The NEAT Secret to Fat Loss

I hope you had a NEAT weekend! I know I did and I’m happy I did. Now you may have noticed that I used the word NEAT in all caps. No, no it’s not because I think it’s the greatest word to say in the English language, that word is boing (seriously you can’t say it without thinking about something fun) but I digress.

In fact NEAT is an acronym for possibly the most underrated element in your fitness and healthy lifestyle repertoire. It is also one of the most important ones.

NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

Basically NEAT is the energy you burn through activities in the day that aren’t associated with formal exercise sessions. Yes going for walks, moving furniture, mowing the lawn, chasing after a 19month old son… running as fast as you can to the change table after his diaper gets… well you know; are all good forms of NEAT. Now before you roll your eyes and brush off yet another “active living” article, think about the impact of NEAT on your lifestyle and your waistline.

NEAT can account for a large amount of calories burned day in and day out, year in and year out with painless effort.

We know that these days high intensity interval training is all the rage, and for good reason, it burns lots of calories in a relative short amount of time. The problem is that you have to work your fitness level up to a point where high intensity interval training is effective enough to produce a desired effect. The other downside is that it can exhaust you so much that you actually move less through the day basically nullifying the calorie burning effects of the workout. While NEAT when applied can painlessly increase the amount of energy your burn, and of course if you can do both you have a super burn tandem.

One other thing that NEAT does better than any other form of exercise is that it seems to have very little effect on hunger compared to high intensity interval training which is important if you are eating less calories in order to lose fat.

For the next two weeks be aware of just how NEAT you are and look for ways to improve so you can burn more calories and gain more stamina day in and day out and have your health and your waist line thank you for it.

Here is an example of a High NEAT day.

Wake up in the am. Have breakfast; take the dog for a short walk (10minutes)

Take 4-minute stretch break at work every hour (set a reminder on your phone, do it with a work mate)

Every “smoke” break your co-workers have, give yourself a “health” break and move

I know working through lunch seems like a good idea, (maybe today will finally be the day that working through lunch = getting caught up…. HAHAHAHAHAHA) Instead make lunch time, mobility time or walk and laugh time with co-workers

Take the stairs, not the elevator

Learn to dance, go out on a mini “city adventure or hike” Learn to garden, every commercial break or break between binging on Netflix, get up and MOVE.

And on the weekend, you have plenty that you can do to move more especially during these summer months.

If you are a numbers person get yourself a fitibit® pedometer and aim for 8,000+ steps a day.

There are so many ways to be NEAT. It’s easy to do and when done consistently in a way that’s mostly fun for you, the more effective it will be.


Next week I'm busting some myths about fitness and health. I have room to fit in two more questions, if you would like me to "clear the air" on a particular subject, send me an email


- Robin Mungall NSCA CPT

Results One Habit At A Time
Robin Mungall Fitness