Back in 1987, the editors of Sports Fitness decided the time was right for a publication that focused on fitness as a means to its own end. At the time, there were several men’s magazines focusing on lifestyle and fashion, and others aimed at serious weight-training enthusiasts, but nothing bridging the yawing gap between.

So, in August of that year, Sports Fitness became Men’s Fitness, and with it a new category of magazine was born. Soon other publications following a similar formula would sprout up, making the staff’s decision seem prescient.

During the past 30 years, Men’s Fitness has remained true to its original directive of presenting active men with quality nutrition, training, supplement, and lifestyle coverage. Yet it’s also undergone significant stylistic changes in that time. I know this because for hours I sat with my team and thumbed through most of the more than 300 issues we’ve published between 1987 and today.

Looking back, we realized we got a lot right, especially when it came to honoring the “Fitness” part of our title. In regard to some of our fashion features, though...well, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether a powder-blue spandex bodysuit was a good call on our part.

As for our covers, we’ve had several gems over the years. We’ve culled 30 of our favorites—some for their endearing goofiness, others for their subjects and editorial.

I hope you enjoy this visual guide to our history as much as we enjoyed assembling it. And I want to personally thank you for being a Men’s Fitness reader. We look forward to remaining your go-to source for fitness information and inspiration for the next 30 years.