No, not the kinda cleaning you're doing in a CrossFit Gym...

Bet you thought this article was all about how scrubbing that kitchen floor and wiping down those bench tops would contribute to those 2021 fat loss goals...

You thought wrong, tricked ya.. well, kind of... Hear us out!

Your metabolism is always working to burn energy. Many of you would have heard of the saying “calories in vs calories out” when it comes to body composition change or fat loss… so what does “calories out” really mean?

Let's really break this down...

Your body will burn more calories during periods of higher activity, then it will during periods of rest. But it’s important to also know that even during those periods of rest, your body is still expending energy. HOW you burn energy, otherwise known as your total daily energy expenditure or “TDEE”, can be broken down in to three distinct categories.


This is the amount of energy your body uses to support the functions of its organs and physiological systems, and encompasses around 60-75% of your total daily energy expenditure. It’s worth noting, that the brain alone uses about one-fifth of your BMR. So you can probably now understand why you don’t think as clearly when you’re hungry!


“TEF” is the energy your body uses to convert your food into MORE energy, or to move it to somewhere in the body to be stored as fat. This makes up approximately 10% of your TDEE.


“TEPA” essentially accounts for the remaining energy expended. This also includes the amount of energy the body burns after exercise to recover.

Breaking this down, there are two different types of activity. Planned exercise such as your regular gym, bootcamp or CrossFit sessions, and any non-exercise activities. Examples of non-exercise including perhaps standing up on the train on the way home from work, walking to the coffee shop 10 minutes down the road on your break, or even running for the bus!

While intended exercise is an absolute necessity to make real progress, other forms of activity we will refer to in this article as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), will play an important role in maximising your overall result.

Here’s a few things you need to know about NEAT, and how it will ultimately assist you with those 2021 goals:


There is a growing body of evidence[1] showing that sitting still for too long can have a negative impact on your health. By making a conscious effort to stand. i.e. working from a standing desk, or rotating desks during the day can help to increase the number of calories that you expend in a day.


We’re sure you’ve heard of the old “10,000 Steps Per Day”, many health organisations in this day and age promote an average of at least 10,000 steps in a day as an achievable goal for daily non-exercise physical activity. Adding in those extra steps in a day is an important component of achieving NEAT, that will in turn burn more calories AND add health-promoting activity in to your every day life.


Better yet, if you can’t just walk to work & you need to catch public transport, walk to the furthest bus stop OR train station to get those extra steps in!

4. CLEANING – yes, you read correctly...

Now, there is cleaning, and then there is the kind of cleaning that is the “getting ready to host a dinner party or have your mum in law over for dinner kind of cleaning”…

We ALL know the difference.

Getting additional tasks done around the house, or just putting that little bit of extra effort in daily is a great way to increase your NEAT in a day. Intention is everything!

So, it really does contribute to those body composition changes, but in correlation with a few other things.

5. Got kids? PLAY WITH THEM!

These days, there’s just about an app for anything and everything you can think of. But, there is NO app for spending extra time with the kids. Pull together a few extra minutes in a day to kick a soccer ball around, or walk down to the park with them.

FUN FACT: in addition to this having a health benefit physically through increased NEAT, it can actually help to boost neural activity and cognition… so really, you could be increasing your brain function as well. Not bad!

If your primary goal in 2021 is to achieve some serious body composition goals, NEAT is ultimately an essential part of that objective.

Just ONE pound or 500g of body fat can provide approximately 3,500 calories worth of energy. Increasing your NEAT by 200 calories a day, while incorporating a healthy nutrition plan, and incorporating intentional or planned exercise on a daily basis you will find yourself reaching your body composition goals much faster through your overall daily energy expenditure.

While standing up, or walking to the bus stop may seem minute on the surface, making the effort to change small daily habits through increased NEAT movement, creates a foundation for long-lasting success in your health and body composition.

[1] Nicholas D. Gilson, Nicola W. Burton, Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen and Wendy J. Brown

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