The Benefits Of Using Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) For Weight Loss

benefits of NEAT

Your chores will never be the same

When it comes to losing unwanted weight you probably already know the importance a clean diet and regular exercise makes. Additionally, there’s one NEAT trick (I had to do that at least once, sorry) that can be easily adopted and make a huge difference to your end results. Here’s why you should be using NEAT for losing weight.

It’s worth getting this out the way first though, this is only going to really work if you are already sticking to a workout and diet plan. Sadly, I’m not offering an alternative to exercise or a way around a healthy reduction in calories for weight loss.

Weight loss is all about calories in and calories out. There is quite literally no way you are going to achieve your desired physique without consuming less than you are putting in. It’s a frustrating fact that a high calorie fast food, beer and doughnut diet will never work to lose weight. Spoken from joyous and greedy experience.

For healthy weight loss you want to shave around 500 calories off your basal metabolic rate (amount of calories you burn a day). For men this is roughly 2500 and for women it’s 2000. It’s important that to be able to function, you ensure you are eating a diet of whole and nutritious foods too. The totals of these foods will make up your daily calorie expenditure.

Your body burns these calories through the process of thermogenesis. Which is basically taking calories and turning them into energy.

If you have a deficit (lower number than your daily expenditure) of calories, then your body will start to burn fat and muscle for energy. Which is when you start to lose weight.

I know the thought of it reducing muscle mass isn’t great, but make sure you consume high protein foods to keep as much muscle as possible during your period of weight loss!

NEAT and a calorie deficit

Now, remember above when I said the nerdy sounding word ‘thermogenesis’, well the acronym NEAT stands for:

Non exercise activity thermogenesis

At its most basic level, this just means anything that requires you to burn calories that isn’t exercise.

What’s exciting about NEAT though is that you’re often not even aware you are doing it. And in some forms, it can burn a fairly high amount of calories. That when added to your calorie deficit from diet and exercise, can see you reducing your weight faster than you thought.

An example of NEAT

Commuting would one of the best examples of NEAT. I walk to work and back each day, which is a fairly steady 20 minutes walk. Without giving away my hulking body mass, this walk works out at around 80 calories burned each way.

Like most people, I crawl my way out of bed and get to work and back 5 times a week. Which adds 400 calories to my weekly deficit.

I’m not really dieting at the moment, so those 400 calories are spent on a couple of beers over the weekend. But, if I was trying to lose weight, 400 calories would make a sizeable difference. Especially if it’s every week for 3 months.

The calorie burn from NEAT doesn’t just stop there. Commuting is just one of the many activities that count as NEAT. Another good example would be hoovering. Which to anyone but a sadist sounds like a pretty depressing prospect.

But, if you think that when you get the hoover out and clean your flat for 30 minutes you might be burning up to 100 calories or more? It adds a reason to actually do it more than once a year.

Best ways to use NEAT for losing weight

So NEAT is basically any bonus movements you can add to your day to burn a few calories. If you think about your day in full you might realise how little you actually move. I work for 8 hours sat at a screen, then generally get home and watch TV until bed. My gym time is in the middle of the day. But realistically, I don’t move enough.

Here are 3 top ways I get my NEAT in:

#1 Cleaning on a Saturday morning

I hoover, sweep, mop and wipe my way to a greater calorie burn on a Saturday morning. I feel better about my apartment and I also feel far better mentally for being productive. Do it before or after a gym session for an amazing feeling of Saturday smugness.

#2 Take opportunities to leave the TV

For me it’s hard to break away from the sofa and TV. Especially if your late back from work and up early the next morning. But, if someone asks you out for whatever reason in the week, take it. The walk or extra activity will crank up that calorie burn. Just ditch the beer for tea and go for healthy options if it’s a meal.

#3 Fidget and move

If you’re looking to lose weight over a 3 month period or more, tiny movements at your desk or while you are stationary can really add up. If you don’t mind looking a little crazy then you could always incorporate bigger movements like bodyweight squats into your evening chores. Or whilst you wait for the kettle to boil at work.

Benefits of NEAT for weight loss

NEAT is incredibly easy to perform. So easy, everyone around the world is already doing it in some form. They’re just not chalking it up as a technique for weight loss like you are.

Not only can you bolt NEAT on to anything you do by adding in a few movements or stretches, but you don’t need to worry about any risks of injury or overtraining. In fact, it can even help improve your recovery from workouts.

It’s a great way to burn extra calories and will get you hitting weight loss targets quicker than ever before. Just remember to keep moving!

(Plus there is literally no reason not to do the chores. Sorry.)

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