Since entering the gym scene over a decade ago, Daniel Coughlin has been dedicated to improving his physical health – and he’s encouraging others to do it too, through his latest project: Hard hardware, a zine on the theme of bodybuilding.
“How can I prepare my body for long-term functioning? Said the inhabitant of Eau Claire. “It’s a big motivator for me.”
But that wasn’t enough for the weightlifter, as a few months ago he felt it was time for a new challenge.
A longtime writing enthusiast, Coughlin began to reflect on the not-so-small mound of plays he had written over the years. Formerly the editor and editor of several basketball websites – such as SB Nation, FanSided, The Lottery Mafia, and Hardwood Paroxysm – a blog organizer with up to ten contributors at one time, Coughlin has a long history in sports writing.
Most people probably aren’t interested in strength training. But, most people probably wish they had exercised a little more. This makes the idea of general health more accessible to everyone.
Thus, the idea for his zine was born.
A zine – short for “magazine” – is usually a self-published work of text and images produced by a copy-maker. In other words, zines are cool, local, and – best of all – vintage.
This is something Coughlin focused on when designing his zine. While searching for materials, Coughlin found himself searching through his collection of old magazines, hailing from the archaic early 2000s, that had accumulated in his basement over the years.
What he found was alfa, macho men dedicating their lives to horrific workouts and strict diets for a brief moment of oily, glittery stardom.
Coughlin saw this as an opportunity.
“Most people probably aren’t interested in bodybuilding,” Coughlin said. “But, most people probably want to exercise a little more. This makes the idea of general health more accessible to everyone.
The conversation about physical health – especially going to the gym – can be overwhelming. Knowing this, Coughlin wanted to create something self-aware and awkward to help ease the tension. There is a bigger message beyond the satirical nature of intentionally lackluster Photoshopping features and skills: Strong Body, Strong Mind.
“The idea is that you can have one or the other, and you just might want the other,” Coughlin said. “It’s more about: how do you cultivate the best in yourself and how do you cultivate things that you can take with you everywhere. ”
Hardline Hardware isn’t just a zine – Coughlin also has an online store where shoppers can grab the zine, but also shirts and stickers.
The vision for the brand as a whole is to have fun and be self-aware, but to engage people and elicit a response.
“It’s a success for me,” Coughlin said. “That’s all we’re trying to do is get that answer.”
Check out Hardline Hardware on their website, Instagram (@hardlinehardware) and TikTok (@hardlinehardwear).