How Liz Plosser, Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health, Prioritizes Wellness
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Chatting with Liz Plosser, editor-in-chief of Women’s Health magazine, I spent the better part of the conversation figuring out how we could be new best friends. Her charisma and positive energy were contagious, even over the phone. A Midwesterner with an impressive career portfolio that encompasses positions in the print and digital world, Liz embodies the 360-degree, holistic wellness perspective that WELL Summit prides itself on. Liz, a marathoner, triathlete and boutique fitness-lover, has been working in the wellness industry for 15 years. Her resume includes stints at Well+Good, SoulCycle, Cosmopolitan magazine and SELF magazine, and she now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three kids.
At WELL Summit in Brooklyn on Oct. 5 & 6, she’ll be leading and moderating our main stage panel called The Art of the Healthy Hustle: How Wellness Luminaries Stay Healthy, Strong, Sane as They Build Brands That Are Changing the World. We asked her to share her tips on prioritizing wellness while tending to her career and her family. Here’s what she had to say.
Keep reading for Liz Plosser’s tips on prioritizing wellness in her daily life.
You’ve been at Women’s Health since January 2018. What expertise did you bring to the magazine?
I spent my career in magazines and then I worked on the digital side of things at Well+Good. Because of that, I have a different perspective on how women want to invest in wellness. I’ve seen it from more angles, on the print and the digital side.
When I came to Women’s Health, my first goal was to double down and recommit to the DNA of the brand. I’ve been a reader since it launched in 2003 (I have all the back issues from year one, with the black and white photos on the cover), and even though I was working at a competitor at the time it launched, I was so enamored with what Women’s Health was about.
Secondly, I wanted to expand Women’s Health coverage and bring mental health coverage to the conversation, as one of the core content pillars. In this day and age, these turbulent times we’re living in, we need more coverage on things like depression and eating disorders, but also about how to feel better and happier day to day.
We launched the Mind section of the magazine and we make sure our front-of-book Warm Up section always includes a mental health piece now. Same with sexual health—that’s part of the conversation I want to lead, and we have sexual health tips in the magazine every single month.
I also wanted to bring bolder, happier vibes to our content. I’ve been working with our amazing team of designers to make the aesthetic of the magazine modern, inclusive, diverse, and to utilize lots of different storytelling devices. That gives more readers entry points into the magazine, when we vary how we tell the stories we’re inspired by. We want women to feel inspired and happy by reading Women’s Health. Like with Breakthrough, the last page of the magazine. It includes the types of quotes you’d post on Instagram, and it helps you leave the magazine on a happy, inspiring note.
It’s often said that wellness has a diversity issue, that it’s not accessible for everyone. That’s a conversation WELL Summit wants to lead, and we think Women’s Health is a great partner. Can you tell us about what you think WH’s role is in the conversation?
I think it’s an incredibly important conversation to have. The Instagram-ification of wellness can make us feel cynical about a movement that’s really about being a better version of you.
As a media brand, it’s our responsibility and our opportunity to showcase women of all shapes, sizes and colors. It’s integral to our DNA—it’s not just a box to check. We get to showcase inclusivity. Plus, it’s the quirks about women who we cover that are the most interesting to me, what makes them stand out, whether it’s their career path or it’s the gap in their front teeth. We pick our cover models and the women featured in our stories because they move us, they inspire us. And because they look as strong as they are.
Danai Gurira, who was the cover story for our July/August issue, and the first issue I oversaw from start to finish, is an example of that. We chose her because she moved and inspired us. We want to be a tool that women use to make healthier, happier life choices, whether that’s going to bed earlier or sweating it out each day. To do that, we have to take a holistic look at what wellness means—it’s not just about dumbbell reps and green smoothies. And it means highlighting not just actresses and women in the public eye, but also featuring women of all career backgrounds, from entrepreneurs to women in tech.
That’s what our feature in the October issue [out September 11] and our WELL Summit panel is about. Women who are hustling in a healthy way to make their dreams come true, who are inspiring to us at Women’s Health.
What’s your personal mission for Women’s Health?
