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NEAT (Non exercise activity thermogenesis)

American College of Sports Medicine 58th Annual Meeting
Denver, CO · May 31 – June 4, 2011
Symposium on Non Exercise Induced Activity Thermogenesis, headed up by Dr. Levine from the Mayo clinic and his colleagues.

During the seminar all the speakers in the symposium stood for the duration of the talk, meaning even while one individual was speaking the others ignored their designated seats. Then, by the end of the talk the majority of the large crowd of mostly exercise physiologists were also standing.

Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, is an expert in N.E.A.T., or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Using custom-made data-logging undergarments with motion-sensing technology, Levine measured how many calories we burn through in our simple day-to-day activities. His remarkable discovery was that slender people are on their feet an average of 152 more minutes a day than overweight people. His ingenious solution was to invent a treadmill desk—a computer terminal with a treadmill taking the place of a chair. Noticing that the sedentary style of working barely used any calories at all, Levine showed that simply walking at one mile per hour while writing and making telephone calls could burn approximately 125 calories per hour. Levine now sells such “walkstations” for $4,000 each

The following is from Mr. Jacob Wilson’s research paper on NEAT (jwilson@abcbodybuilding.com):

Energy expended can be divided into basal metabolic rate, the thermic effect of food, and activity thermogenesis (Levine et al., 2006).
Basal metabolic rate is the energy you expel while at rest, and averages out to be about 60 % of total energy expelled in a given day.

Studies show that the difference between individuals basal metabolic rates (e.g. what makes one person expend more calories than another) is explained mainly by differences in lean body mass (Levin, 2004). This is one of the reasons why when you are dieting your best bet is to do everything you can to maintain the lean body mass you gained while bulking, if not gain additional lean body mass. The formula is simple 􀃆 when calories go down, anticatabolic agents should go up! This includes being extremely cautious about obtaining proper leucine intake, HMB, fish oil pills, glutamine, high protein intakes, proper pre bed meals, and the consumption of some source of protein in the middle of the night.

The thermic effect of food accounts for 10-15 percent of calories expended in a given day. Essentially eating, digesting, processing and assimilating food requires energy.  Just by upping the proportion of protein in your diet you can metabolize more fat.

The final category was activity thermogenesis. According to Levine and colleagues this can be further divided into activity associated with exercise and the calories it expends and non exercise induced activity or NEAT. NEAT concerns activities which are physical but fall outside of exercise such as pacing, fiddling, typing, talking, standing, tying your shoes, and other occupational activities performed at work or school Studies indicate that NEAT may explain the majority of the difference between individuals in terms of their energy expended in a given day. In fact, it ranges from 15-50 % of total calories expended in a given day depending on whether an individual is sedentary or active (Levin, 2004, Levin et al., 2006). For individuals who do not exercise this is critical. You will note however that exercise induced energy expenditure is manipulated typically through increased cardiovascular output.

Here are sample ideas of how you can enhance NEAT.
1. Instead of sitting in your office, move your computer screen and type writer up to standing level and spend the day typing while standing. All of a sudden your “desk job” becomes a standing job, and you will metabolize a substantially higher amount of calories per day.
2. When studying or reading a paper, try reading it while ambulating (pacing). Your energy expenditure will literally double!
3. Ignore the elevator and take the stairs. You might also not worry too much about parking right in front of the store. If there’s a parking further away, take it.
4. Chew gum!
5. When dieting be extra conscious of NEAT levels as it may be the main reason why you stop metabolizing fat when you diet.

The amazing thing about behavior is that it is modifiable with practice and experience. If you begin to implement these activities then they will become second nature.

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