Mike Soutar, the managing editor of the relaunched health title, XL
For Men, has produced a readable and varied magazine. It has a tidy and
accessible feel and continues the editorial bias apparent in its first
incarnation. Only XL’s previous interest in mainstream spectator sports
has been excluded (Emap has Total Sport covering this area).
The magazine’s objective is to position itself between GQ (median age:
25) and Men’s Health (median age: 33), an area that is currently only
being serviced by certain motoring magazines.
For this strategy to succeed, the magazine must achieve a precarious
editorial balance between the more serious ’gym-going’ titles and the
’lads’ titles at the younger end of the market. Maxim - the last
magazine to aim for this sector - ended up with a median age of 24.
XL’s first issue gets pretty close to its target - the late 20s/early
30s armchair athlete. Much of the editorial is aspirational or
spectacular - witness the hill running, helicopter piloting and mountain
climbing stories. The XL handbook has around four pages devoted to
exercise tips, but this isn’t a great deal in a 130-page ’health and
Having said this, I found the title informative and humourous. I
particularly liked the advice piece in ’Extra Large’ which advises the
90s man how to tell his partner that she is putting on weight.
The new (and improved) XL is the health guidebook for the man who would
like to be a finely tuned athlete, but really can’t be bothered (just
Right, now that’s sorted, I’m off down the boozer. Anyone else fancy a