NEAT is an innovative approach to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, but do you know how to use it correctly to get results? Fasten your seatbelt and get ready to get some insight into a new technique to lose weight because this article holds all the information about approaching a healthy lifestyle with an exciting and not-so-talked-about technique called NEAT.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a scientific term for the overall calories burned throughout daily activities. All the regular activities you do in a day are NEAT activities. The name sounds a bit fancy, but it includes all the simple activities like cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, walking, and even sleeping–Yeah, you heard it!
On the contrary, the intentional exercises you do for weight or fat loss are physical activities. Physical activity, no doubt, plays a vital role in fat loss. But if you focus on your NEAT, you can take your health and well-being to a whole new level.
Let’s get into a little ted-talk here and see what the NEAT principle is. What does it do? And how is it helpful in burning fat?
The Comprehensive Science Behind NEAT:
To understand NEAT, first, look into how the body’s fat loss mechanism works. The amount of fat you lose depends on your energy expenditure.
Let’s suppose you consume a certain amount of calories in a day. To lose weight, you will have to balance the number of calories consumed and the number of calories used. That’s where the energy balance equation comes in.
The energy balance equation explains the science behind energy expenses throughout the day. It suggests that the energy you spend the whole day is the sum of your Resting Metabolic Rate, NEAT Activity, Physical Activity, and Thermic Effect of Food.
As per the Equation:
Energy Expenditures = Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) + Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T) + Physical Activity (PA) + Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)
- Resting metabolic rate is the energy you require while at rest. This includes lung, heart, brain, kidney, and liver functions.
- Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the energy you consume while doing all your daily activities, besides the intentional workout.
- Physical activity is the amount of energy burned while performing workouts like cycling, gymming, running, jogging, or weight training.
- The Thermic Effect of Food is the energy required to maintain the physiological functions of digesting food.
So basically, you will have to keep a check and balance on your overall energy expenditure. You can’t just cut calories and expect to lose weight at a faster rate. Because by doing so, your body will try to maintain thermogenesis, and you will end up being sluggish rather than fit and healthy.
The question that arises here is, why do we have to keep a check on our NEAT, and what the difference between NEAT and physical activities is?
NEAT(Natural Activities) vs. Workouts:
There is no objection that physical exercises and workouts contribute to the fitness of people. However, certain other things are overlooked when it comes to losing weight — one being NEAT.
You would argue that an hour at the gym is a hell of a task than doing random chores at home. Right!
But how about you look at it the other way around? You spend 5 hours per week at the gym working your butt off, burning, let’s say, 3500 calories a week, and end up losing one pound of body fat.
Now, have you ever realized how many hours per week you spend doing natural activities at home? Probably 30 to 50% more than you spend working out. That’s when it hits you hard that NEAT is the real Hulk.
So in simple words, focusing on your NEAT is more natural and a lot more effective at burning fat than working out. -As per the Goal Master Fitness, Don Graham –
At this point, you would be expecting us to cut it short and come to the actual point. I.e., how the hell do we increase our quality of health by focusing on NEAT, and what activities can be counted as NEAT? Right? We hear what you are saying!
Why Is NEAT Effective?
There is no rocket science in explaining and understanding the effectiveness of NEAT. According to theories, an average person can burn around 1500 to 2000 calories daily by adding everyday chores to their day.
How about increasing your caloric burn alongside the gym with walking, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping? Will it cause a drastic change in your weight loss?
Not sure? Suppose you did 1-hour at the gym; now you will inevitably end up thinking, ” I have had enough” and will continue to lounge all day –munching a handful of an unhealthy snack as a treat for the hectic work you did– resulting in gaining half the calories back.
Unlike this, increasing NEAT will subconsciously partake in burning fat by manipulating your mind to eat less and lose more. Whip-smart? IKR.
What Natural Activities Can Increase Your NEAT?
All the fitness freaks would probably be jumping for joy at this point. We will explain the basics and use productive activities to take your NEAT game to the next level. Let’s wait no more and see what these are.
Walk Your NEAT off Throughout the Day.
Make a habit of walking for a good 10 to 15 mins every few hours. And if intentional walking seems tough, play with your mind a bit. Walk to the store to get your essentials, walk a few extra blocks before reaching your block at the office. Take an extra turn around the park before coming back to your home.
You can walk as much as you can per day to keep your body balanced. But for a general idea, at least 7 to 10k steps a day can take the fat loss to a new level.
Treat Yourself with a Home-Cooked Meal Every Day.
