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Does a High MQ mean Big Muscles?

Yes and No. Like with so many things in life, the answer is not black and white. Let’s say you launch a new exercise and diet program to get yourself into shape.

In Scenario One:

You start off with 100 MQ, and you do not change your diet in any way, but rather simply start to weight train and build up your muscles. In this case, your MQ will most certainly increase. So, the bigger your muscles the higher your MQ, as long as everything else stays the same.

However, you can also achieve the same result with dieting…

In Scenario Two:

You maintain a steady level of strength training, but begin dieting and start losing fat. In this case, you can also start seeing an increase in your MQ. This is because your MQ represents a ratio of muscle to fat in a given body area. The more muscle you have relative to fat (or the less fat you have relative to muscle), the higher your MQ will be.

So in the first scenario, your MQ goes up because you are adding muscle—i.e. bulking up. In the second scenario, you are not changing your muscle bulk at all, but are rather just losing fat. In one case, bigger muscles does mean higher MQ, and in the second case, the muscle size doesn’t change and your MQ goes up simply because you are losing fat. So if you really want to make your MQ take off, then weight-lift and lose fat simultaneously.

Now things get a little more complex when you start comparing across different individuals. Let’s compare your friend “Jack” – a 280 pound, 6’3” football player with massive biceps, and your friend “Mark” – relatively thin, 170 pounds, 5’11, and he doesn’t have bulging biceps.

Jack and Mark measure themselves with the Skulpt Aim, and they both get a 115 biceps MQ score. How can it be possible that such different looking biceps could give such similar results?

Well, it’s again the concept of the ratio between muscle versus fat. While Mark’s biceps are considerably smaller than the football players’, Mark also has a lot less fat and so the actual muscle quality is very similar. But if Mark had the same amount of fat, Mark’s MQ would be much, much lower since his muscles are considerably smaller.

So in sum, don’t think of a higher MQ as meaning necessarily bigger muscles. Think of it as indicating exactly what it means: muscle quality. The higher your MQ the more of your muscle is actually muscle and not fat.

And one additional, related point: muscle quality is not only a measure of muscle versus fat. Other factors can also impact the MQ, such as fibrosis (or muscle disease for that matter, but we won’t get into that here). In fact, as we all age, muscles lose some of their natural elasticity as more and more connective tissue gets deposited in the muscle—this is especially true in people over 70 years of age. So even if your fat to muscle ratio really remains unchanged your MQ could start dropping over time just due to age. But this fact is reversible to some extent—exercise can help reverse this trend and keep your MQ nice and high even into  ripe old age.

14 thoughts on “Does a High MQ mean Big Muscles?

  1. Stefan Meier

    Hello, a great Article. Can’t wait to get my SkulptAim*g*
    I have a question about this. In your Article you say, that two different Typs of “Bodys” can have the same MQ. But now my question. 🙂
    Is there also a difference in how you train your Muscle?
    Typ A is training his Legs with heavy weights. -> Bigger Muscles, more fat, less endurance?
    Typ B is training his Legs with a lot of running(he can run a half or full Marathon)-> smaller Muscles, less fat, better endurance?
    I hope you get what I mean. My English isn’t that good, sry:-(

    1. Stasia

      Hi Stefan, Great question – at this point, we don’t distinguish between the different ways of how you train the muscle. MQ is a rating of your overall muscle’s fitness, measuring the result of your workouts. Thank you for your message!

  2. chris

    Just got my aim so far loving it! 15% bodyfat coming off my bulk I estimated 16% this article helped me out in understanding mq pretty much it’s a cool way to say how lean you are in a certain area. A question I have is long term once I have consistently plugged data are there line graphs to show date/time vs results if not that would be awesome!!!!! This thing is helpful and want it to blossom I will make a youtube log soon for my cut


    1. Stasia

      Hi Chris, Thanks for your comment! Glad to hear you’re enjoying it. We have progress charts in our apps. The Android app is a little behind than our iOS so please bear with us if you don’t see it yet. We’ll be releasing updates frequently in the near future. Thanks!

  3. Cernael

    Intuitively, the relevant factor separating the 115MQ jock Jack from the 115MQ slenderman Mark is BMI. Now, while the whole Skulpt Aim project originated with a pervasive dissatisfaction with BMI as a measure, it might still have some use.

    I did a little back-of-the-envelope calculations, and while it’s not perfect, they indicate that (MQ * BMI) might be a fairly good approximation to muscle size – if you want to maximize muscle volume, this might be the number to track.

    Conversely, if your goal is to minimize fat, (BMI / MQ) seems to fit the bill.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Stasia

      Hi there, interesting thought! The characters we mention in this post, including their MQ numbers is just an example and not based on real people. While this may be somewhat accurate in this case, it won’t be everyone. For example, someone can have really big muscles, but if there is an injury, their muscle quality would decrease, while the size would remain the same.

      1. Cernael

        I went with the base assumtion that MQ is a good approximation of (muscle mass)/(fat mass), even if there are other factors that contribute to MQ too. And that total weight is the sum of muscle and fat (blatantly false, of course, but hopefully close enough to reality to be useful).

        Under those assumptions, MQ times weight equates to:
        (muscle mass)²/(fat mass) + (muscle mass)
        …which mostly varies with muscle mass, which was the point. Using BMI rather than weight should hopefully make the result somewhat comparable between people. And using BMI/MQ under the same assumptions tracks fat mass in the same way:
        (fat mass)²/(muscle mass) + (fat mass)

        It’s by no means perfect. It’s definitely not true. But it may be useful, which is all I hoped for.

  4. Marc

    Just got my AIM a few days ago and loving it so far. I was wondering if there would there be an update in future for measuring more muscle groups. For example, I notice that for the shoulder, we are only required to measure our front deltoid. Would there be an update to allow us to measure the rear and side deltoids too? Thanks!

  5. Joe

    more like controlled dieting no? Many don’t control their dieting right. Tons and tons of temptations out there from cop donuts to kfc.

    I’m still figuring out the skulpt aim since it says 130 mq abs and 14% with 25% on the scale.

  6. Steven

    My question is that my brother used to lift weights but he has not for awhile. The device references somewhat high body fat, yet his MQ is still relatively high. How is this possible since he looks out of shape compared to when he lifted ? All of his MQ scores are close too 100 or over yet his fat % is high 20-30%. He had me measure him numerous times and the ratios remained consistently the same.

    Please explain how this possible. Because he is over weight. Is the machine interpreting the data correctly? He charged up the unit for over 24hrs. He does not have access to an Android device so I am letting him use my phone for his measurements. He asked me to send in his questions that I’ve related here.

    All the best,


    1. Stasia

      Hi Steven, On the MQ scale, 100 represents average, so it’s quite possible to have this MQ score with fat in the 20-30% range. Past 115 MQ is “fit” so he is still considered below fit with his scores. Especially since he used to lift weights, this seems like a probable situation.

    1. Stasia

      Hi Peter, technically, there is no limit on the MQ scale, but “Skulpted” numbers start after 145, and it likely won’t go past 200.