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Shaffer
08-07-02, 09:23 AM
As Americans soul search and second-guess the horrors of September 11,
magazines pursue the stories that continue to haunt the country. How did the
biggest intelligence failure in U.S. history happen? Will President Bush's
plan to reform homeland security fix what ails us? How do military men get
those abs of steel? We may have to wait to discover the truth of the first
two queries, but the October issue of Men's Health promises to reveal the
secret of the third. To fulfill its patriotic calling, Men's Health decided
to swap out a gut-less cover model in favor of a real life Marine.
The cover subject will be one of three finalists recruited from amongst the
40,000 Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina - a training
ground for Marines preparing for battle in Operation Enduring Freedom. The
magazine's photo editors set up shop on base for three days in April,
auditioning 250 Marines who share the magazine's belief that rock-solid abs
really can be the difference between life and death. "The guys we saw were
amazing," says director of photography Marianne Butler. "They're fit for a
living. We had guys from age 19 to 47, and everything from private up to
lieutenant colonel."
Back in New York, Butler and her team narrowed the list down to three. The
finalists will appear in a photo spread and each will offer his take on the
muscle-building regime used in the Corps. (The cover Marine remains under
wraps and won't be announced until press time.)
As cut as these guys are, the magazine gave the finalists another month to
further refine their physiques, and provided a little Men's Health coaching
to get them there. "The associate photo editor would call them a couple
times a week to make they're eating right," Butler says.
And at least one finalist says he buys into the title's promise that all you
need is a few months to transform yourself from weakling to rippling. Sgt.
David Rodriguez, says he joined the Corps at 17 weighing just 128 pounds. He
emerged from basic training three months later at 155. "I was never out of
shape, but it certainly put me on a different scale," he says. Now 31,
Rodriguez says he reads the magazine for tips on maintaining his peak
conditioning, especially since he has to keep the same pace as the kids.
After all, says Rodriguez, "You can't lead your troops from the rear."
For information on use of the product call Nathan Beber, the technical
representative for the MCLB Fire Department, at (760) 985-9820.