If you want to speed up your weight loss journey, you need to become a serious NEAT freak!  While we all know a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind and cleanliness is next to godliness; this isn’t a blog about cleaning up your messes…although, please do, nobody likes a dirtbag.  

No, tidying up won’t help you lose weight, you can’t just brush pounds under the rug.  Sure you can tuck guts under the belt, but you still can’t hide from the scale.

To understand what we mean by NEAT freak, you need to understand what we mean by NEAT.

NEAT is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

That’s a million-dollar phrase, here’s the one dollar synopsis:  NEAT refers to the calories you burn doing everyday activities.

NEAT includes the physical movement in our lives that isn’t planned exercise or sports (or sleeping, breathing, and eating). Some NEAT activities include:

  • Washing Dishes
  • Typing on the Computer
  • Walking around the Office

NEAT varies widely based on what you do on a daily basis, and how you do them.

So if you decide to increase your daily activity, and slightly increase the intensity you can burn a ton of calories without much work.

Pretty neat huh?

Wait That’s Not Neat

Some will call this action, non-exercise physical activity, or NEPA.  That’s not very neat.  So just know if some square starts squawking about NEPA that they are a misguided soul who really means “NEAT”.

Got it? 


A Lot of a Little Can Go a Long Way

While it might not seem like a lot, it turns out that NEAT can have a massive impact on our metabolism. A study published in 2016 followed over 12,000 British women for 12 years and found that fidgeting may reduce the risk of death associated with excessive sedentary time.

So break out those spinners:

NEAT calorie burn rates vary widely from person to person.  It’s not about the body mass, but more about your environment. A 2014 study reported that a number of calories burned from NEAT vary by up to 2000 k/cals per day between two individuals of similar size. There are a number of factors that can account for this difference, including environment and genetics. 

Hacks for Increasing Your NEAT Burn Rate

Now that we know what NEAT is, how can we use this to our advantage.

Here are 5 fun hacks for increasing your NEAT Burn Rate:

Get Up Stand Up!

Bob Marley may not have meant it in the same context when he sang the phrase in his popular song by the same name; but it is a good way to remember that standing in lieu of sitting can help your weight loss journey tremendously. 

At work, at home, or if possible at school; opt for a standing desk instead of sitting. (If standing isn’t an option you can try a stability ball)

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a 145 lb. person can expect to burn approximately 102 calories an hour while sitting at work. If that person stood while working, they would burn 174 calories. An extra 72 calories might not seem like a lot, but it can add up to more than 18,000 calories burned per year, leading to an approximate 5 lb. weight loss. That’s the equivalent of 60 30-minute runs at 5 miles per hour!

Would you rather stand every day or run for a half-hour 60 times?  Better yet, what if you did both!?


Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Speaking of music, playing more music, and moving along to it can increase the number of NEAT calories you burn.

You don’t have to bust out the serious moves, save that for special occasions.  But if you’re doing chores around the house, certainly blast your favorite jams and bop around a bit.

Blare that trap music in the car on the way to work, tap your feet, sway back and forth…just make sure to focus on the road; killing calores doesn’t matter if you kill yourself, or worse somebody else.

Sorry, that got a little dark.  Let’s turn it around.

Take the Stairs

If you live or work in a building, take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.  If you aren’t in the greatest shape, this is actually a pretty good entry into exercise.  About 70 pounds ago, I was quite sedentary, before changing my diet, before starting a daily routine; I simply decided to take the stairs.  It was a game-changer.

Shop Until You Drop…Or Not

If you aren’t getting that much at the store, skip the cart.  Grab a basket and fill it up.  

Keep the Couch Clean

One of the biggest culprits in weight gain is snacking in front of the television.  If you’re strapped in for a binge-watching marathon of The Office, try doing a couple of exercises in between episodes.  My mother always did this growing up, she’s almost 70 but you could mistake her for someone in her 40s.  She doesn’t work out, doesn’t eat particularly right, but she’s always moving even when relaxing.

Have some of your own NEAT hacks?  Share them below, we’d love to learn how you burn.

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