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  • Writer's pictureZac Zuspann

That's "NEAT" - The Importance of Movement OUTSIDE the Gym for Body Composition

Updated: Feb 7


Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that does not include sleeping, eating, or exercise; and ranges from simple things like standing and fidgeting to moving about.


 

Why is NEAT so important?


These pictures illustrate how your body burns energy. Stay with me. Everything will tie together to blow your mind!





 

**The graphics above offer incredible, mind blowing knowledge. **


Let's break it down...


The pictures above breakdown how your body burns calories (energy)

  • 70% of Calories burned each day is your Base Metabolic rate (BMR) - resting human functions

  • 15% of Calories burned each day is from your Non Exercise Activity Thermal (NEAT) - all activity that is not exercise

  • 10% of calories burned each is from the Thermic Effect of Food - (TEF) energy used to digest food

  • 5% of calories burned each day is from Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT) Energy burned exercising - yes 5% (this could be little bit higher for some)

What are some things that pop into your brain as you read that?


What does that mean becomes of utmost importance when reaching healthy body composition goals?


Is this different than what you thought?


Why "NEAT" matters so much.


It provides a key "step" to staying lean for life


Let's review so it sinks in!

  • 70% of Calories burned each day is your Base Metabolic rate

  • 15% of Calories burned each day is from your Non Exercise Activity Thermal (NEAT) - all activity that is not exercise

  • 10% of calories burned each is from the Thermic Effect of Food - (TEF) energy used to digest food

  • 5% of calories burned each day is from Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT) Energy burned exercising - yes 5% (this could be little bit higher for some)

 

What does that mean your quest to stay get lean and stay lean?


Take home points

  • Staying Active throughout the day is VITAL. Calories burned by activity OUTSIDE of exercise is triple that of calories burned during exercise. This would explain why some desk sitters who workout 6x weekly are far less fit than the UPS driver. Simply doing the math explains this one. If you were a super consistent exerciser at 7 hours weekly, this would still leave 105 hours per week of non-exercise time assuming 8 hours of sleep. 105 hours vs. 7 hours! Do your best to stand rather than sit. Take walks throughout the day. Take the stairs. Park at the edge of the parking lot. All of these small things add up BIG TIME!


  • You cannot "out exercise" a bad diet if you wish to make body composition progress or simply burn away consistent poor eating with more or harder workouts. Yes, some have it easier than others. Many factors such as age, gender, genetics, and body type play a role in speed of progress, but the fact remains PROGRESS IN BODY COMPOSITION IS ACHIEVED PRIMARILY THROUGH DIET/NUTRITION AND INCREASING YOUR BASE METABOLIC RATE.


  • Speaking of base metabolic rate... The type of training you do matters. I am an exercise agnostic, meaning that I believe you should do what you love for exercise as long as you are moving. I know people can achieve amazing results with zumba, running, yoga, etc, BUT strength training is the most effective method to provide long term success with body composition. This is because strength training has proven to have the greatest impact on your Base Metabolic Rate. "Cardio" may burn more calories in the moment and may give you the feeling that you "burned fat" but as the chart shows this means almost nothing in the long term. Lift weights and work at getting stronger! THE MORE MUSCLE YOU HAVE, THE MORE CALORIES YOU BURN AT REST AND THIS IS HUGE FOR LONG TERM BODY COMPOSITION.


 



Boost Your Daily Activity with NEAT: Simple Tips for Busy Adults


In our fast-paced lives, finding time for structured exercise can be a challenge. However, incorporating Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) into your routine offers a practical solution. NEAT encompasses all the calories you burn through daily activities, excluding structured workouts. Here are some creative and simple ways for busy adults to increase NEAT and promote overall well-being.


1. Deskercise Breaks:

Schedule short breaks during your workday for simple exercises like stretching, seated leg lifts, or quick walks around the office. These brief moments can add up, enhancing your NEAT without disrupting your workflow.


2. Take the Stairs:

Opt for stairs instead of elevators whenever possible. It's an easy way to sneak in extra movement that benefits both cardiovascular health and NEAT.


3. Walking Meetings:

Transform sit-down meetings into walking meetings. Discussing work while strolling not only increases NEAT but also fosters creativity and a refreshing change of environment.


4. Park Farther Away:

Purposefully park your car farther away from your destination. This simple act adds extra steps to your day and contributes to increased NEAT.


5. Use a Standing Desk:

Consider investing in a standing desk to reduce prolonged periods of sitting. Alternate between sitting and standing to keep your body engaged throughout the day.


6. Active Commuting:

If possible, bike or walk to work. If the distance is too far, consider parking a bit away and finishing your commute on foot. It's a great way to incorporate NEAT without dedicating extra time.


7. Household Chores:

Turn routine chores into mini-workouts. Vacuuming, sweeping, and gardening all contribute to increased NEAT, making household tasks a double win.


8. Lunchtime Walks:

Instead of eating at your desk, use your lunch break to take a brisk walk. Not only does this contribute to your NEAT, but it also helps clear your mind for the afternoon ahead.


9. Active Hobbies:

Choose hobbies that involve movement, such as dancing, hiking, or playing a sport. These activities not only boost NEAT but also make staying active an enjoyable part of your routine.


10. Set Reminders:

Use phone alarms or reminders to prompt you to stand up and move every hour. Even a brief stretch or walk around the room can make a significant difference in your NEAT levels.


Incorporating these simple and creative strategies into your daily routine can lead to a noticeable increase in Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. By making movement a natural part of your day, you'll not only improve your overall health but also discover that staying active doesn't always require a structured workout.


It boils down to this...


Keep moving through the day! Find ways to get in more steps and keep your body in motion as much as possible.


Eat real, nutrient dense food in amounts that support your goals - Lift weights with quality and the intention to improve and do not be afraid of getting "bulky" (total myth) -


If you want to dig in - this article is INCREDIBLE!

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