How you can burn extra calories and fat with NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis)
NEAT can basically be defined as the energy you expend for all the things you do moving throughout the day that doesn’t include your actual workout or other type of structured type of exercise. It can be going for a walk, walking your dog, cleaning your house, taking the stairs at work and a host of other types of movements.
These types of calories being used or burned have gained more and more popularity lately with the use of fit bits and other calorie tracking devices that are available to wear. It gives people a chance to see generally (no calorie tracking device is exact) how many calories they are burning throughout the day. These types of calories can really add up throughout the day if someone is really active throughout the day and they can contribute to a significant amount of extra calorie burn.
Years ago, I never used to think of these extra calories being burned as significant. When clients went on vacation and they told me they didn’t do any workouts but they walked a lot I didn’t think of it as doing much for them. I thought, “yeah that’s great but it isn’t the same as going to the gym and training”.
About 8 years ago I moved back to the Chicago area from Las Vegas to be closer to family and decided to try to do my training business there. It wasn’t working out the way I wanted and I decided to take a break from my training business to go into another field of work (the only time in my life I hadn’t worked as a personal trainer and strength coach). I had a hard time finding work and was unemployed for 4 to 5 months. Even though I was still going to the gym I realized I was gaining some weight by not moving around much. I eventually got a job selling beer for a Budweiser distributorship. I started working in the beginning of the summer, the busiest time for beer sales in the Chicago area. Part of my job entailed filling the shelves of all my accounts, building displays and hustling between each of my accounts. Within a few months I dropped the extra weight I had put on. I guess I didn’t realize how much physical activity I was doing and how much it was adding up (each case of beer weighs roughly 20 lbs.). That is a lot of extra lifting and calorie burning. This helped me change my stance on the importance of NEAT and getting enough of it on top of your regular structured, gym workouts.
Hiking can be a great form of NEAT
So how can you incorporate NEAT into your own workouts to not just lose any extra weight (you may not need to lose any weight at all) but to help improve your fitness level? I think the best bet is to pick one form of NEAT to do each day and stick with it. It can be taking your dog for an extra 10 minute walk each day. It can be going for a walk around the block after dinner. If you have a desk job working on a computer it can be as simple as buying a standing desk and working from that instead of a seated desk. You can take the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator. Instead of circling the parking lot looking for the closest park spot you can choose a spot far away each time. It doesn’t take much for it to add up. Now this extra calorie burn won’t show up right away. It may take months for it to start to show but if you are consistent with it it will slowly add up.
Once that new form of NEAT becomes a habit you can add in another type of NEAT to add into your regular routine. If you think about it like this, as little as 100 calories a day translates to around 10 pounds of fat lost over the course of the year. If you add in another 100 calories that comes out to 20 lbs of fat lost over the year. This assumes of course all other things in your life remain the same such as your regular workouts, nutrition, sleep, etc.
Try adding in a form of NEAT that fits your schedule and see how it works out for you. I think you will be pleased with the benefits over the long term.
If anyone has any questions or is interested in personal fitness training or sports performance training reach out to me via email: Dan@eidensfitness.com