I tell people every day that I have the best job in the entire world—I get to help teach women to live happier, healthier lives. I’m passionately committed to that.
I also want to continue to grow Women’s Health, to be a global authority when it comes to health and wellness. Since we came under the Hearst umbrella, we have so many more resources to explore and expand our reach. We already have 29 international editions. We’re huge in the United States, but we’re all over the world too.
For example, our Jenna Dewan cover, for September 2018, and our cover story, The Naked Truth, the majority of our magazines ran a version of that package, and it was a big success.
We also have a huge amount of white space to work with our brother brand, Men’s Health. We just did our first package with their team, and their amazing EIC Richard Dorment, where we surveyed thousands of people on the health response of the #MeToo movement, one year later [the results of that survey come out in the Women’s Health October 2018 issue]. It was really cool to work with them and to see how we can collaborate to make an impact.
How do you manage wellness for yourself? We know from experience that sometimes people who work in wellness, ironically, struggle to find time for their own wellness.
I live this busy, full, crazy life because of my amazing job, but it can be a struggle. Workouts are so key for me, even if it’s literally 10 minutes of dumbbells while I chat with my daughter, sitting on the couch [below]. I always feel better, mind, body and spirit, when I’ve sweated a little. I also try to eat well, and get enough sleep, though sleeping is one of those things I seem to have less control over.
The life/work balance is a buzzy conversation, but for me, it’s about leaning into the moments you have. When I’m at work, I’m laser-focused, and giving 110%. When I step out of work, I’m laser-focused on my family. There are times when work is wild and crazy, and I deal by taking a deep breath, knowing it’s one of those weeks. My goal is to lean into the fact that I know when I tally it up at the end of the the week, the month, the year, that’s where I find the balance.
I’m lucky enough that my husband, my partner, gets it. Workouts are my thing, and it’s crucial to my sanity to have a partner who supports that. Like this weekend, he took the kids for an hour so I could get a workout in, and then I took them so he could. The weekends are more flexible like that, and during the week, sometimes I’m getting up at 4:15 a.m. to get the workout in. That might seem crazy but everything works better in my life—as a human being, as a manager, as a mom—if I sweat.
The irony of it all is that taking care of yourself is hard—but you have to figure out what that means to YOU.
Tell us more about the Healthy Hustle panel. What do you hope WELL Summit attendees take away from it?
Well, it’s kind of about this amorphous idea of “balance.” It’s ironic that we’re women trying to help other women be healthier and happier—but what about ourselves? It’s like that old airplane adage: You have to put your oxygen mask on first. We’ll find out how each of the panelists navigates it all, and I’m hopeful that what they’ve learned can inspire the audience. I want everyone to know that no one is perfect at managing this “healthy hustle.” We’re all just figuring it out.
I think we’ll give tactical, day-to-day ideas for WELL Summit attendees to experiment with, for them to say, “I’m going to try that tomorrow.” I also want to leave everyone inspired, for them to feel good, have goosebumps, cry, laugh, clap—all the good things that come with WELL Summit!
What are you excited for about WELL Summit?
I think something that WELL Summit is great about (and Women’s Health is too), is giving people ideas and options for wellness. There is no magic bullet, and every reader and every attendee is going to resonate with something different. WELL Summit is a special space for discovery and it’s unique.
I’m excited for the amazing energy! The people who WELL Summit attracts—everyone you rub elbows with is a connection that could change your life. The conversations I had last year even just standing in line, waiting to try a beauty product or a new protein bar, were inspiring! It’s a truly magical energy you create.
What does 360 degrees of wellness mean to you?
So many different things! It’s a holistic view of wellness, not just the 20-minute workout or choosing a matcha tea over a frappuccino. It’s about putting the spotlight on your mental and emotional health too, like you would by going to the doctor or sweating it out. It’s the additive effect of all the little decisions you make in life, every day.
Interested in hearing more from Liz Plosser? Make sure to grab your ticket to WELL Summit Brooklyn on Oct. 5 & 6. Until then, catch up with Keynote Speaker Scott Harrison, to hear why he’s excited for the event.