Body Mass (BMI) or Muscle Mass: Which Is More Important for a Long, Healthy Life?

Jan building muscle mass with Abstract Bodyworks

Jan, age 64, is using the Abstract Bodyworks program to increase muscle mass. She is able to work out in her street clothes.

Americans are obsessed with the notion that they need to be thin to be healthy.  Stores are filled with “diet” foods, reduced fat and sugar free options that suggest if we eat them, we will be healthy.  Print and television ads overwhelmingly show thin people, implying that you must be thin to be healthy.

The fitness industry has focused on losing fat for decades.  From P90X to Zumba to the Insanity Workout, we are bombarded with exercise programs that tell us we have to “get shredded,” suffer pain and deprive ourselves to become fit and healthy.

While healthcare professionals typically do not promote such extreme views, their primary tool for measuring fitness is your body mass index, or BMI.  Your BMI is the percentage of body fat based on your weight and height.  The assumption is that by lowering your body fat and maintaining a optimal BMI, you will become healthier and live a longer life.

However, an increasing body of research shows that instead of focusing on lowering body fat, we should be more concerned with building muscle mass and bone strength.

A recent study by the University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences concluded that “the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely.”1  Even in dialysis patients, higher muscle mass has been linked to better physical function and a better quality of life.2  In other words, becoming stronger is a key factor in living a longer, healthier life.

We are not suggesting that obesity is not a serious medical issue.  Carrying large amounts of excess weight can create stress and damage to a number of your body’s systems, such as your heart, lungs, liver and joints.  Maintaining a sensible diet and keeping physically active are a good goals too!  In fact, many of our clients lose weight and inches by participating in our program as a side effect of becoming stronger.  But all things being equal, building muscle mass and bone strength are a more important goal.

To put it bluntly, you can be lean and frail or fat and frail, but you cannot be strong and frail.  We focus too much on people being fat.  To live long, healthy lives, we need to focus on people being strong.

At Abstract Bodyworks, our philosophy is that strong muscles and strong bones are the foundation of a strong body.  Instead of spending hours at the gym doing long, grueling workouts, we offer proper exercises specifically designed to increase muscle mass and bone strength.  Our exercise programs only take 15 minutes, once or twice a week to complete, and you can do them in your street clothes.  You will receive one-on-one, private attention from one of our trained, professional instructors whose goal is to help you maximize the effectiveness of the exercises — not to pressure you into losing weight, getting ripped, or having 6-pack abs.

We invite you find out the difference Abstract Bodyworks can make for yourself.  Call us or fill out our online form and receive your free, 2 Session Trial.  Let us show you how 15 minutes a week can change your life.

1 Older adults: Build muscle and you’ll live longer (

2 Higher muscle mass linked with better physical function, qualify of life in dialysis patients (

Abstract Newbury a Gem!!

Just got back from a wonderful visit to our first International Partner in Newbury, England. I have to say what a perfect trip! Stephen and Pat McKinnon are the perfect Abstract owners and have brought the Abstract philosophy of living younger in as little as 15 minutes to the U.K. with absolute precision. Not only is the equipment kit (England speak for equipment package) very close to all of our Abstract studios but their training is caring and precise. The Newbury clients I had the pleasure of meeting and training, are loving how quickly they are seeing changes and doing so in just minutes a week. Pat and Stephen have a knack for bringing out the best in their clients. They are training them with the proper techniques and always with their clients needs in mind. In fact, while I was there we had a number of chats (again England speak for talking with a client) to really go over their needs. The staff at Abstract Newbury really understands that it is about the client that makes a difference not about Abstract. Very heart warming to watch and see the Abstract philosophy being done so well. Pat and Stephen are the perfect Abstract ambassadors. Understanding, caring and compassionate.

