite readers to read your entire article?

6. What is the general topic area of your article and its word length? Would your article
fit into a specific column, department, or feature section?

7. Can you confirm all facts and figures from a primary source used within your article?

8. Can you provide full contact information for every source used in creating your article?

9. Do you have photographs and artwork that may enhance the presentation of your article?

10. Can you suggest a headline and subhead for your article?

11. How will you submit your completed article (such as by e-mail)? In what format (such as MS-Word)? Are You an Expert?

How to make an editor buy your article

An editor will buy your article if you:

1. Meet or beat deadlines.

2. Include quality photos when you can.

3. Quote the experts. When possible, interview one or more professionals.

4. Balance information with readability. Use anecdotes to lend human interest. Avoid talking down to readers.

5. Include 1 or 2 sidebars of short topical information (a must for feature articles).

6. Establish a strong lead paragraph and compelling close. Remember the five W’s: who, what, where, when and why.

7. Write in third-person news style for briefs and most articles.
Sometimes it is acceptable to use first person narration.

8. Use a clear, logical order for content.

9. Use action verbs.

10. Use short, concise plain language to define technical terms.

11. Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

12. Include short anecdotes or case studies to illustrate key points, and then expand the focus to a wider context.

13. Use strong, genuine quotes to engage the reader.

14. Add credibility with scientific studies, statistics and updates on trends.

15. Use subheads to organize key points. Never go more than two pages before inserting a new subhead.

16. Use the first three to four paragraphs of text to engage the reader. State briefly how you are going to help him/her.

17. When necessary, format the main body of text into digestible bits and pieces that you can bullet, italicize, enumerate, and/or group.

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