If you’ve worked your way down to 15% body fat, you’re already working out regularly, probably counting your macros and meal prepping, and eating pretty damn clean. But here's the primary downside of shedding body fat: The lower your body fat percentage gets, the harder it becomes to lose just 1–2% more.
“Once you hit 15% body fat, shedding any more fat is all about finesse,” says Jim White, R.D., an ACSM exercise physiologist and the owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, VA.
So if you're aiming to get down to 10% body fat (or lower), it’s time to eat and train like an athlete. At a higher body fat, you need to focus more on nutrition. Now, though, everything centers around your workouts—namely, building muscle. “The closer you get to having low body fat, the more impact muscle mass will have on improving your composition,” says Joe Holder, a performance trainer at S10 gym (named for sub-10% body fat, mind you), Nike trainer/run coach, and founder of The Ocho System.
But you need to be as committed as an athlete now, too. “You have to remember how small of a population has 10% body fat. It’s bodybuilders, fitness competitors, athletes. You have to be willing to do what others aren’t,” White adds.