Well That’s NEAT isn’t It?
Here it goes. The first of probably very few posts on weight loss or body composition. More specifically, how we alter it. Most of us start working out as a way to stay healthy and look a little better naked. You can admit it. I do. I started working out because my younger brother was leaner than I was after being huskier than me for most of his life.
The overwhelming majority of the research on weight maintenance points to the equation calories-in versus calories-out being the major contributor to weight maintenance. Yes macro nutrient ratios, food composition, and meal timing play a role, but a role that is smaller than the amount of calories consumed. If you don’t believe me or want to argue the point, just refer to the numerous science and nutrition professors who have lost a significant amount of weight by eating hostess cakes but doing it in amounts that are less then their daily caloric expenditure.
Why Isn’t This Working?
I have been asked numerous times why an individual’s fitness program isn’t producing the weight loss results they want. I ask them about their lifestyle and they tell me that they work a desk job, work out on their lunch break, and then watch T.V. all night after work. They train 5 or 6 times a week but can’t seem to break the body composition plateau.
Let me hit you with some knowledge, through research done by Harvard Medical School, and some other establishments, we have discovered that strength training burns between 0.24 and 0.46 calories per pound per minute. The variance in these numbers is likely due to differences in the strength training routines measured. Things like which muscles were trained, how much rest time participants received, and how many reps per set can all have an effect on the calorie burn. Because of the type of training wee do here at State Of Fitness, I would estimate the calorie burn of one of our workouts to be closer to the .046 cal/min. Ones thing that’s important to remember is that these are estimations.
Alright, so here it goes, the math in action. I’ll use myself as an example because it will be easier. I weigh 195 pounds. This means that in a 45 minute strength session, I would burn about 400 calories.
I also know that I maintain weight at about 3200 calories a day. That means that only about 12.5% of my daily calorie burn happens in the gym. That leaves 82.5% for the rest of the day. I’m not saying that working out isn’t important, far from that actually. What I am saying though, is that if you are having problems with you body composition goals, the easiest variable to change is what you do with the 23 hours of your day that you don’t spend in the gym.
So working out helps with body composition, but the moral of the story here is that activity during the day has just as much of an impact. It is called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). It’s the calories you burn while not exercising, and it can be your best friend in the battle against the bulge. It can be as easy as playing outside with the kids.
If you want help making this equation work for you, sign up for a consultation. You get one every month included in your membership.
Till next time,
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