If you’re trying to lose weight, burn fat, or maintain a healthy lean body, you need to know about NEAT: non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for.
You burn calories in 3 main ways:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR): calories burnt while at rest
- Thermic effect of food (TEF): calories burnt digesting, storing, and using food
- Physical activity: divided into exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) — calories burnt through movement
Today we’re not worried about BMR, TEF, or EAT. We’re focusing completely on NEAT – what it is and how to use it to lose weight and burn fat.
NEAT is any type of energy expenditure resulting from movement that’s not purposeful exercise. Think: walking to work, standing up from a seated position, bending down to pet your dog (or a stranger’s dog), and chewing gum.
How much does NEAT really matter?
A lot. In fact, you most likely burn more calories through NEAT than you do through EAT. Which means you should be equally concerned with your non-exercise activity levels as you are with working out!
It’s believed that people burn anywhere from 6% (extremely sedentary people), to 50%+ (extremely active people), of their daily calories through NEAT. Some super active people are able to burn 2,000 calories per day without setting food in a gym. And remember, that’s on top of BMR, TEF, and EAT.
Ok Kails, how do I do it?
That’s easy! MOVE MORE. Studies have shown that even the simplest things (chewing gum, standing instead of sitting, tapping your feet, etc.) add up. Some simple things you can do today to increase your NEAT include:
- Ditch the car: Walk to work. Walk to the store. Walk with your friends. Walk during meetings. Walk while on the phone. Walking is one of the best ways to up your calorie expenditure.
- Stand up: If you’re able, sit instead of lie. Better yet, stand instead of sit. Even better, walk instead of stand.
- Bounce: When you’re standing, while cooking/working/talking on the phone/waiting in line, bounce on your feet a little bit. Switch it up and bounce on one foot at a time or perform calf raises or squats.
- Fidget: A lot. Move your hands. Move your feet. Dance in your seat. Tap your pen. Play with your hair. Just keep on moving your body.
- Exaggerate everyday movements: When you bend to get a pan out of the cupboard, try to do so with perfect squat form. When you reach to get something off the top shelf, add a little hop. When you get out of bed in the morning, perform 10 jumping jacks and stretch your arms far above your head.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the key is to never stop moving. A body in motion is a body that’s burning cals.
Even on days you’re too busy to make it to the gym, you can still scorch fat and calories if you’re intentional about your movements — now that’s neat!
Positive vibes friends,