Get Fidgety

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The science.

One of the hot topics around recent metabolic research is NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This is just a fancy way of talking about activities that aren’t deliberate exercise, but that burn calories

There is a subset of typically lean, low body fat individuals who spontaneously burn the excess calories they consume through activities such as fidgeting or tapping their feet. To get down a rabbit hole of research regarding NEAT, listen to the Huberman Lab podcast with Dr. Layne Norton or click here. The bottom line, though, is that this extra energy expenditure is not just responsible for the burning of a few calories. It actually adds up to hundreds or even thousands of calories. 

What we can learn from this:

Dr. Norton, as he typically does, gets too particular in the classification of NEAT as a spontaneous activity set by a select subset of the population who tends to do this naturally or involuntarily, but we think he misses the boat because we can learn a lot from this. Namely what we can garner is that extra activity throughout the day can lead to better metabolic health and getting shredded AF. In fact, there is a recent study by University of Houston that says that the simple deliberate act of doing soleus pushups (the simple act of repeatedly lifting your heels off the ground) while seated at your desk, in front of the television, etc., can have profound effects on your metabolism. Just this simple “exercise” can improve blood glucose excursion over 50%, reduce insulin requirements by 60%, and more than DOUBLE your metabolic rate when in a fasted state. 

How to apply what we know about NEAT:

You don’t have to be a part of this special spontaneously fidgety group in order to benefit from NEAT. In addition to eating a proper nose to tail diet and getting daily blood burning workouts into your routine, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your metabolic health and insulin sensitivity. 

  • Go for walks. This doesn’t have to be Liver King style 5 mile walks in the woods, though that is always good. You can go for a couple post-meal 10-30 minute walks after you eat. It’s even better if you do it with your tribe in the sun, stacking those levers. Park far away from the door when you go to the grocery. Whatever, just get extra walking in. 
  • Do micro workouts. We talk about this a lot. Do 10-20 pushups before you eat a meal. Do air squats while you wait for your food to cook. 
  • If you work a desk job, get up periodically and walk around. Do YTWs while you sit or talk on the phone.
  • Fidget. Tap your feet. Do the aforementioned soleus pushups. Don’t go overboard and get all crackhead with it, but move your body.
  • Get creative. Dance, goof off. Just get and stay active throughout the day. You’ll be better for it.

We can help:

For more information about NEAT and how to increase your metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity by incorporating movement into your routine, email our appropriately fidgety performance experts and take it to the next level.

Energy & Metabolism

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