In any business, in any relationship, one’s core values, ideals and beliefs will be tested. Quite recently, this happened to me and my team at IMPACT and it caught me off-guard. For 26 years, IMPACT has been built on passion and a desire to help others live a healthier, happier life — not to mention some blood, sweat and a few tears! When I founded the magazine, I did so because of my passion for the fitness industry and I felt there was a need for a publication like this, so I created it. Over the years, and certainly in the early days, we made plenty of mistakes. It was incredibly hard work, but with each issue, and with each year we learned, we grew, and we became better, and more and more we became aware of the tangible difference the magazine was making in readers’ lives. We were helping people, and it was the most rewarding feeling in the world.
Recently, the very foundation that IMPACT was built upon – strength, athleticism, health, fitness and accessibility for every reader – was questioned. It was suggested that the magazine was too sporty, too fit. The beautiful, inspiring, diverse group of people who we have always greatly admired, respected and felt great pride in featuring was suddenly being criticized for not being young enough, thin enough, or good looking and pretty enough. I was speechless. For the first time in our history, our mandate was being questioned and criticized. We began to doubt ourselves and the work we had proudly been doing for our community for 26 years. We made a few changes that felt utterly wrong, succumbing to the pressure.
But what is a pretty face and a thin figure without hard work, determination, and the will to better oneself? What is really at the core, and what does that have to do with IMPACT? We are not a high fashion magazine promoting unhealthy body types. We are a magazine that has promised to bring our readers diverse, realistic, educational fitness content everyone can relate to and aspire to – and be inspired by. We believe, and have always believed, that there is an athlete inside every body. We are not interested in setting an unrealistic standard of image for our readers, we are interested in fitness, health and in people. Real, authentic people who are striving to live their healthiest, happiest lives who will inspire others to do the same.
Most of us will never look anything like those it was suggested we feature. But all of us are able to set a personal fitness goal, work towards it little by little, achieve it and be proud of it. All of us have been inspired by the Athletes with IMPACT stories each issue. They represent the absolute truth, and here at IMPACT, telling the truth is at the core of our beliefs. We lost sight of that momentarily, and I regret it very much.
Make no mistake. Our vision and purpose is clearly in focus. For those who know me, I am painfully loyal – to my family, friends, staff, industry colleagues, clients and very much so to my readers. You are the support system that drives this magazine forward and you have never complained, and always praised. In fact, your sheer love and support over the years has been overwhelming and heartfelt. IMPACT is here for you, whoever you are, whatever size you wear, and wherever you are in your fitness, health or sporting journey, and I encourage you to continue sending your stories and sharing your expertise. I thank you for your continued readership and support and we will continue striving to make IMPACT an inclusive, diverse, inspirational, and safe space for you all. And for that I make no apologies.
– Elaine Kupser, Publisher