Cooking for yourself is a great idea, and the reason is two-fold: you can enjoy a delicious and healthy meal with lower calories and higher nutrients. And secondly, you burn an estimated 300 calories during a single hour of cooking. Cooking is one of the best natural activities to increase your NEAT.
So next time you decide to order a pizza and a coke, think twice. You will be adding many calories and expending nothing (in terms of calories, of course).
Be Creative with Your Working Desk During Office Time.
People spend most of their day at the office, and that is where the problem begins. You are sitting in your seat for a considerably long time, causing a low NEAT. That’s your time to be a little smart and switch to a better option for yourself. You can stand instead. Many offices are now introducing treadmills in the workplace to promote healthy office hours.
Sitting and standing make a difference in terms of calories burnt. But standing for sure helps eliminate back pain and joint problems that come as a bonus with your “paycheck.”
Never Underestimate the Power of Sports and Games.
Playing a street game –like basketball or football– now and then with your buds won’t cost you a fortune. You will lose an unimaginable amount of weight in no time. Studies have shown that games can help a lot when it comes to losing weight and staying fit.
Plus, your brain won’t always remind you that you did a hectic workout. Instead, your mental health will get a boost. Games also keep you moving and prevent a lot of physical and mental stress.
Choose the Stairs Over the Elevator.
Have you ever noticed that going upstairs increases your heartbeat and breathing rate? It’s because you do a lot of work in terms of physics when you go against gravity. Now imagine going up and down the stairs twice or thrice a day. Ascending the stairs is another excellent natural activity to add to your daily routine, helping you burn fat.
Nobody denies the benefits of the gadgets that technology has provided us with- read “lifts and elevators.” But old is gold remember? So take a few floors on foot and then switch to the elevator if you’re too tired to go up naturally.
Do Your Grocery and Other Outdoor Chores.
Don’t wait for the delivery guy to deliver your food. It’s convenient and saves time, we agree. But in the long run, it will make you lazy and fat.
Walking down the aisle in stores will cause more energy expenditure. You will be burning calories and losing weight without even knowing it. So the next time you open that app to get your order delivered at home, someone to cut your grass or wash your car. Shut the Internet off, grab your shoes, and do it yourself.
Own a Pet or Get Yourself a Partner
Partner doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to tie the knot with someone. You can ask a friend, a roommate, a colleague to partner with you in your everyday tasks at home or office.
Maybe you have heard that two heads are better than one. Well, in this case, they sure are. You can go for long walks, go shopping collectively or do laundry with each other. You will see yourself taking an interest in these chores when there is someone to do them with.
Unless you’re a Misanthrope, in that case, you can adopt a cute pooch, and he/she will be your company while you perform natural activities.
Get a Good and Sound Night of Sleep.
It may sound shocking, but lack of sleep is directly associated with obesity. Studies suggest that getting a little sleep every day can increase your food intake and decrease your energy expenditure. The exact mechanism of this is not yet known, but many types of research have shown that people with chronic sleep deprivation have obesity.
Getting the right amount of sleep is yet another embodiment of getting a NEAT boost.
But wait, all we talked about was weight loss. Can increasing NEAT activities help in disease prevention too? If yes, how?
Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis and Its Correlation with Disease Prevention:
Now, NEAT activities will be all good for your fitness, fat loss, and weight maintenance. But the other side of the picture is worth taking a look at, that is, the health benefits of NEAT. And by health benefits, we mean disease prevention.
Many severe health risks arrive when you become sedentary and spend more time lounging on your couch. Being sedentary for a while is another thing, but not pushing yourself for everyday tasks is a lifestyle. And once you are addicted to doing nothing. Bang! You’re hit by many diseases, including Cardiac problems, metabolic syndromes, thrombosis, and embolism, and not to forget – Obesity.
So, incorporating natural activities in your daily life will save you from a lot of health risks and disease, eventually making you fit and healthy.
Factors on which NEAT Depends:
In 2014, research was started to study the role of NEAT in human obesity, which suggested that the number of calories burned by NEAT carries from person to person. This explains that some people lose less weight, and some lose more weight with the same workout.
According to the study, the calorie difference can be up to 2000 calories between individuals depending on various factors. The factors on which NEAT depends are:
- Environmental factors
- Body type
- Body-mass Index
- Nature of Work
- Metabolism etc
To Wrap It Up
Don’t be a gym rat who works out all week in the gym and ends up dining out at Dominos, eating two large fajitas. Instead, work smart and use a combination of the gym and NEAT to burn more calories.