And my Tequila as well. But sometimes on the rocks. Just my tequila though, not my exercise.
Anyways. I feel like nowadays many of us have been led to believe that the only thing that matters to being fit & healthy is our time spent in the gym. And that there is no such thing as a “Rest Day” muscle so any day not spent in the gym means gains are lost and a detour to Fatsville. Well … This is not true at all!!
I hear so many stories of people “crushing the gym” but then proceed to not move at all the rest of the day and have an epic “cheat day.” Or rest days that literally mean not moving a single, solitary muscle and binge watching Netflix.
While going to the gym and working out is definitely an instrumental part to any fitness journey or weight loss journey. It is not the only part of the equation. There is a little known acronym out there that needs to get more attention. This acronym is N.E.A.T. And it stands for
Non. Exercise. Activity. Thermogenesis.
Think about walking from your desk to the kitchen in your office to get a new glass of water. That process seems incredibly simple, right? However, when you dig a little deeper, that process was a series of physical and metabolic events that allowed you to get to the kitchen. Your mind told your muscles to move in that direction and your body burned energy to allow you to complete that task. Did you workout? No. But did you burn calories? You absolutely did!
N.E.A.T. comprises all of the activities in our day to day that do not involve “picking things up and putting them down.” Tapping your feet to a beat, walking up & down stairs, shoveling snow, carrying groceries, writing on paper … you get the point. All of these things require energy and that comes in the form of burning calories. Granted, none of these things are going to be the cornerstone to your plan but they can definitely help. As the saying goes…
How many of us workout in the morning but then head to our day job where we sit at a desk pretty much all day? Or perhaps we wake up, go to our jobs sitting at a desk and then head to the gym. A 1 hour workout is only 4% of your entire day. What we do in the other 96% of our day is really going to determine our overall success. For myself personally, I try to stand up at least once every hour and take a quick minute walk. Whether it’s just around the floor, to the kitchen to get water or just go work at the standing desks. I also find opportunities to take the stairs over the elevator. On an individual daily basis, perhaps these actions will not move the needle much. But consistently throughout the course of 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? MASSIVE IMPACT!
Lets do some quick math? (I hate math btw)
1.5 calories burned per 10 steps climbed.
30 steps climbed in a day
4.5 daily calories burned via stairs.
For the course of 1 year?
4.5 x 365 = 1,642.50
There are 3,500 calories in a pound. So by simply slightly altering your methods, you were able to burn 1/2 a pound for the year. Amazing! Obviously, that is a minuscule example, but I think it really drives the point home. With the advance of technology, social media and everything that makes our lives “easier,” sitting has truly become the new smoking. Which is even further reason why N.E.A.T. is such an important part of our overall health/fitness journey.
So there you have it folks! Don’t solely base your success off of your 1 hour session in the gym. What did you do today for the other 96% of your day? Being mindful of your actions outside of the gym can have lasting effects for the rest of your life.