9 Sneaky Ways to Increase your NEAT
9 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your NEAT
Are you working hard and burning a bunch of calories in the gym but not seeing progress as quickly as you’d like? Maybe you need to focus some attention on what you’re doing the other 23 hours of the day. If you sit most of the time, either at work or for your leisure, you might be sabotaging your weight loss and/or overall fitness goals. Check out what NEAT is, why it’s important, and 9 sneaky ways to increase your NEAT, below!
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What is NEAT?
N.E.A.T. is an acronym that stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Quite the mouthful to say.
The neat thing about NEAT is it can be anything that involves moving your ass.
Why is NEAT important?
When it comes to weight loss, your level of activity outside the gym can be just as, if not more important, than your dedicated workouts. You may burn a decent amount of calories during your “official” training session, but if that’s all you’re burning, you may find progress is slower than you’d like. Who am I kidding, progress is always slower than we’d like. So give yourself a NEAT boost with these neat ideas. Hardy-har-har.
9 Sneaky Ways to Increase your NEAT
1. Take the stairs.
But Racheeeelllllle, I work on the 20th floooorrrrah. I tried to type that how my daughter whines. OK, fine, take the elevator to the 17th floor. Or the 19th. Every little bit counts.
Take the stairs instead of the escalator at the mall or airport.
Don’t stand there waiting for the slow-ass elevator to get to the lobby to take you up a measly 1 or 2 stories, all-the-while cursing it for making you late for your appointment. Stop being lazy, find the stairwell, and rack up a few more steps.
2. Park farther away.
Don’t circle the lot for 10 minutes looking for the closest possible parking space, or worse yet, wait for someone to load up and pull out of a closer spot. Park out in the boonies and leg it out. Unless, of course, you’ve got young kids and have to carry and/or hold hands with them on top of carry diaper bags and God knows what else. Eff that shiz. Wait for the spot. If you don’t have that excuse, though, the convenience of being closer to the door is worth far less than the bonus activity you get by parking farther away.
You’d be surprised by how many steps you get in while sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, straightening, dusting, putting away laundry, etc. I’ve had plenty of “rest” days logging in well over 10k steps without a workout or walk or anything – my high step count comes purely from scurrying around, cleaning my house. Not to say you need to do all these chores all at once in one day, but make a conscious effort to do a little bit each day.
Set a 15-minute timer and work until it goes off. Who knows, once you start you might get in the zone and keep it going after the timer sounds. Not only will your house feel more peaceful and tidy, but you’ll burn a few extra calories.
4. Do yard work.
Mow, dig, rake, plant, pull, etc. Move, move, move! Now is the perfect time to plant bulbs. Soon it’ll be time to rake leaves. Then shovel snow. Don’t hire this stuff out; make a little time to do the work yourself. You KNOW your yard could use the TLC and you could use the NEAT. Make the neighbors keep up with the Joneses.
*You’re reading 9 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your NEAT*
5. Play with your kids.
I die a little inside just typing this one, because I hate playing with my kids. Yes, my heart is black. Or maybe it’s because I’m a stay-at-home mom who does every. Little. Thing for her kids every second of every day. I’m also the one taking care of the transport, learning, and business aspects of the children always, on top of all the usual housework BS. I’ve got no room or energy left in my soul for playtime fun. I do it when I absolutely can’t get out of it, but otherwise that’s a Dad job.
Anyway, kids love being chased, grabbed, spun, wrestled, piggy-backed, danced with, given horsey rides, and thrown around. So, do those things.
You could also take your kids on an outing. I find it more enjoyable when I take my kids somewhere so I don’t have to play with them, but still get activity in. Go to the zoo or museum, walk to the park, go for a bike ride, etc.
Don’t do something sitting when you could be walking. Take calls while you walk in circles or check your emails on your phone as you climb up and down your stairs. If you’re able to multitask like this, of course. Don’t hurt yourself.
Instead of staring at your computer monitor from your chair, stand up and dance, stretch, squat, or walk in place. This will do wonders for blood flow and back pain, as well.
Pace the airport terminal when you travel rather than sitting your butt in a chair at your gate for God-knows-how-many hours before your flight. Put in your earbuds and start walking – the people watching alone makes this totally worth it! The steps are just a bonus.
While you wait for your coffee to brew or your food to heat in the microwave, don’t just stand there and watch it like a dope – walk laps around the kitchen. I typically walk circles around my bedroom while I brush my teeth. If you don’t have the space to walk/pace, then squat.
7. Make multiple trips.
I’m totally the person who will carry 97 grocery bags on each arm to avoid having to make more than one trip. But lately I’ve made a point to lighten my load a bit to have more back-and-forths from the car to the house.
Don’t kill yourself and risk dropping and breaking stuff in your attempt to be the laziest person alive. Carry one or two things to the next room, then come back for the rest. It takes basically no extra time, and you’ll increase your activity.
Another trick I use to up my NEAT is to make multiple trips when I put clean laundry away. I take one article of clothing out of the laundry basket in the next room, go put it away, then go back for the next. Try it! You’ll be surprised by how many extra steps you rack up.
8. Wear weights.
Increase the effort your body needs to do during routine activity by wearing ankle weights and/or a weight vest. It doesn’t need to weigh you down to exhaustion or anything, just enough to make you work a little harder with barely noticing.
By using a little more effort while making your afternoon coffee, putting away laundry, or emptying the dishwasher you’ll burn some extra calories without having to dedicate any additional time.
9. Go shopping.
This one may not be great for your pocketbook, but it’ll be good for your waistline and overall health. Instead of doing online grocery delivery or curbside pickup, go in and walk the aisles. Just maybe skip the junk food aisles if you can’t be trusted. Don’t go on an empty stomach and bring a healthy snack to help avoid temptation.
Same goes for walking the mall – steer clear of the food court and Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Walk laps, take the stairs, and treat yourself to some new activewear while you’re at it. 😉
Move More to Achieve Your Goals
Bottom line: the more you move, the more energy (aka calories, aka food) you burn. Movement will help put you into a caloric deficit (caloric deficit = weight loss) or increase your deficit basically without trying. Even if your goal isn’t weight loss, you’ll be able to maintain weight easier on a greater food intake by sneakily burning excess calories here and there.
Let me know your sneaky NEAT tips and tricks in the comments below, and follow along with me and my fitness journey on Instagram. I document my exercise (including bonus activities that increase my NEAT) daily in my food & exercise diary highlights.
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