What is N.E.A.T?

My top tip for walking to work is to invest in a backpack!

You may have heard people into fitness talking about NEAT. Not as in, “that’s neat!” Or “the gym was really neat and tidy”, but more as a “getting my NEAT up”, “#neatup24/7”, “it all count’s towards the NEAT”. But what is this NEAT?

NEAT is an acronym, it stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It’s a bit of a mouthful and you can see why it’s been shortened. Luckily, it sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. NEAT is basically is the energy that you use for everything that you do apart from eating, sleeping and ‘official exercise’. So this means that it includes walking places, taking the stairs, fidgeting, cleaning – literally everything else. It’s just movement in a non-exercise setting.

NEAT is a crucial tool when it comes to losing fat because you only have a certain amount of hours in the day where you can go to the gym or do an official workout. However, lots of small activities such as walking place and taking the stairs genuinely do mount up…and when I say mount up I mean that they actually add up over the course of the day to more than you would do in the gym. It’s an invaluable tool to burn calories and to get you into a calorie deficit – which is the only way to lose fat (*without surgery which I’m not advocating here).

So next time you’re feeling lazy and parking close to the supermarket, remember that arguably NEAT is more important than ‘official exercise’ and park further away. But let’s go one further than that, why not make a pledge that this during March you’ll pick one thing to do that will increase your NEAT? I can’t do too many stairs at the moment due to an issue with my knee (which would be the obvious one in my nine-storey workplace), but I am going to get up and talk to people rather than emailing where I can.

Let me know what you pledge to do to increase your NEAT in the comments below!