What is N.E.A.T? Why is it important for Fat Loss and Weight Management?
N.E.A.T stands for Non-exercise activity thermogenesis and the simplest way to describe it is, the activity you do in everyday life that is not exercise. Its anything to do with your movements, that is not part of your training. For instance doing chores around the house, shopping for groceries, cooking, fidgeting, talking with your hands, your steps etc.
So why is it important for fat loss or weight management?
Your NEAT equates to on average of 20-25% of your daily energy output. To put that into perspective, planned exercise of 45mins equates to approximately 10%! So many people put too much emphasis on a 45min cardio session and absolutely smash themselves and then spend the remainder of the day being inactive. But wouldn’t it be more sensible to maximise your NEAT as it makes up, on average approximately 20-25% of your energy output? What you do most of the day counts more, than what you did for only 45mins. Now of course we are not saying to NOT exercise but when exercising, keep in mind to not wipe yourself out for the remainder of the day. Training smarter rather than harder is a great way to think about it. Weight training is a good option, as it helps build strength, muscle etc but will allow you able to still be active throughout the day.
Another thing to keep in mind is, If you are in a calorie deficit and aiming to lose body fat, your NEAT will lower. It’s the body’s response to conserve energy as it feels you are under threat and wants to keep you alive (survive). So without you even realising it, you will move slower, you will talk slower, you may stop using your hands when talking (some of us are very expressive 😂 always talking with our hands), you may feel the urge to lay down for a bit. A great way to tackle this, is to firstly be aware of it. And if you are feeling like lying down, maybe get up tidy up a bit or hang the laundry, keep busy and active in other words.
Secondly you can artificially add NEAT by increasing and tracking your steps. This is a tool I use with my clients. My tip to you will be to start of small with your increase in steps. Set a small target and try to be consistent. Try not to jump to 10k steps a day after doing 5k. As you will need to maintain these steps to avoid weight gain. Aim for a target that fits into your lifestyle and you can hit comfortably, and introduce new habits like parking further away, taking the stairs these smaller changes will add up and make the all the difference. A good rule of thumb for aiding fat loss when in a calorie deficit, is to increase your current steps up to 2k a day. So if you have been moving on average 5k steps a day, aim for 7k steps a day on average to aid fat loss.
Hope this has been useful and if you have any questions reach out!
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