NEAT:“How to burn calories without much effort ?

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  1. You must have heard time and again that diet and exercise is the only way to lose fat and improve your fitness levels. This is perfectly true. Read about NEAT

But did you know that there is another very effective and enjoyable, but less spoken of formula?  That is NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, and here’s how it can help intensify your fitness journey.

What is NEAT?

NEAT is all the activities that you do in a day that are not structured exercise. So, fidgeting with your fingers, banging your feet, walking to the market, chopping veggies, and everything you do contributes to your NEAT.

Does NEAT matter?

You will be surprised to know that NEAT contributes to a whopping 15-30% of our total calorie burn. It looks trivial but adds up huge, sometimes even more than structured exercise. That’s because NEAT happens throughout the day and Exercise happens for just 30-90 minutes in a day.

How does NEAT work?

The total caloric needs of every individual in a day are a sum of several factors.

These are:

  1. BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate, is the calories our body needs to maintain all essential functions like heartbeat, breathing, circulation, digestion, and other physiological processes.

*Fitter people have higher BMR due to better body composition with higher ratio of lean mass tissue.

  1. TEF or Thermic Effect of Food is the energy or calories our body needs to digest and assimilate the food we eat throughout the day.

*Protein is known to have the highest TEF among other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats.

  1. EAT or Exercise Activity Thermogenesis refers to the calories burned through structured exercise or sport activity.

*HIIT workouts are popular due to high EAT levels.

  1. NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis comes from the little things we do like climbing stairs, doing household chores, walking from living room to kitchen, running errands and so on.

So, the higher your NEAT, the higher will be your total calorie burn.

Related :How Exercise Reduces Stress and Anxiety ?

How should you increase your NEAT levels?

Here are 12 simple tips you can incorporate into your life right away:

  • Walk instead of using transport: If your destination is far, park your car a few blocks before and walk the remaining way. Walking is a great low-intensity, cardiovascular workout.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator: If you’re on a higher floor, walk down 5-10 floors, and then take the elevator. Do the same on your way up. Stairs are a great workout to train leg muscles like glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
  • Carry grocery/ shopping bags: Ditch the cart. Carrying bags doubles up as a weight training exercise for your arms, shoulders, and core.
  • Don’t be a couch potato: Spot jog, lunge, stretch, or push-up, while watching Netflix.
  • Do more household cleaning: Sweeping, dusting, mopping especially while squatting, can give you an excellent workout. No need to depend on the maid.
  • Walk with talking on the phone: Some phone calls can get lengthy and best way to use that time would be to walk around.
  • Walk while you’re waiting for something: If you’ve arrived early, take a walk around the block instead of just sitting and waiting.
  • Keep all essential stuff like TV remote, phone, water jug, coffee machine, munchies far away from you. So, when you need it, you will be cajoled to get up to fetch it.
  • Stand whenever possible: Sitting for long periods can be disastrous. Just standing is better. It strengthens muscles and bones.
  • Cook your own meals: While takeaway is tempting and easy, cooking your own meals will ensure higher NEAT doing all the chopping and preparing, and give you healthier meals.
  • Prefer offline shopping: Walk to the store, walk through mall aisles, browse merchandise, try on clothes, rather than online shopping.
  • Wash the car, walk the dog, spring clean, do the laundry, change bedsheets, vacuum the carpets – there are so many things that you can do.

Remember, everything contributes to your NEAT – which is your key to burning more calories without much effort. Just integrate it into your lifestyle and get healthier, more active, and fit. However, NEAT is not a replacement to healthy eating and Exercise. It should be done in addition to structured exercise at least 5 times a week.




Author : Sheetal Anand

About the Author:

Sheetal Anand is a passionate Nutrition & Fitness coach at

She is on a mission to help 100,000 men and women get fit easily without starvation diets and intense exercises. Her own health challenges turned her into a fitness enthusiast and coach.

She is certified by INFS in Nutrition & Fitness Science, ESS, and is currently pursuing ACE C-PT. You can reach her at email: or follow her on,

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