While as a Free Athlete, you have a regular training plan, being active is more than what you do during your training sessions. All the unplanned activities play a significant role in your total daily energy expenditure and your energy level. This is called NEAT, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and has several benefits, as Freeletics Training Expert, Florian Nock, explains.
The different ways your body burns energy
The sum of all the calories your body burns during the day, or your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), is made up of three parts:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy your body uses for maintaining the basics functions when you're at rest. It includes breathing, thinking and all the other primary uses of your organs. It represents from 60 to 75% of your TDEE.
The thermogenic effect of food (TEF) is the energy used for digesting food and converting it into energy. It's about 10% of your TDEE, and it can depend on the type of food you're eating. As an example, digesting proteins requires 3,5 more times energy than digesting carbohydrates.
Finally, Total Activity Thermogenesis (TAT) refers to the amount of energy used by your body for all the daily activities. It includes every calorie used for moving from walking to working out. It also contains the extra calories used by the "afterburn effect" you benefit from your training session.
All of your daily activities can be split into two categories; planned activities such as training, and the non-planned activities, which result in "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis" or NEAT. These represent all of your daily movements, such as walking, carrying groceries or moving furniture. Whilst the training you're doing as a Free Athlete burns a large sum of calories, all the small moves and tasks done add some extra energy expenditure. At the end of the day, this can represent more than 800 calories!
Every move counts
Because it's not only what we're doing during our training sessions that makes us active, we can train seven days a week and still be largely sedentary.
If we drive our car to go to our office job, then sit eight straight hours behind a desk, workout one hour, and watch television during the evening, we've been physically inactive during most of the day. While if you're working at a desk job, you can't be physically dynamic all day long, there are still many ways to be active.
All small steps, moves and physical actions can help you achieve a more active and energising life.
What and how much you eat impacts all your activities
While your diet has a tremendous impact on the quality of your training, it also affects how you perform all the daily activities. If you're not eating enough, you are more likely to move less and sit more. If you're not eating the right kind of food, you can feel sleepy and tired.
Four easy steps to increase your NEAT and be active all day
Walk the extra mile
Walking burns up to 220 calories per hour and has several benefits. You can add some additional steps all along the day by walking during your phone calls and lunch breaks or parking your car 1000 feet far from your final destination and walk the rest.
Change your transportation mode
Ride your bike or walk whenever possible. As a bonus benefit, you'll avoid the stress from the traffic jam.
Do your chores
Being active is not only about walking all day long, but you also can make the most of every daily task. Follow the Free Athlete household chore plan to turn boring activities into opportunities for getting healthier.
Researcher James Levine, PhD who has published several journal articles on the benefits of NEAT declared that "sitting is the new smoking". By merely standing, you use twice as many calories as if you were sitting. If you're working in an office job, trade your seat by a standing desk or just stand up and move every hour to feel more energetic and increase your productivity.
Being active is a journey and a way of life. As a Free Athlete, work out, walk the extra mile, move, do it the NEAT way and become the most energetic.