Keeping it NEAT and tidy
NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the energy expended for all our daily activities that are not eating, sleeping or exercising. This includes walking to the fridge, typing and fidgeting at your desk, cooking, cleaning, gardening and basically anything that requires effort. This combined with TEF (thermic effect of food), your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and EAT (exercise activated thermogenesis) make up your TDEE or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. As you can see, the more calories you burn as part of any of those factors, the more total calories your body requires on a daily basis.
By now we all know, to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit and to gain weight you need to be in a calorie surplus. If losing weight is your primary goal and reason for exercising, then NEAT is an essential component to reaching that objective. Think about it this way, you could either drop your carbs by 50g (equalling 200 calories) or you could get up and move around more, reach that 10 000 step goal each day, take the stairs instead of the lifts at work, park further away from the gym, walk around while on your phone instead of sitting at your desk or simply get up from your computer every 30 minutes and walk to grab a glass of water instead of taking away your rice at dinner or your post workout jelly babies. Which would you rather do to get into a bigger deficit?
I thought so.
All your daily tasks’ energy requirements add up and before you know it, you’ll be adding 200, 300, even 500 calories to your TDEE which adds up to a staggering 2000-3000 calories extra per week. In terms of energy, 1 pound or 0,45kg of fat is roughly 3000 calories of stored energy.
If you have a fitness tracker, set your daily step goal to 10k per day and see how many more calories you burn hitting that goal compared to a lazy Sunday where your total steps barely reach 2k. The difference is huge.
One of the first sections of questions I ask new clients refers to daily activity which gives me a decent idea of how many extra calories they are burning every day. When someone seems quite sedentary and works an office job for example, I make one of their weekly goals to not go to the bathroom or get coffee on their floor as well as taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. As much of a mission as this sounds, their weekly calories needs increase dramatically which results in them being able to firstly eat more, secondly not have to worry about adding cardio to their daily training routine and their energy levels throughout the day always reflect positively because of the benefits of increased blood circulation throughout the body.
A famous bodybuilding coach, the late Matt Porter, reported that in his most successful contest preps and the ones that seemingly went along the smoothest, were preps he undertook while working more physically demanding day jobs as well as ones that he tracked his daily steps to reach at least 12k per day. Funnily he enough, he also stated that in these preps he was able to get leaner without worrying about dropping calories too drastically too quickly, as well as not doing exorbitant amounts of cardio on a daily basis. He simply made sure he was not sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time and moved around more.
When we are trying to lose fat, we always overcomplicate things. “surely it can’t be that simple”, Whereas in actual fact, yes it can be. Move more, do more, be more active. Your body will thank you by not only feeling better and recovering better thanks to the other processes that moving more and sitting less provide, but you will also reach your goals far more easily and be much more proficient in getting there.
Dublin Strength Coach
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