Exercising in and outside the gym!

With warmer weather hopefully on the way, you have a “NEAT” chance to make even more progress toward your goals.

In the fitness world, NEAT is an acronym for non-exercise activity thermogenesis.

Simply: This is the energy you burn when you aren’t sleeping, eating or exercising. Think of it as the stuff you do when you aren’t doing typical “exercise” in the gym.

NEAT is important as we have mentioned before: you are only in the gym a fraction of your time during the week. Therefore, you spend a lot of time outside the gym, and if you’re generally active, you’re going to get results even faster.

Think about this: Two identical twins have goals of losing a bit of weight and body fat. Both do a great workout.

Twin 1 drives home and then doesn’t do much over the next few days before driving back to the gym to work out again.

Twin 2 does the same workout, then bikes home. Once there, Twin 2 does some gardening in the evening, then goes for a long walk the next day. The second twin bikes back to the gym to train the day after that.

Which twin would have made more progress? And which one would probably be less stressed?

I’d like to encourage you to add in just a little non-exercise activity between training sessions this week. It shouldn’t be stressful or challenging. It should be fun. Pick anything you enjoy and do it. Here are a few suggestions:

• Go for a long walk and explore a new area nearby.
• Get your bike on the road and feel the wind in your hair.
• Dig up the garden and plant something.
• Tackle that gardening project you’ve been thinking about.
• Take the kids on a bike ride to a new park or playground.
• Walk around your local area and explore parts you haven’t seen.
• Take the stairs at work (and maybe do them twice!).
• Stand up to work or make regular stretching breaks.
• Get out on the water with a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.
• Volunteer to help a friend move or renovate.
• Clean the car
• Do some outdoor spring cleaning—scrub the windows!

If you like “keeping score,” you can often track these activities with a step counter. And you’ll be amazed how fast steps add up. Warning: checking your step count can be addictive.

The benefits of general activity: You’ll burn more calories, you’ll spend less time on screens, and you’ll be less likely to reach for snacks or alcohol while binging on Netflix for hours. Research has even shown NEAT can help you reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular events.

So come to the gym and sweat with us regularly. But make outside-the-gym activity part of your lifestyle, too. If you need any ideas for things you can do to stay active, talk to us!

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