Too often, we complain about not seeing progress according to the goals we set, despite working out and eating healthy. It has to be our slow metabolism, right? We don’t realize that a majority of the population who work out on a daily basis have a metabolism that is more or less the same, with the exception of very few cases with a faulty endocrine system.
Losing weight (primarily fat) or gaining muscle is all about calories in vs calories out. So even if we are counting calories and eating below our BMR as well as progressively overloading every workout, why aren’t we getting the desired results?
You can go to the gym, burn a bunch of calories by lifting weights and doing cardio. But the after burn or EPOC is relatively insignificant, and going to the gym for an hour might burn somewhere between 200 – 300 calories, which is good but it isn’t a ton.
This is where NEAT comes into play.
NEAT is the non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or the expenditure of energy through performance of ‘non exercise’ activities such as walking, fidgeting, cleaning, gardening etc.
NEAT can account anywhere between 300 calories to 2000 calories from one individual to another depending how sedentary or active they are throughout the day.
Our BMR (basal metabolic rate – the amount of energy required for our body at rest ) accounts for 60% of our daily energy requirements and 10-15% from TEF ( thermic energy of food – the amount of energy required to digest the food we consume ), while the rest of the energy depends on NEAT, which can go up to 50% of the individual’s expenditure depending on his activity level.
So if you notice you are nailing your workouts and nutrition and still not seeing the desired results, its time to take the NEAT approach.
Setting up an alarm every 1-2 hours for people with desk jobs to take a short break for a quick stroll instead of a coffee; parking your car as further away from your workplace are some of the simple steps you can take to become more active.
Unlike having to plan your entire day around your workout, NEAT just happens once we develop the habit to consciously move more.
Devices like FitBit, Garmin, not to forget our smart phones are becoming increasingly popular to help track every step we take throughout the day, to make sure we are hitting our daily NEAT goals.
Some practical applications:
– Ensure you hit 10,000 steps a day
– Go for a walk after every main meal
– In the break of your favorite show get up and stretch
– When on the phone, walk
– On your lunch break get out of the house
– Park far away from where you’re trying to go
– Take the stairs
If your goal is fat loss, be sure to make an effort to increase the amount of activity you do inside and outside the gym, make these things a habit and you will find fat loss is much easier.
The most exciting part being, it isn’t hard!
Article Credits – Lalitha Lakshman