NEAT how that helps lose weight

Many personal training clients come to me and ask what the easiest way is to lose weight or body fat. Well, in theory it is easy, in practice, it turns out that is not that easy after all!

Napping at work because you are sitting too much

Feeling Exhausted from Sitting?

You might have read my blog post about the TV workout. Well, that is a good start but if you want to make it really happen, you should keep reading!

First we need to understand what our metabolism consists of:

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – minimum energy expenditure needed to maintain vital functions (measured after a 12 hour fast in a very controlled environment)
  2. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) -metabolic rate measured during rest (up to 10% off of BMR)
  3. Thermic effect of feeding (TEF) – energy needed to digest food (around 10% of total daily energy need)
  4. Exercise activity – energy burnt exercising anywhere from around 10-15% or less to well over 30% and more.
  5. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) – energy used for low activity movements, walking, picking up kids, light physical labor, etc.

Have you despaired before when they told you they wanted you to take in x amount of kcal and you were asking yourself if it is all worth it? The good news is, there is something you can do about it, every day. You need to increase your NEAT.

NEAT – the magic pill to success (besides good nutrition)

Office (from easy to more work/and or expensive)

  1. brainstorm walking or using the stairs
  2. 5-10 min exercise (squats, push ups, planks, lunges, split squats, etc) or walking break every 60-90 min
  3. You are on a phone conference (hit the treadmill at work or pace the hallway while doing while listening in
  4. Get a standing adjustment for your desk. Dynamic standing is better for your back,
  5. Get an adjustable standing desk with or without a slow treadmill. Great tool and improved performance after you will get used to it. Even if you walk just at 1 mph you will still cover easily 5-8 miles depending how long you use it in a day.
  6. Walk or ride your bicycle to work.

Don’t think without asking that your company will not support one or the other. It is well worth going to HR and see what is possible.

At Home

  1. Cleaning, laundry, household tasks
  2. Renovations
  3. Going for a walks in the evening
  4. Riding a bike
  5. Yard work
  6. Use cardio equipment while watching TV (cheap home versions available on Amazon), make a habit of it. No TV without movment. Does not have to be intense

I use a standing desk at work. I will admit I got away from it for a little bit, part because it is a tiny one and I have way too much junk to put on it but I am back to it. I figured out that I could ride my bike to work. I will try to do that 1-2 times a week, depending on how early and how late I will be in. Nothing is set in stone. Just get off your butt and start moving.

If you think cardio is better think again. Most people work out for 30 min twice a week (if they are part of the 15% of the population working out). On average they will probably burn around 200-300 kcal each time. That is less than 100 kcal per day.

Just standing at your desk at the office can get you considerably more. Be creative. Being on your feet is the crucial thing to do. You should take a break from walking and standing not a break from sitting.

The health benefits are overwhelming. One of my clients who for years had been complaining of back problems is “cured” just by switching over to a standing desk.

Training is a great tool. I do not think that nutrition is 80% and exercise 20% of the formula to lose weight. I think the formulas is nutrition, NEAT, and exercise are always 100%, each. None of the three does well alone but all of them do well if they come into play at the same time.

Have an awesome day,


Berardi, John & Andrews, Ryan (2013). The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Precision Nutrition.
Levine, James (2014). Get Up! – Why Your Chair Is Killing You And What You Can Do About It. palgrave macmillan.


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