Physiologically, the higher your number, the easier it is to lose body fat. “You have a bigger load on your muscles during a workout so you’ll burn more calories compared to someone more fit,” explains celebrity trainer Lalo Fuentes, CSCS. “Plus, a drastic change of a diet will impact your health and body weight considerably more than those who already have a healthier diet.”
But psychologically, it’s not so easy. “At a lower body fat, you’ve already broken a lot of bad habits and formed most of the key healthy ones,” explains Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach. “At 20%, you’re more likely to indulge in emotional eating or overeating—so your biggest focus is accountability and routine.”
Like we said, 20% body fat average. So what does average look like day-to-day? To maintain 20%, you’re probably eating and drinking in moderation and working out two times per week—less than you should be, Fuentes says.
Want to be more disciplined—and more cut—than average? Here’s what you need to do.