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Gear Up for the Holidays- Increase your NEAT

The holidays are coming and for some of us, so are those dreaded holiday pounds. I’m a firm believer in partaking in the sweetness of the holidays. I often say, “Christmas calories don’t count!” (In playful fun) But really, they do. There is nothing wrong with being a little more laid back around the holidays with our diets, and believe it or not, there are small things you can do to help keep those extra pounds from creeping in and finding a home on your waistline. You can increase your NEAT!

What is NEAT?

NEAT stands for “non-exercise activity thermogenesis”. In other words- the activities that you do throughout each day (besides your gym workout, eating and sleeping). Your daily activities such as cleaning the house, walking in the grocery store, playing with your kids… all these things require “energy”, and since calories are just a unit of “energy”, we will burn more calories when we simply just move more. It doesn’t have to be intense. Movement in general is GOOD!

Let’s think about it- If you workout for 1 hour a day, that accounts for 4% of your day. Let’s say you sleep for another 8 hours- that leaves you with 15 hours (which is 60% of your day). In those 15 hours, you have a much greater opportunity to burn calories and/or fat depending on how much you move during that time.

If you’d like an in depth look at what “NEAT” can do for us (and to hear some mind-blowing facts and science) check this podcast out- Andrew Huberman podcast #21. It is super science-y, but also super informative. He does a great job of breaking it down for us normal folk 😉

I’ve given you seven simple suggestions for increasing your “NEAT” below. Make it a goal to incorporate a few of them this season!


1- Park farther away- But it’s SO COLD this time of year! Don’t worry, you’ll be alright. Bundle up and park in that last spot at the grocery store (you’ll have less chances of getting a door ding too) And you know, it also takes energy to stay warm- shivering burns calories too! I shiver all winter long, no matter where I’m at. Maybe that’s my secret to being a tiny human… I’m always cold! When we park farther away, it forces us to get “extra steps” in. Do you know how beneficial it is to just walk? There is research out that suggests that just by walking, you can decrease your all cause mortality rate. Pretty amazing, right? Check out this article for more great facts. Get your steps in!

2- Take the stairs- Stairs are SO good for you! Almost like a mini workout in itself. In some cases, taking the stairs instead of waiting on an elevator or standing on an escalator can be just as fast or faster. The heartrate even gets up a bit. I swear stairs are one of the reasons Nick and I have never gained weight on a cruise (with all of that extra eating) We take the stairs everywhere!

3- Stand more- Some of us may have sedentary jobs. Maybe we’re behind a computer screen, at a desk all day. Make it a point to stand more. If you can get a standing desk, go for it. If you can stand, rather than sit while you’re taking a phone call, do it. At a sporting event, maybe you can stand while watching the game for a bit. And who says you have to sit while watching a TV show? If you’ve been sitting all day, stand and watch it! It may feel weird at first, but after a while standing just starts to feel like the norm.

4- Play with your kids- This one should be no problem, right? If your children are anything like mine, you may always here the words, “Mommy, Daddy, play with me!” In our exhausted parental state, we may not always feel like it, but remember these days are fleeting and one day you’re going to yearn to hear those words. Not everything you play with them involves big movement (sitting to play with Barbies or playing a board game) But some things do, and your kids will love it! How about a family Nerf war, or building a large fort together, or raking leaves and then jumping in them together? You’ll make lifelong memories and burn calories while doing it.

5- Clean your house – Everyone wishes their house was cleaner and everyone wishes they had more time to workout… Why not combine them? Make it a game! The sport of CrossFit has taught me to get the most work possible accomplished in the shortest amount of time. I turn everything into a time game. (Well, almost everything) I start a timer. The time depends on how big the mess is in the specific room, but let’s say I give myself 10 minutes to knock out the laundry room cleaning. I try to get the floors swept, clutter put away, and a load of laundry started before that timer goes off. It feels good to accomplish it! After that, I go to the next room. Maybe the living room gets 15 minutes allotted. I start the timer and tackle that challenge! Sometimes I even add some lunges between each room or a set of 10 burpees before moving on (That’s totally not necessary, but if that’s the only workout chance I’ll get for the day, it gets the job done) 😊 Check out Jason Khalipa’s book, As Many Reps As Possible and learn how to develop an 'AMRAP' mentality- making the most with what time you have.

6- Evening activities- For several of us, our evenings are filled with running kids to practices and frantically trying to squeeze in some family dinner time. If you find that your evenings are filled with just sitting at the kids’ practices watching them- maybe, you can “stand” while doing that. Or maybe you can go walk laps around the gymnasium, or outside of the school building. Put on a podcast to listen to on your phone or some relaxing music and meditate and breath while moving your body. Also, research shows that walking after dinner (or meals in general) can be great for digestion and other things. Maybe you can plan to walk with your significant other after dinner a few evenings a week.

7- Morning Routine- For those of us with school aged children, the morning may seem very active! Most mornings I feel like I’m speed walking from room to room, making sure lunches are packed, bookbags are ready, their teeth have been brushed, and the list goes on. It doesn’t have to just be a hustle and bustle type routine though. Maybe you can make it a point to stretch for 5 minutes each morning. My grandpa bends over and touches his toes 100 times first thing every day. He also curls his small dumbbells 50 times, works his little handheld grip machine for several reps and does other things. Every day, he starts off with movement. It’s not strenuous, but it’s something and he is thriving at 81 years old. You’ve heard the saying- “a body in motion, stays in motion”. It’s working for him.

There you have it. Just move more. Be intentional. You’ll feel better in the long run. Happy Holidays!


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