Building Muscle Tops 2023 Fitness Goals

Life Time’s annual health and wellness survey of more than 1,000 fitness enthusiasts found that building muscle topped weight loss as the primary focus for 2023, an increase of 10 percent from the 2022 survey and a change from “losing weight” as the typical New Year’s resolution. 

Life Time’s 2023 survey showed that 67 percent of respondents felt better about their health in 2022, having exercised more than in 2022 compared to 2021. 

Respondents noted the following top fitness goals for 2023: 

  • Building muscle, 32 percent 
  • Weight loss, 30 percent 
  • Moving more, 14.6 percent 
  • Eating better, 12.9 percent 
  • Improving mental health, 10.5 percent 

Respondents to the survey included members and non-members of health clubs who answered 12 questions about health, exercise habits, workouts, and other insights. For example, when it comes to having a great workout, nearly 60 percent of respondents said sporting new workout gear or feeling confident in what they wear during a workout makes a difference. The responses were split on the style of music they listen to, with .5 percent separating old school music, Metallica, Eminem and Salt-N-Pepa, (35.9 percent) from top 40 hits, Lizzo, Drake and Taylor Swift, (36.3 percent). Podcasts topped country music at nearly 16 percent compared to 13 percent.

“The benefits of building and maintaining muscle go far beyond defined arms, abs and legs. In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects of long-term health and longevity, so this finding is music to my ears,” said Anika Christ, senior director of fitness and nutrition and RD, CPT, Life Time. “More often than not, people get fixated on dropping pounds as their priority when the reality is building strength leads to weight loss, the ability to do more in our daily tasks, an improved mental state, and so much more.”

In looking at how respondents view their overall health since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the data showed that 51 percent felt their health was better in 2022 compared to 2021, an increase of 11 percent from 2021. At the end of 2020, nearly 70 percent of respondents said their personal health was negatively impacted by the effects of the pandemic. When asked about the top contributing factor for improved health, 67 percent of respondents said it was because they exercised more and took charge of their overall health.

2023 Fitness Goals
Not only did building muscle top the list of goals for 2023, but building muscle and weight training help burn fat which can lead to weight lose.

“It should come as no surprise that our personal health is our best defense in virtually every aspect of our lives. Everything from reducing the severity of viral infections and many other diseases to boosting our mental health and longevity can be improved with movement, exercise, good nutrition, and sleep,” Christ continued. 

For workout times, 56 percent said early morning workouts were when they got their “sweat on,” 18 percent said, “to heck with lunch,” and that it is their most enjoyable workout time, 16 percent said their happy hour is exercising post-workday, while over 10 percent are night owls.

Other key responses in the survey include:

  • 23.4 percent said Pilates is the workout they would like to try most in 2023;
  • 31 percent said they learn new exercises by watching what others do at their health club;
  • 53 percent said being overall healthy is their motivation for living a healthy lifestyle, while just .4 percent do because of social influences;
  • 52 percent said their workouts are an equal mix of cardio and strength training; and
  • 51 percent said they get an average of 5,000 to 10,000 daily steps, 23 percent get more than 10,000 and 27 percent get less than 5,000.

Lastly, 81 percent of respondents noted that summer and spring are the times of the year they felt in their best shape, with 7 percent saying winter. Not interested in waiting until summer to get in shape, check out Dawn Gorman Fitness for workouts, virtual sessions and athlete accountability.



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