What’s so Neat about NEAT?

What’s so Neat about NEAT?
-Rachel Hibbs

Let’s talk about NEAT.

It’s a pretty cool topic, and I really love helping people with it!  

What’s so NEAT about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, you may ask? (See what I did there?!)

Well, let’s dive in.

NEAT is the energy expended for everything we do when we’re not sleeping or exercising (hence the “non-exercise”).

Here are a few examples of NEAT:

-walking in the grocery store
-chasing after your kids
-mowing the lawn
-doing the laundry
-walking a flight of stairs to get to your office
-the 5 trips you take to the water fountain (or coffee machine)
-the fidgeting at your desk when you are bored
-the walk you take with your pups

You know… all of your activity outside of the actual gym!

All of these things burn calories, and probably more than you would expect!

Many people are totally overlooking the power of NEAT. There is no doubt that getting a good sweat in at the box and lifting some heavy weights is a great way to burn calories, but you probably don’t realize that the calories burned with the accumulation of all of those small activities outside of exercise would significantly outdo the calories you burned in the hour you spent at the gym.

Hey… that’s pretty… NEAT!

Focusing solely on the energy you use while exercising is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to improve physical health. Exercise will never make up for the energy you could be expending living an active lifestyle.

Our jobs tend to impact our levels of NEAT greatly. Anyone working in an occupation that requires them to be on their feet all day or engaging in physical activity (i.e. nurses, waiters or waitresses, construction workers, personal trainers, teachers) are going to have much higher levels of NEAT than those of us stuck behind our desks Monday to Friday. The difference in energy expenditure between active and sedentary jobs can run into hundreds and hundreds of calories.

But have no fear! Coach Rachel is here to tell you all the different ways we can increase NEAT.

10 Ways to Increase NEAT:

  1. Take the stairs. Stop using the elevator and get some steps in. This doesn’t have to be a sprint. Take your time and just get some movement in.
  2. Get a standing desk or even a treadmill desk. If you are spending a majority of the day at your desk, you might as well be getting some standing/movement in.
  3. Break up your day with short walks. Set an alarm or install an app that will remind you to get up and do some movement.
  4. Do your OWN errands. The internet has made our lives infinitely easier. And also way less active. Stop ordering groceries online and go to the store. Get off of Amazon and go walk around a bookstore to find that new book that you’ve been wanting. Plus, who doesn’t love a good bookstore?!?!
  5. Do your own chores. Make your momma proud! Mow your own lawn, tend your own garden, wash your own laundry, clean your own bathroom (GASP!). Alternate your tasks on different floors so you have to go up and down the stairs more often.
  6. Ditch the car. If you can, ride your bike, walk, skate, or even run somewhere you need to go.
  7. Talk and walk. Do some walking when you are on the phone or when you are meeting up with friends. Walk down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of emailing or phoning them. Get outdoors and get some extra steps in.
  8. Park further away. Any time you can get some extra steps in, choose a location or a parking spot that is going to require you to walk more.
  9. Find some active hobbies. Go dancing, do some rock climbing, play some soccer outside with your kids, do some yoga, walk the golf course instead of ride the cart, go hiking, go mountain biking, play an instrument (Make Clark proud) or do some knitting.
  10. Get a pedometer so you can track your activity during the day. Many people (including myself) find that having a device is motivation to be more active each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day.

Try incorporating a few of these simple hacks into your daily routine and focus on moving more throughout the course of your day.

– Coach Rachel xoxo


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