Interview with Betty Wong

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Don’t forget to pick up the latest issue of Fitness Magazine!

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Betty Wong became Editor-in-Chief of Fitness in September 2008. Under her leadership, Fitness has won numerous industry awards for its magazine stories and digital properties, including a MIN Editorial & Design Award, Ad Age Media Vanguard Award and Folio Eddie Gold Award. She is an avid runner, completing more than a dozen half-marathons.  She has covered health for most of her career,spending three years as Executive Editor of Family Circle, where she represented the magazine on national television and radio shows, including the Today Show and CBS Early Show.

FG: How long have you been the editor of Fitness magazine?
BW: Since October of 2008.

FG: What do you love most about your job?

BW: I love sharing information, news, ideas, and motivation that really change peoples lives for the better. The work we do at the magazine makes a difference in real and meaningful ways. I love hearing from readers who’ve used Fitness to get back in shape after having a baby, to finally quit smoking, to drop unwanted pounds, or to regain the confidence they thought they’d lost when they became trapped in an unhealthy lifestyle. We welcome women at all fitness levels and at every stage of their get-healthy journey. We just want them to keep reaching for their goals and we give them the tools to get there. It’s so rewarding to know that while yes, magazine-making is still a dollars and cents business, Fitness does a lot of people a lot of good. I also love my job because there’s something new to discover and work on every day—a new pair of running sneakers, a new study about fat, a new photographer to work with, a new story to tell.

FG: What does a typical day at the office look like for you?

BW: I spend a lot of time in meetings going over ideas and layouts for the magazine and discussing projects that help grow out business. Then there’s the day-to-day task of just producing the magazine, which means editing on my computer, reading proposals and manuscripts from my team of editors, meeting deadlines. And while it doesn’t happen every day, I go on frequent outings to test out a new workout class—going rock climbing this Friday!—or visit product manufacturers in their showrooms to see their latest fitness gear and apparel.

FG: How you effectively balance family, career and exercise?

BW: You will never “find” the time to exercise, you have to MAKE the time. Exercise is a given for me, sort of like brushing my teeth. I would feel like something was missing if I skipped it. If you have time for anything else besides work or family, like watching TV after dinner, then you have time to exercise. I schedule lunchtime gym sessions just like a I would a meeting. I find it breaks up my day and gives me the energy to power through a busy afternoon if I’ve gotten in a good sweat. I have two kids, ages 12 and 7. And I think it’s important to show them I am committed to exercise. They’ve seen how much discipline it takes for me to train for marathons. They’ve learned that even when Mommy doesn’t feel like exercising, she does it anyway. While it might be cozy and comfy to sit around in my PJs on a Saturday morning, I never do. As soon as I’ve gotten breakfast on the table for the kids and some coffee in me, I head out for a run. It could be cold, snowy, or rainy, but I will still go. I always feel ready to tackle the chores, errands and busy family demands of the weekend after I get back. And the rest of them are still in their PJs still when I return, so I haven’t missed much!

FG: What’s your favorite form of exercise and why?

BW: Running. It is incredibly efficient for your muscles and cardiovascular health. And I like to just zone out, not have to count reps or anything, and just enjoy the scenery and listening to my music. It’s also a good time to be alone with yourself. You don’t have to worry about what anyone else around you is doing, as you might in a studio class or inside a gym.
Do you have any tips for our readers that are preparing to run their first race or someone that’s interested in possibly running, but isn’t sure where to start? Start out slower than you think you should so that by the last mile of the race, you still feel strong and ready to sprint to the finish. There’s no better feeling than crossing a finish line with a big smile and feeling confident that you still had more in your legs. Because then you can just take that energy and put it into getting ready for your next race. I often sign up for my next one as soon as I’Ve gotten home from my race, because having an event to look forward to keeps me motivated and adds focus to my workouts. So maybe my goal is to shave off time on my next race, so I know I’ll have to work on sprints or intervals in my training. And find a buddy to run with! It makes it so much more fun to train for long-distances like a marathon or half-marathon when you have someone to chat with!

FG: What are some of your favorite healthy snack?

BW: I love nuts, Kind Bars, almond butter on crackers, greek yogurt and fresh fruit. What’s your favorite healthy food? Spinach, kale, beans, and lean steak.
If you only had ten minutes to exercise what would you do? Run sprints on a treadmill. One minute all out, one minute recovery. Do that five times and you’ll be sweaty and out of breath! Or if you are at home, there’s a lot you can do with just your body weight. Do one minute of each: jumping jacks, alternating lunges, burpees, planks, and push-ups. Then repeat the circuit.
What can we look forward to in the upcoming year from Fitness Magazine? Can’t give away all our secrets, sorry! You’ll have to pick up a new issue each month to find out. But you can count on us to keep bringing you the best workouts, fun products and stylish finds, and healthy, delicious recipes to fuel you active life anytime, anywhere whether you love us in print, on tablet, on the web or on your mobile phone.

FG: Special thanks to you, Betty for granting us this exclusive Q & A. We appreciate your participation!