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  • Writer's pictureLisa Magnuson

Here is a NEAT Idea!

If you have ever felt frustrated by lack of weight loss progress even while you are consistent with your workout program, I have a secret weapon and it's really NEAT!

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and it's basically everything we do during the day that isn't considered exercise, eating, or sleeping.

Assuming you are awake and functioning for 16 hours out of a full 24, how much of that time are you actually spending exercising? Maybe 30-60 minutes, perhaps a little more? So that leaves another 15 hours of your day to use NEAT to raise your daily caloric burn.

If you are thinking, oh jeez, not another thing to think about while I go about my day, this really is a super easy way to burn more calories without having to make huge changes.

You have heard these all before, but perhaps you didn't realize that moving more counteracts the ill-effects of sitting. We aren't just harping on this because we want you to lose weight, there are a multitude of beneficial results from implementing some of these habits.

  • Pace while to chat on the phone

  • Walk to your mailbox

  • Get up and stand every hour for at least 10 minutes

  • Suggest a coffee and walk meeting, not a seated meeting

  • Carry your groceries to your car instead of pushing a cart

  • Take the stairs!

  • Park a ways away and walk to the door

Here is why this is important: For our example we will use a 145 lb person:

  • Burning an extra 100 calories a day = 10 pounds lost in 1 year!


  • 10 lbs lost would equal 120 sessions of 30 minutes of hard cardio in a year.

I'm pretty sure it's WAY easier to burn off those 10 pounds by adding some NEAT into your day instead of sweating it off on a treadmill 120 times!

And you don't have to get sweaty, or change your clothes, or go to the gym. Just stand more, fidget, move around and DON'T SIT ON YOUR A## all day!

How to implement this easily:

If you want to find ways to implement more NEAT opportunities into your daily routine I have a simple exercise to get you started.

Make a quick list of everything you do on a typical day- For example:

6:30-8- Wake up, shower, dress, eat breakfast

8-8:30-drive to work

9-12- Sit at my desk and work

12- drive to lunch, eat in car, drive back to work

1-5- Sit at my desk and work/have meetings at my desk on Zoom

5-6- Drive home

6-9- Eat dinner, clean up, watch TV

Do you see spots in this person's day where they can make some small changes and get more NEAT habits built in?

You can start with a typical day, however I know days vary and different things come up and interrupt our best laid plans, but if you have a general roadmap about places in your day when you can add some movement in, just do it.

The easiest thing to do is stand more, here is a very good example as to why. Take our 145 lb person again:

  • From a seated position at the office they burn approximately 102 calories per hour

  • From a standing position at the office they burn approximately 174 calories per hour.

That is over 70 more calories in just one hour! Do that for two hours a day and you magically burn over 140 more calories each day getting you to your 10+ pounds of weight loss in that 1 year period.

It's really astonishing how easy it is, and how quickly it adds up!

Do the quick exercise and map out your day, find times when you can stand more, pace more and perhaps add some short walks or stair climbing, and voila!, you will finally find success in your weight loss journey without having to add more training sessions to your week to finally achieve your goals.

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