Date Posted: Tuesday 11th June 2019
DIARY directory caught up with the new editor of Men's Fitness magazine, Isaac Williams, to coincide with Men's Health Awareness Week (see upcoming awareness dates in DIARY dates). Isaac is also a freelance sports and fitness journalist who works on a number of publications.
Men's Health Awareness Week aims to draw attention to men's health issues that can be overlooked and encourages the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle. The focus this year is to look at the key numbers that men need to know about their own health, and at the statistics that policy-makers need to know - including the impact of inequality and deprivation on men's health.
Isaac has always been a sports and fitness enthusiast and, through his work in the media, is well placed to spread fitness benefits and sports news.
Give us a breakdown of your average working day…
It depends on what sort of work I’m doing. If I’ve got a feature to write or anything that requires me to get my head down and focus, I’ll get up fairly early and head to a local coffee shop where there’s less scope for procrastination/eating everything in sight. If it’s more of an admin or editing day, I’ll do some exercise first, then work from home.
As a freelance editor, what is most challenging about your job?
Keeping on top of everything. I’ve only recently taken on the role at Men’s Fitness, so I’m still getting everything in order, commissioning and planning for future issues, but organisation is a big part of the job for any editor – that, and making sure the magazine is worth reading.
What other publications are you working across?
I’ve been a freelance writer for the past year, and have been lucky enough to write for a number of excellent publications, but the most regular work has been for Red Bull, Runner’s World and RSNG.
What attracted you to Men’s Fitness Magazine?
I've always been passionate about sport and fitness, and I developed an equal passion for magazine craft during my time at Men’s Running. Men’s Fitness is the perfect marriage of the two.
Have you always worked in fitness journalism?
Yes. I left university in 2014 without any real idea about what I wanted to do. I knew that I enjoyed both writing and sport/fitness, so fitness journalism seemed a natural extension to that.
Is Men’s Fitness contributing to Men’s Health Week?
Because there’s no Men’s Fitness website (yet), it’s difficult to comment on things as they happen, but I am definitely committed to ensuring the mag features more mental health-related content. Physical fitness is something we can all aspire to, but there’s no point working on our bodies if we’re not also taking care of our minds. Fitness relates to the mental, as well as the physical.
Why is awareness about men’s health so important?
I consider myself lucky to be part of a generation that is increasingly open about the topic of mental health. That said, there’s no doubt opening up about how we’re really feeling (not just for men, but everyone) remains an unfamiliar and uncomfortable thing to do. For men, that problem is exacerbated by the age-old notions of masculinity that continue to govern the way we’re supposed to act: stay strong, ‘man up’, etc. The very tangible and devastating effects of that thought process are the depression and suicide rates among young men. Awareness and openness foster community, reassurance and, crucially, help for men who would otherwise be too proud to seek it.
What are the biggest challenges you face in raising awareness about men’s health?
A few years ago, finding men who willing to open up about their struggles in a national magazine would have been a challenge. The conversation is definitely opening up, though, and there is growing recognition that mental ill-health is not something to be swept under the carpet.
What other areas would you like to write about?
At present, the magazine is an excellent source of training information, workouts, and fitness tips. However, there’s a definite focus on fitness that’s forged in the gym and in the weights room. While that’s going to remain a big part of the mag, I want to broaden the focus slightly, to encompass fitness in all its forms.
What do you love most about your job?
The chance to speak to extraordinary and inspiring people, for whom fitness has made a genuinely transformative impact. That, and the occasional free protein shake.
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