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A “New” New Year's resolution: Increase My Muscle Quality

We all make New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it’s to quit smoking, spend more time with family, or the most common, “to lose weight.” Unfortunately, these resolutions are often forgotten and neglected after the first few months, as there is no one to hold you accountable for it, but yourself.

Change for the better should be constant. We shouldn’t wait for a New Year to be a “new” person. With attainable goals and measurable progress, keeping up with these resolutions shouldn’t be dreadful.

Fortunately, we now know that just “losing weight” isn’t good enough anymore. But losing weight, while increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing body fat, is the best strategy for achieving overall good health. These are two key ingredients to increasing muscle quality, and now we’re able to measure this progress too – muscle by muscle.

So how do you increase your muscle quality?

For starters, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that healthy adults develop and implement a regular exercise program consisting of cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility and neuromotor training. Adults who participate in a moderate intensity cardiorespiratory program should do so for at least 30 minutes per day for 5 days each week, totaling 150 minutes.

Adults who participate in a vigorous intensity cardiorespiratory program should do so for at least 20 minutes per day, 3 days each week for a total of at least 75 or more minutes. Adults should also incorporate a progressive resistance training program for at least 2-3 days per week.(1)

The goal of cardiorespiratory training is to help you to lose body fat and to increase the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can consume (V02max). The goal of resistance training is to help you to maintain or build muscle, which results in an increase in stability and metabolism.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) estimates that for every pound lost, you lose 69% of body fat and 31% lean muscle mass with just losing weight through calorie restriction. With a good resistance training program and with proper nutrition, you can increase the amount of body fat lost for every pound to 97% and only lose 3% of your lean muscle mass. Even those adults who don’t tally up the number of minutes that ACSM recommends can still benefit from a regular training program

So the next time someone asks you what one of your New Year’s resolutions is, you can boldly reply, “I’m increasing my Muscle Quality”.

Note: Those with certain contraindications should consult with their doctor first before implementing any of the ACSM recommendations listed above.



(1) Garber, C E; Blissmer, B; Deschenes, M R et al. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2011;43(7)pp:1334-1359

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