What if I told you that simple daily movements like walking and taking the stairs could be the missing puzzle piece to restoring your metabolism, increasing your energy level, and losing weight?
This simple movement is called NEAT.
That’s short for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
It’s simple—NEAT is any movement that your body performs. Walking, standing up, sitting down, running errands, emptying the dishwasher, taking a shower, getting in and out of the car, moving around your office, twitching, fidgeting, sneezing… you get the picture.
All of this movement requires energy. Where does the energy come from? From the food that you eat and the fat that is stored on your body.
This makes up your daily total daily energy expenditure—that’s the total amount of energy used throughout the day.
Here are the 4 ways your body expends that energy:
(Click here to see a Graphic about how NEAT works)
Resting Metabolic Rate (R.M.R.)
This is the energy our body expends every day just to be alive. The human body has hundreds of systems and processes that automatically run throughout the day and best believe, they require energy. Everyone’s resting metabolic rate is unique to them, and things like height, weight, gender, and age impact your RMR.
RMR attributes to the biggest percentage of your daily energy expenditure.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.)
This is the energy our body expends every time we move.
NEAT makes up the second biggest percentage of our daily energy expenditure. (ONLY IF WE MOVE OUR BODIES!)
This is the energy our body expends when we perform intentional exercise such as a HIIT workout or Peloton cycle session.
Exercise attributes to a small percentage of our daily energy expenditure.
Thermal Effect of Food (T.E.F.)
This is the energy our body expends when we eat and digest food.
TEF attributes to a small percentage of our daily energy expenditure.
I don’t know about you, but the work-from-home lifestyle has put a halt on my client’s activity levels.
For many of them, their NEAT activity became non-existent in throws of COVID-19. Yes, clients would go for a walk each day, but that was it.
There was no other movement—no getting in and out of the car, going into a store or a restaurant, no kid’s sporting events, nothing.
Zip, zero, zilch.
Here are the facts: when your NEAT slows down, you expend fewer calories for energy. As you continue eating the same amount and moving less, your body will store the excess calories as fat.
In addition, this lack of movement can cause a cascade of hormonal issues like lack of energy, both lack and excess sleep, fatigue, anxiety, insatiable food cravings, and much more. Been there, done that, and don’t want to go back.
So you’re probably asking yourself, “how do I increase my NEAT?”
Now that we know the pivotal role NEAT can play in restoring our metabolism, increasing our energy levels, and losing weight rather than storing it, let’s talk about how we can improve it.
Here are three simple ways to kick up your NEAT activity.
Track Your Steps
Fit Bits, Apple watches, and even free apps on your smartphone do a great job of tracking your daily step count. Start tracking to see what your average daily step count is. From there, set a goal to increase it each week. Start where you are and build upon your foundation each week.
Practice “Exercise Snacking”
What’s exercise snacking you ask? Take short breaks from your work or school, and instead of having a food snack, have an exercise snack. One of my favorites is 20 squats, 10 push-ups, and 10 mountain climbers. It takes less than 5 minutes and boosts energy levels through the roof. Choose an exercise that works for you and snack on it a few times per day.
Walk around instead of sitting or standing in one place any time you can. Want to listen to your favorite podcast? Pop it on and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Sitting at your kid’s soccer practice? Walk the perimeter of the field while you watch them. There are plenty of simple ways to get some walking in every day.
If you don’t have the convenience of getting extra time to walk, use standing as another means for staying active.
There you have it—one of the secrets to burning the extra bit of fat you’ve been trying to get rid of.
Before you go…
I also drop tips like these on my Instagram–which is right here.
And one more thing…
If you really liked this article, share it with a friend!
Until next week…