Three NEAT Ways to Burn More Calories: The Missing Piece of the Fat Loss Puzzle
Today I am going to share with you a neat idea that will help you expend MORE calories on a daily basis.
It can be the difference between sustainable fat loss & no shift in weight at all.
Although the hierarchy of fat loss starts with diet (controlling calorie/energy intake), I want to touch on an important component that makes up calorie expenditure. And no, it’s not training related — burning calories doesn’t just happen through scheduled training sessions, although imperative for raising metabolism, preserving muscle & torching serious amounts of fat.
The component I want to talk about is often a forgotten piece of the fat loss puzzle, yet the easiest approach to take & only requires a few small changes to your daily routine.
It is not only realistic, cost-effective, & simple,it also can be incorporated into your life in so many ways, making it a very sustainable & healthy way to live in addition to vigorous training & eating right.
Can you guess what it is?
I’ll give you a hint…I already mentioned it in the first sentence!
Got it? Not sure?
The answer is….. N.E.A.T. — Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT to keep it simple). NEAT encompasses things that burn energy (thermogenesis) that we would normally perform on a daily basis.
This is the unplanned (or unstructured) low-intensity physical activity that we engage in such as walking around, standing up, doing house/yard work, washing dishes, fidgeting, playing with your kids etc. — basically anything that is thought to be seemingly unimportant when it comes to fat loss.
Now although these activities may seem insignificant or minor at first glance, but over the course of the day it can cumulatively add up. If done right, it can only complement any fat loss measure you already have in place by increasing your energy expenditure.
If we look at energy expenditure,it is accounted for through four mechanisms:
Resting/Basal Metabolic Rate (RMR/BMR) – energy required for body maintenance & being alive, keeps your body functioning, including breathing & keeping your heart beating (~60%) (more muscle will boost this)
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – energy it takes to digest, absorb & store food (~15%, protein is higher & can be up to 30%)
Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) – energy used during training (based on weight, gender, type & level of activity)
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – energy used in daily movement (which can account for as little as 15% in the very sedentary and up to 50% in very active individuals)
So how do you take advantage of the NEAT calorie-burning benefit?
Quite easily actually. It involves taking advantage of opportunities to incorporate more MOVEMENT into your day.
To amplify NEAT, MOVEMENT is KEY.
So now, I want to show you how you ramp up your NEAT with these very neat ways.
1. Examine your NEAT with an Activity Journal
Alright so we all have 168 hours a week (that’s a fact). Take away 49 hours for sleep (remember minimum 7hrs/night if you are serious about body transformation) and let’s say you workout fives times a week for an hour.
You still have 114 hours (68%) of the week you are not in the gym!
What are you doing with those waking hours?
Let’s find out.
I want you to keep an activity journal for the next few days. You may want to maintain your activity online, your phone or in paper form. Start with tracking half hour intervals & categorise whether you are:
You may also want to note what you were doing at the time, where you were & how you felt. By keeping an activity journal for a few days, you can build up an accurate picture of what you do during the day.
This can be an eye opening experience, so I encourage you to try this.
2. Increase your NEAT Steps
The next thing I want you to record is to start counting the amount of steps you take each day.
I am not asking you to count your steps one by one, that would be ridiculous! All you need is a pedometer of some sort. Whether you purchase a basic one from a sports store (old fashioned way) or go for the modern approach by downloading an app on your phone (‘Get Moving’, ‘Move More’). Or for those more into gadgets, there are plenty on the market (FitBit, Garmin Vivosmart, Jawbone UP wristband, IFit Active, Apple Watch to name a few).
Doesn’t matter how, just measure those steps.
Now an average person (without exercising) will move around 5,000 steps a day. Once you find out your steps. I want you to start aiming for 10,000 steps a day or more.
Well done, if this is already the case! Keep walking proudly.
But if you are nowhere near this, how do you do it?
It’s quite simple, really. By factoring in small incremental daily walks on top of what you normally do, you could add another 3,000-5,000 steps a day quite easily! Just think that could add up to 21,000 – 35,000 steps a week! An extra five minutes six times a day whether it be here & there is all it really takes.
- -Park at the far end of a car park & walk to work or shops
- -Get off the bus or train a few stops earlier
- -Take periodic desk breaks – for every hour take a 10-15min activity break (try the app ‘Break Time’)
- -If you like reading, perhaps try downloading an audiobook or podcast & walk
- -Try the ‘Walk & Talk’ method when on the phone
- -Take the longer stroll through the shops
- -Skip the escalator & walk up the stairs (this old adage still rings true)
- -Record your study materials or research information on phone or iPod & take a walk
- -Take the dog for more/longer walks, if you don’t have one ask your neighbours
- -Take a 15 minute stroll during your lunch break before you eat (also clears the mind)
- -Ask a friend or colleague to join you on your scheduled breaks (This can help you stick to your schedule)
Pick one or two things from the list & start now. You will thank me later!
3. Build a NEAT list
For every NEAT idea you can come up with, I want you to add it to a list. Here, I have already stated it for you:
- -Stand instead of sitting in when you can (at work, waiting or reception areas etc)
- -Ditch the car and ride to work
- -Play more with your kids
- -Volunteer at your kids sports training & events
- -Carry your groceries in basket rather than use a trolley
- -Turn up your fidget factor (Make sure your fidgeting is appropriate for the situation and doesn’t distract you or other people)
- -Do some house/yard work
- -Cut screen time in half & avoid being a couch potato
- -NEVER go from dinner table to the couch (spend at least 20-30min immediately following dinner to be on your feet & moving around, heck dance if you want)
- -The next time you meet up with friends, do something active instead of sitting at a bar or cafe.
. Start adding to the list!
By adding these NEAT activities as well as using a cutting edge nutrition & training plan (like you can do here at The Body Consultants), you can guarantee that you are setting yourself up for Body transformation success & results.
Understand that fitness & health begins with movement throughout your daily life, not just an assigned hour to train once a day followed by sitting on your butt the next 10 hours.
Now get moving!
If you want to get started with a NEAT plan fill in the box below and one of the team will be in touch.
Dave ‘Mr Neat’ Buck