What is NEAT and why is it important

What is NEAT and why is it important

We have covered how balancing calories in, and calories out is essential to weight maintenance. To lose weight, we must enter a calorie deficit and consume less calories than you output. Our bodies burn calories naturally because we burn calories when we use energy, predominantly through movement.

When we associate movement with weight sustainability or weight loss, it’s a common perception that a gruelling HIIT class is the only way to burn these calories and this can lead to people turning away from a changing their lifestyle because they feel the only way to lose fat is through this method. Yes, a HIIT class will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, but there are small changes to your lifestyle that can contribute to your fitness goals.

This is where NEAT comes into play. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – this relates to all the physical activity you do throughout the day that wouldn’t be considered as conventional exercise. Implementing some changes to your lifestyle can therefore increases NEAT as a simple way to lose weight.

Activities related to NEAT include:

  • Cleaning
  • Walking
  • Cooking
  • Household Chores
  • Gardening
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Commuting


All the above activities require physical movement and will therefore burn calories. Now, can you think of ways in which you can improve your daily NEAT to increase the amount of calories you burn? Do you choose to drive to work instead of work if you commute is small? Do you refrain from cleaning the house if someone else will do it? Do you choose to take the lift instead of the stairs if an option? Do you have an empty garden that needs some work? These are all lifestyle tasks that can be taken out by yourself throughout the day and can play a small yet effective part in your fitness journey.

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