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Increasing Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) for Fat Loss

Increasing Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) for Fat Loss

Are you getting the fat loss results that you want?

You’re probably aware that fat loss requires a caloric deficit. That’s less energy taken in than you expend each day, over a consistent period of time.

Simply put, for fat loss you need to eat less or move more.

If you’re eating right and training hard already, increasing your gym time or cutting calories further can be a daunting prospect.

Cutting back on food isn’t fun for you, or anyone around you for that matter (hangry, anyone?)

And increasing exercise intensity of frequency can limit the body’s ability to recover. In fact, overtraining without adequate recovery can lower testosterone and increase cortisol, which are associated with a loss of muscle and increase in body fat. That’s the opposite of what we’re aiming for(2).

But there’s a NEAT way to increase calorie expenditure without the blood sweat and tears.

Let me explain…

The energy you burn from moving each day can be divided into two categories:

Exercise Activity Thermogensis (EAT) is the energy expended from deliberately exercising. Think gym workouts, running, swimming, etc.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended from anything you do that’s not exercising or sleeping. Walking upstairs, mowing the lawn, making a cup of coffee or even fidgiting in your chair.

What people don’t often consider, is that NEAT makes up a lot more of your daily energy expenditure than the 1-hour gym workout you had.

One researcher hypothesised that two people of the same size can have a whopping 2000 calorie difference in NEAT each day, just from what they do when they’re not exercising(3).

While certain careers get this for free (think waiters, construction workers, personal trainers, or anyone on their feet all day), most of us don’t and are chained to our computers for extended periods of time.

So, increasing NEAT can be a fantastic way to increase daily energy expenditure. What’s more is that because it’s low intensity activity, it’s not going to negatively impact your recovery from your workouts.

5 Ideas to Increase NEAT

  • Take the stairs - perhaps not to the 50th floor, but if you’re getting out on 2nd or 3rd then there’s no excuse.
  • Go by bike or on foot where possible.
  • Drink coffee. Caffeine has been shown to increase calorie expenditure from both EAT and NEAT (1).
  • Do your chores. Remember your mum told you she’s been on her feet all day but not left the house? That’s why.
  • Walk or stand as much as possible. Phone call? Podcast? Catching up with a friend? Do it while walking instead of sitting.

References

Coleman, C., Shelton, R., Clark, K., Novak, C. and Heemstra, L., 2022. Caffeine Enhances Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis in Rats. [online] Open Access Kent State (OAKS). Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2022].

Healthline. 2022. Signs of Overtraining: 13 Tip-Offs and What to Do. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 March 2022].

Levine, J., 2004. Nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): environment and biology. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 286(5), pp.E675-E685.

George Armstrong Weekly Workout 6th March 2022
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