Why do I harp on skill building, and having fun so much?
I don’t necessarily mean copywriting skills, leadership, or electrical engineering (although those all may come in handy).
What I mean is building more skills in relation to your health, fitness, family, and lifestyle. There are many ways I mean “build skills”, but here we’re going to talk about those indirectly related to exercise.
We all also know what we think of as fun, but it tends to end up on the opposite end of the spectrum when we’re thinking about our fitness.
Many people get so caught up in the “go to the gym, train until desired fatigue level, eat chicken, rice, and broccoli for all meals, recover, repeat”, but it doesn’t have to be anything like that, or it doesn’t have to be only that.
I want to meet people where they’re at. You’re always going to find your true success directly in the middle of what you want, and what you need.
But for most, becoming a gym-addict and meal-prepping-food-tracking-freak doesn’t entice them.
Sure, your “bread and butter” is going to be building muscle in the gym, and getting your nutrition on track, but what about the other 85% of your free time?
Let’s take a look at the Total Daily Energy Expenditure Model
*This model is a general representation, and many things can change these percentages. The point here is to realize the other factors at play when it comes to calorie expenditure.
BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate would represent your caloric (energy) burn at rest, complete inactivity, or sleeping. Just enough to keep your bodily functions in order, but nothing else. As you can see, there are many functions for the human body to carry out, and this takes up quite a majority of expenditure, but you’re not really going to change this one.
EAT or Exercise Activity Thermogenesis would represent your caloric (energy) expenditure in relation to exercise. Your gym workouts, at home yoga flows, beach workouts, runs around the neighborhood, home follow-along’s, those would fall into this category. It’s activity with the intention of burning calories. This for some can be much higher, or lower. If you’re spending more time and frequency exercising, this will obviously be a huge contributor to your total caloric expenditure.
TEF or Thermic Effect of Feeding would represent your caloric (energy) expenditure due to the cost of eating, processing, digesting, and storing food. Yes, eating burns calories, which is pretty sweet. Now, before you devise a plan to eat 35 meals a day to get shredded, there are important points here. This is just stating that there is an energy cost to eat, this is not stating this is an outlet to look into loopholes for fat loss. If calories and macros are of importance #’s 1, and 2, TEF would be like 846, and 847. That being said, protein has been shown in studies to have the highest TEF, meaning that the largest TEF caloric expenditure would come from protein. Another check to the side of “benefits of eating your protein”. *General recommendation: eat a minimum .8grams per lb of your bodyweight in protein daily.
Finally, to the point; NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis represents your caloric (energy) expenditure from walking to your car, folding laundry, taking notes, fidgeting, taking out the trash, grocery shopping, cooking, typing, taking the stairs, extending your arm for food, breaking a pop tart in half, adding icing to a cinnamon roll, you know, shit like that.
NEAT should be a large focus for your fat loss/body composition goals. The intensity will be lower, so it won’t be taxing to the point of hindering your exercise recovery. It can account from 15-40% of your total caloric expenditure (definitely will amount up), and can be the most “fun” way to increase your energy expenditure.
What hobbies do you have? What do you like to do? What skills do you wish to acquire? All of which, would fall under the NEAT category.
Do you like to hike? Hike on the weekends, and your week’s NEAT has increased, thus increasing your total caloric expenditure.
You like to go on a bike ride with the family? Take the family all around, and your day’s NEAT has increased, thus increasing your total caloric expenditure.
Like to go for walks on the beach? (or just going to the beach in general) Boom, increased NEAT.
Thinking about taking an archery class? Boom, increased NEAT.
Taking the kids to the park? Play with ’em. Boom, increased NEAT.
Work on the fourth floor? Never take the elevator again. Boom, increased NEAT.
Always wanted to try rock climbing? Commit to it, increase your NEAT.
Want to hop back on the skateboard? Commit to it a few times a week, increase your NEAT.
Have business calls you have to take? Go on a walk while you talk, increase your NEAT.
Always wanted to learn wood-working? Pick it up, increase your NEAT.
Become the neighborhood’s best baker. Increase your NEAT.
Ride your dirt bike, ATV, or mountain bike, increase your NEAT.
Get hooked on fishing, increase your NEAT.
Tired of your yard looking bland? Get into landscaping, increase your NEAT.
Always wanted your own garden? Break out your green thumb, and increase your NEAT.
Wander into your local sporting goods, or home improvement store and you’re essentially on the right track.
The aim is to do something you enjoy, that’s not sitting on the couch doing nothing. It’s about the non exercise activity calories you’re burning above your basal metabolic rate. Which couching potato-ing is hardly above BMR.
This is what I think of, when people refer to an “Active Lifestyle”
Sure, you’re strength training is going to set you up for longevity, and sustained results. Your nutrition is going to play the largest role in your fat loss, without a question. But, think about everything else.
This is why I’m always talking about skills, and having fun. It’s your hobbies that will keep you sane, and think about the benefits they can provide you if you don’t think so black & white.
There are endless options, and numerous ways to get you where you want to be, without sacrificing your quality of life.
Stop thinking exercise, nutrition, and the lifestyle included has to be “punishing”, and is “going to suck”.
Make it work for you! Determine what you want, and determine the principles to get you there, and then employ whatever methods, and tools you choose to get you there.
Have fun, & Get Better