What if we told you could burn calories without any extra time in the gym? Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Let me explain! Our bodies burn fuel or calories in three basic ways…this is pretty NEAT.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
The first way we burn calories is simply by staying alive. This is the use of energy that’s required to keep your body’s systems running while you’re at rest. Also called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This energy keeps your organs functioning, your heart pumping and nervous system going strong. For most people, this accounts for most of their calorie burn, between about 60-75%. Our bodies work hard!
Next up is the thermic effect of food. This is when the metabolic rate increases after food ingestion due to calories being used to digest, absorb, metabolize, and store remaining food. This process accounts for about 10% of your overall daily caloric burn. Also, certain foods have higher thermic effects than others. For example, protein requires more energy to break down in digestion than carbohydrates or fat.
Finally, activity or movement is the third way we burn calories. Burning calories during exercise is the healthiest, most efficient method, and weight lifting or running will also increase daily caloric burn. We all get excited about big calorie burn workouts!
Want to hear something NEAT?
The second (and often overlooked) way to burn even more daily calories is through Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis. NEAT can actually account for about 10-30% of your total daily metabolic burn, depending on how active you are every single day. You burn fuel doing day-to-day tasks such as walking to the car, standing instead of sitting, parking further away, and increasing your daily step count. This is the difference between taking a five-minute break from your desk every hour to move around versus sitting sedentary all day. This is where the real effort & intention kicks in.
Discipline and motivation will take you to the gym and push you to turn on your activity tracker. Working out in the traditional sense prepares us for burning more of those NEAT calories, for a more active and better quality of life. Try adding in 2000 more steps, parking on the top floor instead of the first and taking the stairs with a more conscious effort and awareness to drive up those everyday NEAT calories and thus, fire up your metabolism!
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