NEAT is ‘non exercise activity thermogenesis’. It’s a measure of how many calories you burn throughout the whole day, not just during workouts.
Keeping track of your NEATs is one of the best tools you can use for weight manipulation. Yes, it’s good to track your steps, but not getting rid of exercise and replacing it with step tracking, it’s important to do both. If you just wake-up and workout in the morning and then you don’t move the rest of the day, that’s not healthy.
You can have really good control of your body weight, whether you want to gain or lose weight, by controlling your NEAT and your steps each day.
So you have a target step count that you do each day, and if you want to lose weight all you have to do is increase the step count, for example 20,000 steps per day if you need to shed fat. And this way you don’t have to lower food even more.
It also helps to motivate people to be active individuals, not just getting fit through a workout. How can you live an active lifestyle? Keeping track of your NEATs will allow you to stay leaner, eat more food, and just be healthier with increased blood flow and improved brain working.
For example you might be working out, doing Crossfit or HIIT workouts, and it can still be difficult to lose weight, just paying attention to this is a HUGE move in the right direction.
So for someone who’s trying to lose weight, let’s say they cut your calories to 1500 calories per day (just an example!), they’re super hungry, their body is tired. Your body’s smart and doesn’t want to be in a caloric deficit, so your body’s going to adjust to how much it moves so that way, the amount that you’re consuming is the amount that you’re burning. So it doesn’t have to work more. So your body’s going to adjust to the caloric load, for example you’ll stop twitching, doing random movements throughout the day.
So if you can keep your NEAT up to a certain constant level then you can keep your caloric expenditure at a higher level and it’ll be easier for weight loss.
If someone’s goal is building muscle, you don’t need to go crazy with your step count. You can stick to somewhere around 12,000 steps per day, which is pretty manageable and reasonable and won’t affect your lifts the next day.
If you have a PR day, you don’t want to push like 20,000-25,000 steps, but it is important to move the day before. To aim for something around 12,000 steps is equivalent to a leisurely dog walk and can even help with recovery. Obviously the amount of steps is person dependent.
Source: Armstrong, Ashley and Sara, guest. “Strong Sistas – Ashley and Sarah – Optimizing Carnivore with Humor and Science” Carnivore Cast, 16 August 2019. https://www.carnivorecast.com/podcast/strongsistas