An Interview with Jon Lipsey – Editor of Men’s Fitness Magazine

There are so many people in the fitness industry that I respect and admire. Some are the fittest men/women on the planet, some are the strongest people I know and others just talk ‘no nonsense’ factual information that is helping cut the crap from the midst of the Fitness industry. Focusing on the latter, it is with my pleasure to introduce you to Jon Lipsey…

If you dont already know who Jon is, simply walk into any news agent/store in the UK and you’ll see a magazine called Men’s Fitness – Jon is the Editor of this magazine! Some might argue, he’s kind of a big deal 😉

Outside of the Men’s Fitness world, Jon is, in his own right and words, a ‘Fitness business branding guru‘. Jon specialises in helping fitness professionals grow their businesses from zero to hero. (I added that last bit…. had a ring to it!)

So with that introduction, it was my pleasure to be able to interview Jon on some of my own questions, as well as questions from people who follow me on FaceBook and Twitter. Here it is…

What are the top 3 most important things the magazine looks for in an individual that they want to feature?

From Bleddyn Escott

I’m assuming we’re talking about fitness models here, rather than celebs or sportsmen. So here’s what gets you noticed.

  1. Abs. Pretty obvious. But essential if you’re going to be on the cover.
  2. A physique that the average man would think was achievable. If you’re too stacked, or competition-lean it’s going to intimidate a guy who is coming to the mag because he wants to get into fitness.
  3. The ability to move. You might look great but if you can’t move then your opportunities will be limited. When guys come in for a casting I usually ask them to perform a squat and a T press-up. If they can’t do that I know that trying to do a workout shoot with them is just going to be painful. And you’d be quite surprised by the number of guys who look good but are useless at doing what I consider to be essential exercises.

Why people are afraid of supplements?

From Dan Bright

Great question. A few years ago the general public seemed to think that a product like whey protein was a steroid. But that was before we started seeing sports nutrition brands advertising on TV, supporting major international sports teams and occupying space in your local supermarket, which has helped them become mainstream. Another factor is the visuals that some brands use. The way a lot of brands in a bodybuilding mag present themselves would be very intimidating to the average person because the models are big and the language can seem quite aggressive. That’s fine for those brands because they’re not aiming at the mainstream market but it doesn’t do a lot to reassure the average guy that using supplements could actually be pretty useful to them. I also think that there is a lot of confusion about nutrition generally. There is so much advice (and sadly so much bad advice) out there that I can understand why people get overwhelmed and wary about certain subjects, particularly if they’re getting conflicting views. It is a shame, however, because supplements can be incredibly useful. I don’t think there are many people in the UK who wouldn’t benefit from using a Vitamin D supplement, for example.

Would you agree that the “any joe” should focus on weights, over cardio and why?

From Craig Dickinson

Yes, absolutely. There is no doubt that weight training should be part of your programme, regardless of your aims. Even someone who is only focused on becoming a better runner should weight train. There’s quite a lot of research out there to support that, such as this study, which showed that strength training improved running economy in experienced distance runners:

You’re also better off weight training if you want to shift fat. Endless running is likely to just make you skinny with a little stress belly, whereas lifting weights will have a much better impact on your body composition.

Can you become a cover model without a background story? Can a very avg “John” get a cover if he has simply a good body?

From Lee Malone

Yes, the background story isn’t actually important to me. If there is one, then that’s a bonus. But the main job of the guy on the cover is to be an icon for the brand, visually represent our values and get noticed on the newsstand.

As the Editor of a magazine, do you ever feature material that you personally disagree with for the sake of the business needs…. e.g. money

From Michael Read

I’m really glad to say that we don’t. I think there’s a common perception that it does go on, and I’m sure that other mags aren’t as ethical, but we’re strong enough to not need to do that to make the business work. I would never put something in the magazine if I didn’t think it deserved to be there.

What are your top 10 fat loss essential tips?

From me…

  1. Avoid grains where possible. Our digestive system isn’t built to handle them.
  2. Eat more (good) fats. The idea that good fats make you fat is absurd.
  3. Eat a variety of good quality protein sources. It’s important that you don’t just eat one (chicken, say) and ignore other meat, fish and eggs.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. There’s good evidence that a lack of sleep is associated with higher body fat levels.
  5. Pick heavy things up until you fail. This will have a positive effect on your body composition.
  6. Ditch long cardio sessions. Ignore the elite guys at the front and look at the average marathon runner. They do not have six-packs.
  7. Sprint more. Studies show that it is excellent for building muscle and burning fat.
  8. Eat meat and nuts for breakfast. Canadian strength guru Charles Poliquin is on to a winner with this and it will also help your immune system function.
  9. Don’t worry! If you are stressed about eating and training (or anything, for that matter), you are producing a stress response in your endocrine system that will not help your body composition.
  10. Do what works for you. We are all slightly different and have different genetics and life circumstances. What worked for the next guy may not work for you. Be open-minded, try things, learn and refine.

If you want to read more about Jon’s work, take a look at his website –, his twitter account and obviously check out the Men’s Fitness website too (which i featured in…. have I mentioned this enough yet? If not, check out my feature here…).

Know it, Feel it, Live it

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