Yahoo Health’s Michele Promaulayko

Michele Promaulayko has been at the helm of Women’s Health since 2009, no doubt making the magazine the contender it is today. That’s why this week’s announcement that Promaulayko has been tapped for the new Editor-in-Chief spot at Yahoo Health was no surprise to us; we’ve been whirling over Promaulayko’s genius since we photographed her some weeks back. We chatted with Promaulayko on keeping Women’s Health relevant, what she plans to bring to Yahoo Health and misconceptions about fitness…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

If the weather is good, I’ll head down the street to the Intelligentsia coffee truck outside the High Line Hotel. I love sitting at a café table in the gravel courtyard—it’s peaceful and the atmosphere feels a little like Paris. I used to smuggle bags of Intelligentsia back from L.A. before they opened here. So, so good. For lunch, I usually eat a salad at my desk. (I know, a total snore—and unsanitary!) On the rare occasion that I go out, I love Sushi Yasuda. Ordering omakase is a spectacular experience there—if someone with a fat expense account is treating. Dinner is the meal I really live for…the entirety of my social existence is predicated on trying new restaurants with friends. Narcissa is a recent favorite. Two I frequent: Il Buco on Bond Street and my chef friend Amanda Freitag’s re-imagined Empire Diner—which, lucky for me, is right in my neighborhood (Chelsea).

What are your personal nightly and morning beauty routines?

In the morning, my routine is pretty simple. I wash my face, then put on Amarté Ultra Veil Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid in SPF 50. If I’m being really diligent, I’ll layer an antioxidant under that first…usually SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. At night, I take my makeup off with John Masters Organics rose face wash, followed by a Retin-A cream and a moisturizer…whatever I have lying around. Then I paint some Latisse onto my lash line and that’s it.

What’s your go-to workout?

Typically, strength training a few times a week at a pace that offers a metabolic (read: fat-burning) benefit. I’m all about max effort in minimal time. I’ve been known to skip traditional cardio for years on end. I’m hoping that all of the red wine I drink is supplying sufficient heart protection. More important, I try to live an active life and move as often as possible. I just got a Citi Bike membership, so I’ve been pedaling around the city.

A workout you’ve been doing since you were a teenager?

None! Back then, I was into doing step aerobics while wearing wrist weights—hey, it was the eighties!

How is Women’s Health different from when you first came on in 2009? What were the changes you wanted to make?

When it was first launched, Women’s Health was sort of a vertical magazine, focusing mostly on sports and fitness. The covers were black-and-white and featured fitness models. I was hired to widen the breadth of topics we cover and to grow the audience (which, in turn, grew the number of advertisers we could attract). It’s now truly a lifestyle magazine, but with health, fitness, and nutrition as the core content areas. We also have celebrities on the cover, and it’s in color. I also wanted to make the advice more instantly actionable, which we’ve done.

How are you constantly keeping it relevant? 

In part, it goes back to what I said about giving actionable advice: We try to anticipate what readers will want and need. We should be the inflection point—after picking us up, they experience a positive change. And I’ve tried to cultivate an editorial atmosphere where timeliness is prized over anything evergreen. We’re always trying to tap into the cultural zeitgeist for story inspiration. And lastly, we’re all wellness junkies, so we’re out there talking to people and experiencing things we can bring back to the brand.

What do you hope to bring to Yahoo Health as the new Editor-in-Chief?

What’s most exciting about it is that I will be able to reach a vast, dual-gender audience and engage them on the topics I’m most passionate about: health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition. Yahoo’s digital platform will allow me to create even more content and to do it in a really dimensional way (through short-form, long-form, videos, social media – you name it). The Yahoo Health audience will be able to visit the site many times a day to find new content. My goal is to make it habit-forming. A healthy habit, of course!

How has the fitness industry changed since you first started in publishing?

It’s changed in so many ways—people are more educated and engaged and there are more sources of information, such as blogs and YouTube. But one of the biggest shifts is the rise of boutique fitness, where one method, studio, or instructor commands a loyal—and, yeah, semi-obsessive—following, complete with a certain fashion aesthetic or apparel line. Think CrossFit and SoulCycle. When I started out, you ran outside or went to the gym to lift or take a class. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the people who like to sample a lot of different workouts. It’s the flip side of the same coin: Fitness is more fragmented. There are over 150 boutique workout venues in NYC alone.

The most common misconception about working out?

That more is more. You do have to challenge your body to see change, but you don’t need to spend hours (or even one hour) in the gym to see results. That just isn’t sustainable, and one of the most important aspects of fitness is consistency.

Words to yourself in the mirror upon waking up in the morning…

I try not to talk to anyone, including myself, before I’ve had coffee.

How do you practice beauty from the inside out? 

I absolutely believe that what you eat matters more than almost anything else you do when it comes to your looks. Nutrition is everything. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet, and all of the beauty potions in the world won’t make your skin glow if you load up on processed junk. Hydration comes first. I drink water with lemon squeezed into it because the vitamin C is good for your skin. I really try to limit my sugar intake because it is truly evil. And there are so many hidden sources. Although if I’m anywhere near the Sockerbit gummy store on Christopher Street, I go into a zombie trance and walk right in. Mostly, I try to eat clean, whole food. I’m still working on how much of it I eat!

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