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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Collins

The Easy Way to Boost Your Metabolism

NEAT is a concept that is often overlooked in the fitness industry. Clients come to us searching for the optimal form of cardio and calorie burn not realizing they are missing out on a very simple way to progress and boost weight loss. If you work with Ryan or myself you are already aware that we are big advocates of increasing your NEAT. So what exactly is NEAT and how do you increase it?


Our daily caloric expenditure is based on four factors.


  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR)- the number of calories you burn as your body performs basic functions or the amount of calories you burn by simply existing. This makes up the bulk of the calories you burn averaging around 60% of calories burned. This involves factors such as genetic predispositions, height, body composition etc.

  • Exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) the amount of calories burned through structured exercise. Averaging around 12% of calories burned.

  • Thermogenic effects of food (TEF) the amount of calories burned eating and digesting food. Averaging around 6% of total calories burned.

  • Non exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) averaging around 22% of calories burned. This is the most important factor of weight loss/maintenance besides BMR.


NEAT is a fun nerdy way of saying all movement that isn’t structured or intended exercise. NEAT is a low effort but extremely beneficial way to increase daily physical activity. Examples of this include cleaning the house, walking around with your phone, gardening, cooking, even fidgeting. NEAT makes up a very large portion of caloric expenditure and it is something that you can directly control. This might not be an important factor for individuals with very active jobs. However recently there has been a massive shift towards less physically demanding work and working remotely. Due to this shift approximately 30% of the world's population lacks sufficient physical activity. Sedentary behaviors and habits such as prolonged sitting are associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and decreased life expectancy. Having a high NEAT can be the difference between you gaining weight, maintaining and losing. I can tell you from my personal experience that when I left my active job and took a desk position my weight began to slowly increase. There were no other changes to my diet, exercise or lifestyle. When Ryan recommended I begin taking hourly laps around the building to get my steps in I began to lose weight again. I urge you to look over your movement patterns throughout the day and encourage you to look for more opportunities to move throughout the day.


Some tips to increase your NEAT:


  1. Take a 10-15 min walk after every main meal. Breakfast 15 min, lunch 15 min, dinner 15 min- totals to 45 mins of walking per day. It’s a lot easier for busy people to break their activity up throughout the day than it is to always make it to the gym to get that cardio session in. You can include your family in the walk after dinner to get some extra quality time with your loved ones and help them incorporate this habit as well. It also helps your digestion after a meal be more effective.

  2. Park far away from work or the grocery store to get more steps in.

  3. If possible, change your mode of transportation to walking or biking.

  4. Take the steps.

  5. Walk while you're on the phone or find activities to add more movement into your day.

  6. Do household chores in 10-15 minute blocks.

  7. Wash your car instead of using the car wash.

  8. Stand more and sit less. This can be difficult in sedentary jobs. According to The National Academy of Sports Medicine a 145 lbs person burns 102 calories (1.7kcal per min) performing their job in a seated position but burns 174 calories performing those same duties standing. It may not seem like much but it translates to 18,000 calories or a little over 5 lbs in a working year. For perspective, that same person would need to perform 60, 30 minute runs at 5 mph to achieve the same calorie burn in the same time frame. Ryan and myself both utilize sit to stand desks when we work from home.


All of these tips will help you increase your overall NEAT along with increasing your overall steps per day. As you can see, increasing your daily calorie expenditure doesn’t have to be as invasive as we’ve all been taught. Remember that as little as an extra 100 calories per day can equal 10.5 lbs lost in a year. Now this doesn’t mean you can skip the gym completely. You still need to aim for a minimum of 2-3 resistance training sessions a week. Ideally you want to focus on changing behaviors and not just the desired outcome. While achieving your health and fitness goals will take time with consistency comes results.


If these tips were helpful, definitely share and leave a comment on how you increase your NEAT or how you plan to start increasing your NEAT. If you're interested in training with fantastic coaches that want you to reach your goal, reach out for a free consultation today!

-Stephanie & Ryan


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