Why you should think NEAT

 

150909-walking-stockMany people in our society have jobs where they are sitting at a desk for almost their entire shift. Even those who are moving a lot (nurses, doctors etc.) are also very inactive outside of their jobs. Although I believe that it is becoming common for people to have gym memberships (especially among younger generations) because of the amount of data we have surrounding the obesity epidemic, there is still a lot of bad information being spread. Things like lowering calories below 1,000 and going on these “fad diets” that involve “detox” teas that are filled with laxatives. Granted, these things will make you lose weight. But in the process, you will be losing muscle, therefore damaging your metabolism.

So how can we combat this you might ask? The obvious answers are eating minimally processed foods that nourish the body, and a resistance training program that can help you gain strength, stability, and lean muscle. But there is also a little thing called NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) that can be a game changer for losing body fat, and staying relatively lean year-round.

NEAT is basically anything you’re doing throughout the day that involves your body moving without having the intention to “exercise”. Things like walking, cleaning, typing, yard work and even the smallest of movements like fidgeting. Basically, anything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or any sort of exercise or sports based activity can fall into the NEAT category. An easy way to increase our expended calories is by simply moving more. People who don’t move much throughout the day, and don’t have a workout routine, typically eat a surplus of calories, leading to body fat gain over time. Those who don’t move much throughout the day, but still workout and STILL have a hard time losing body fat should consider the following: the average calories burned for an hour of INTENTIONAL exercise is about 328 calories per 100 lbs. of body weight. (This is just an estimate and can vary based on lean mass and metabolism.) When you put things into perspective, 2 Krispy Kreme donuts is 380 calories. This means that just because you work out, doesn’t mean you can overeat on calories regularly. This also means that you can do things throughout the day to increase your NEAT activity.

Doing things like:
-Parking further away at work-If you can, take the meeting outside and walk
-Body weight squats/push-ups in between meetings/calls
-Stretching
-Taking the stairs 
-Simply standing instead of sitting
-Cleaning things more often

All of these can increase your daily surplus of expended calories, and over time this will add up. Add this to an already well programmed resistance training program, and you put yourself in a position to stay lean year-round. Instead of using fad dieting and high amounts of cardio to lose weight, instead shift your focus to resistance training to build muscle, and moving more throughout the day to get a greater caloric output throughout. More movement = more fat loss over the long haul!

NEAT Studies:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15102614
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/

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