The secret to staying lean: NEAT


Bradee Felton

January 31, 2024

Did you know that the secret to staying lean doesn’t have to do with exercise or diet? It actually has to do with your daily NEAT! If you’ve heard the term “NEAT.” and have no clue what it is or how to increase it throughout your day, you have come to the right place. This topic is something my Mountain Metabolic Coaching team and I are really passionate about implementing into our clients’ programs and I’m excited to dive in with you today!


N.E.A.T stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis which is all of the little movements that make up your day that cause you to expend energy in a subconscious way. They are activities that burn calories without being considered “exercise”. This can be your daily steps, being on your feet at a job, pacing, fidgeting, cleaning your house, gardening, running errands, playing active games, your hobbies that involve movement, etc. Essentially it’s any movement you do without thinking about it. This is a huge component of losing weight, and maintaining your healthy weight. If we are completely sedentary outside of your workout window, even if you workout seven days a week, it makes it really tough to have a high TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). 

Before we dive into how to increase NEAT, let’s take a quick look at what it means to be sedentary. You may think of someone who just sits on the couch all day watching tv as the definition of sedentary, but the statistics and data may surprise you. Statistically, even if you work out for an hour every single day, you are still considered to be sedentary if you aren’t on your feet throughout the other 23 hours. Daily step-count is one of the best ways we can measure a person’s total daily activity. 5,000 steps or less per day is considered sedentary, low-activity is about 5,000-7,000, moderately active is about 7,000-10,000, and active is 10,000 and above. This may feel deflating, but let’s flip it and see it as an opportunity! There are so many small changes we can implement to increase NEAT and make your daily movement increase.


These suggestions may seem small, and honestly they should! Remember, your non-exercise activity thermogenesis isn’t supposed to feel like exercise. These small, mindful shifts that become second nature add up and create a massive impact on your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). 

  • Parking further away in a parking lot
  • Walk or bike to work instead of driving
  • Take a break and step outside for some fresh air intermittently during work
  • Play tag, hide and go seek or dance with your kids
  • Pace while you’re on the phone
  • Go dancing!
  • March in place during commercials while watching TV
  • Walk around a store instead of online shopping
  • Set a daily goal of 30+ minutes of outdoor movement
  • Fold and put away laundry standing up
  • Do yard work, garden
  • Begin a new active hobby or sport that involves movement
  • Go for a walk after your meals
  • Catch up with friends or family on a walk together (even if they’re on the phone)
  • Opt for a standing desk to work at (or snag a walking pad for your standing desk to actually get some steps in while you type away)
  • Do 10-minute tidy at the end of every night where you walk around the house putting things away that might be left out
  • Even fidgeting has been shown to make a difference!

The possibilities are endless and by becoming aware of your daily movement levels you can get creative and find ways to move throughout your day that add up to create an overall active lifestyle! As always, you’ve found this helpful and are inspired to get out there and pursue your healthiest, strongest self!

Happy + Healthy Trails,


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