So to say my trip was a success is to say the least. I was overjoyed to see what Stephen and Pat have done and how well it is being received in the U.K. I would be very happy to send any of my clients over to them and it would seem almost seamless. So if you are planning a trip accross the pond or you live in the U.K. and want to start living YOUNGER, please stop by for a training session with Pat or Stephen in Newbury!  Oh I almost forgot, I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting and certifying the newest Abstract staff memeber and part of the Abstract family, Ian Lay. Ian is a perfect fit for Abstract. He is a retired police officer with the right stuff to help Abstract clients reach their goals. What really makes Ian unique is how quickly he got it. In other words, even though skeptical that 15 minutes can really do the job, Ian came in and started a training program with an open mind. Now after months of training and study under his belt he is ready to take on this new career and passion with gusto.  Passing his certification with flying colors, Ian is on his way to helping others reach new hieghts in physical strength and helping them understand that it isn't about how much exercise you get but the quality of it. Good luck Ian and you are doing a great job!!


New Year Hype- not about how much EXERCISE but the QUALITY

Here we are again at the first of the New Year!  2014 already. Man I'm getting old!  Nice thing though is I'm not growing old. In fact so far this year I am using more resistance on my workout then I was last year at this time. Not alot mind you but still more. This brings me to my next topic. We at Abstract help our clients live younger, leaner and stronger in as little as 15 minutes a week. I know that's hard to get your mind around but that is what we do. Over the last 15 years we have helped hundreds of them live better with stronger bones, reversal of Type II Diabetes and more lean muscle.Your YOUTH is defined by your STRENGTH!  The problem becomes one of not how much time per workout but one of consistency also.

Yes many of us at the start of a new year, decide to "get in shape" (whatever that really means) and join a gym or training studio with great gusto. Many of these people go into there gym of choice 4-6 days a week spending 45-90 minutes a time in pursuit of there health goals. Then over the next 30-60 days things start to happen!  All of a sudden they find that all this time spent exercising hasn't really brought much change and life is also starting to get in the way. The realisation of how much time spent in the club away from family and those important parts of life begins to take it's toll. If all this time and effort is spent for very little return then what's the point?  They finally say to themselves that enough is enough and stop going to their exercise program altogether. They fade back to the life they had before, saying to themselves that it just isn't worth it or I just can't seem to change. Sound familiar?

How would it be, if not only can you reach your specific goals you want to achieve but do so in just minutes a week, training in your everyday clothes? Yes it can be done. The body changes do to stimulus not work or how much exercise you do. At Abstract we design your program around what you want out of it and then make sure you are progressing safley and efficiently. Every workout is supervised and is designed to cause change. No hit or miss or hoping you are doing the right thing. Your body then responds at rest. That's right, your changes are do to rest as much as do to the exercise!  In fact all exercise is bad for you it is the RESPONSE to the exercise you are after and that happens away from the gym, at REST!!

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Coming Soon to an Abstract near YOU!!


Proper exercise will help you live younger with more muscle and stronger bones!

I wanted to take a little bit of time and intro a new program for Abstract Exercise. As you all know well our mission at Abstract is to help our clients live at least 15 years younger in as little as 15 minutes a week. How is this possible? Through proper exercise and instruction many of our clients have dropped inches and added lean muscle in just weeks.  Our program is not based on work but the right amount of effort to demand change from every exercise session.  How would a 13-18 lb. fat loss and an increase of 3 lbs. of lean muscle in just minutes a week affect your life? What these changes do is effectively make you a fat burner not a fat producer.

Now the kicker!!  We are very excited with the results from our new Abstract Build Bone Now program.  If YOUR mission is to live young then you need more then strong muscles and a lean body, YOU need strong bones!! Remember you can be LEAN and FRAIL, FAT and FRAIL but you can not be STRONG and FRAIL!  Our new Build Bone Now program is designed to add 6-10% bone strength to your bones in just 6 months.  This is like taking 10 years off your age.  This will transform the way you will live your life and help rewind your aging clock.  How would living your life without the fear of a bone fracture and also feeling young and confident  into your 80’s be?   Live Strong and Live Young!!

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