Functional For Life Blog

NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

What is NEAT and Why Does it Matter?

Have you ever assessed your NEAT levels? To define NEAT – Expending energy for every activity that is not sleeping, eating or intentional exercise. 

NEAT can prove to be a key cog in burning up more energy and bringing you closer to your fat loss and body composition goals. 

Studies have shown that increased NEAT levels can cause improvements in physical fitness and psychological behaviors that lead to living a healthier lifestyle.

Intentional Exercise 

What do we mean when we say intentional exercise? Going to the gym, doing a home workout, an arranged personal training session, going for a run. Anything where we have set out a fitness activity where we want to get a particular outcome after completing the activity. 

Unintentional Exercise

So what is the opposite of intentional exercise such as a visit to the gym? Expending energy on everyday tasks, activities such as gardening, washing your car, carrying grocery shopping back to the car, walking to the water cooler in the office. All of these activities might seem like mundane everyday norms but they are pivotal in our energy balance and contributing to a calorie deficit.

Change of Behaviours

With increased NEAT levels comes better behaviours in relation to living a healthier lifestyle. A larger awareness of being sedentary for large periods of time during the day will lead to breaking up that habit with a piece of activity. 

Making decisions throughout the week that get the body moving as opposed to choosing an easier option that requires little to no effort of the body. Its all about compound interest when it comes to activity!

Comparison Time!

Here is a simple scenario, we have two male friends in their mid 40s both looking to lose a few KG’s and change their body shape. (Now before we jump to any scientific comparison about the genetic make up of these men, we are just taking this comparison on face value)

The friends give themselves a six week plan to start off their journey. They are both on identical training plans, are both on a diet putting themselves in a slight calorie deficit and are very dedicated to their fitness journey. Here is the catch; one man is an accountant and sits at his desk for 8 hours a day, only moving for lunch and the occasional toilet break. The second man works as a store manager of a supermarket, frequently walks on the shop floor, may have to help a few customers with certain requests that require some lifting and moving of materials. 

Who in this scenario would be more likely in the six weeks to have lost more weight? Looking at the base facts it would be the store manager. Why is this? His NEAT levels of unintentional exercise are far superior than his training partner therefore burning more energy on a daily basis. He’s on his feet for a longer period of the day completing a higher amount of exercise than his friend who is at the desk in a seated position.

Where Are Your NEAT Levels At?

Lets not take this literally, we are not saying ditch the desk for a role in Coles or Woolies.This blog is looking to create an awareness of how much activity you complete in the day. 

Reflect on your own week? Can you improve on your NEAT levels to help yourself? 

An easy step to helping with your own journey, get those NEAT levels high and reap the rewards! 




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