Over the course of their fitness journey, they’ve managed to maintain a lean physique without significant fat gain, even progressing into their late 20s. They weren’t always lean, having had a chubbier phase before. As they began to focus on exercise, they shed some weight. However, with the onset of adulthood, finding time to exercise became challenging. Nevertheless, they’ve successfully kept their body fat low, crediting this to certain lifestyle habits that have proven effective for them. It’s important to note that these habits were beneficial for them personally and may not universally apply.

Here are the five lifestyle habits that have enabled them to keep their body fat percentage down as they’ve aged:

#1. Choose to Move as Much as Possible

In the hustle of daily life, it’s common for individuals to skip exercise, which is understandable. An hour-long workout isn’t necessary to burn calories; instead, incorporating Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) into one’s routine is key. This refers to the energy expended during everyday activities outside of structured exercise. It could be as simple as walking to the train station, taking the stairs, or choosing a hiking trip over social drinks. The goal is to stay active as often as possible throughout the day. Walking, for instance, is an effective, low-stress method to burn calories. They set a personal goal of reaching at least 10,000 steps daily, which initially seems daunting but is quite achievable with conscious effort. Even if 10,000 steps seem too much, starting with 6,000 steps is still beneficial. Gradual progress is encouraged, and research suggests that NEAT can lead to more energy expenditure than formal exercise. The commitment to move consistently is crucial.

#2. Prioritize Protein

Keeping a lean body also involves maintaining muscle mass. No one desires a physique that’s only low in fat yet lacks firmness. A simple strategy is to ensure protein is a central component of every meal. Studies indicate that 0.7–1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is adequate. They aim for 40-50 grams of protein per meal, totaling 140–160 grams daily, which they’ve found effective. Typical meals might include oats, protein, milk, grilled chicken with brown rice and vegetables, salmon with potatoes, and a protein shake as a snack. By focusing on protein-rich meals, they’ve been able to maintain muscle mass, keep body fat low, and feel full, which helps prevent overeating. This approach has been transformative for them.

#3. Conscious Eating

They used to frequently indulge in snacks and sweets but have since curbed those cravings. Snacks and sugary drinks can quickly add up in calories; for instance, a chocolate bar might have over a thousand calories, whereas watermelon has only 60 for the same weight. They’ve made conscious food swaps, like choosing Coke Zero over regular Coke or an apple over a chocolate bar. By opting for lower-calorie alternatives, it’s easier to maintain leanness.

#4. 80/20 Diet

The most effective diet is the one that suits an individual. They once believed a strict diet of white rice, steamed chicken, and broccoli was necessary, but experimentation showed flexibility was possible. They still enjoy treats like potato chips occasionally and still manage low body fat by adhering to an 80/20 diet rule. This means eating protein-focused meals 80% of the time and indulging moderately 20% of the time. Monitoring weight can help gauge if one is overeating or on track to reduce body fat.

#5. Prioritize Fun

Exercise should be enjoyable. There’s a variety of activities that can get one moving, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead of long runs or intense gym sessions, one could play basketball, go for a scenic hike, or even just enjoy a brief jog. The key is to find joy in these activities, which makes burning calories more pleasurable.

Tying It All Together

Ultimately, maintaining low body fat boils down to burning calories and reducing caloric intake, commonly achieved through exercise and diet. However, this doesn’t mean one needs to adhere to a strict regime or find extra time they don’t have. Small, enjoyable adjustments can make all the difference in losing fat and maintaining the desired physique.

In summary, to see results, one should:

  • Move as much as possible throughout the day
  • Include protein-dense foods in every meal
  • Make conscious, low-calorie food choices
  • Follow an 80/20 approach to diet
  • Ensure that activities are enjoyable

These steps are all that’s needed to effectively manage body fat.



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