By NEAT we mean all the activities not linked to a real physical exercise, this corresponds to work activities, leisure activities and all uncontrolled movements, such as gesticulating activities, as well as conscious movements, for example: parking further to walk to the office, or taking the stairs instead of elevator. The NEAT often has an impact even higher than the training sessions. What does it means?
Working on NEAT to increase energy expenditure is an efficient way to create a higher energy deficit than diet and sports activity. This can make the weight loss path much more sustainable; bearing in mind that adaptations take place over the long term, therefore creating a sustainable program is crucial. Being aware also that diets fail above all for psychological reasons, because people do not know how to quantify what they eat, justifying themselves by saying that they have slow metabolisms, big bones and inventing the most absurd excuses.
Research indicates that two adults of similar size may have a difference in energy expenditure up to 2000 kcal per day that can be attributed almost entirely to NEAT.
This explains, for example, how one of the decisive tools we have available and being able to exploit it correctly allows us to maintain, gain or lose weight based on our goals. A low NEAT, for a person who carries out a sedentary job, is one of the reasons why the office workers, will have to work harder during the weight loss process. This is because, despite training, their daily returns are extremely low.
If the goal is instead to gain weight, limiting movements as much as possible can be an excellent choice to maintain a positive energy balance more easily.
To lose weight / fat you need a negative energy balance, but, if this is maintained for too long, you are facing a lower energy cost. Maintaining too long periods of caloric restriction is therefore not a very wise choice, while alternating low-calorie periods with norm caloric periods is ideal for limiting the negative effects of caloric restriction and the decline in energy reserves.
There is a very useful and economic tool to monitor the decline in movements: the pedometer. This actually allows us to assess whether the weekly steps decrease (in the weekly average). If a drop is noticed, it is possible that the body is already implementing adaptations.
The NEAT is a fundamental aspect when one undertakes a path of weight loss or increase in body mass and knowing how to manage and understand it correctly, can allow us to maximize the effects of training and diet, making optimal the path over the long term. The first driver of adaptations is training, there are no secrets or shortcuts.
There are 3 things that matter to weight loss: workout, eat less and move more.
But mostly don’t be in a hurry!