Damn it Carl! Just when I thought about hiring the kid up the street to mow my lawn, Carl, my next door neighbor and client, went out and bought a lawn mower and began mowing his own yard. To set the context, Carl (not his real name) came to Integrated Wellness Concepts in June of 2015 with the goal to lose body fat and get in shape. A savvy business man who knows he can make more income in the hour it takes to mow his yard than it costs to have a lawn service knock it out, I was convinced this was the play I was to take in 2016.
I trained Carl and his good friend Phil multiple times over the next few months and each session was awesome. They left the gym covered in sweat with the butts sufficiently kicked but neither their body fat or waistlines were changing. You could tell the frustration was setting in and Carl was beginning to ask the question many of us ask:
“Why should I continue to bust my *ss when I am not getting any results?”
But it wasn’t that simple. As we dug deeper Carl was exercising hard (when he exercised), not getting great sleep and really hadn’t changed his nutrition. Instead of employing the 85% rule (eat clean 85% of the time) he was very sporadic in how and what he ate. And, there was the sitting. Like, a lot of sitting. Being in the insurance industry Carl sits a lot and that was one of the biggest reasons he wasn’t losing weight. He was kicking tail in the gym but that was all the movement he was getting.
This is a very common issue with clients we personal train and coach. They have great workouts in the gym but work extremely sedentary jobs and are not able to take advantage of a little something called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT. Essentially NEAT is everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports/exercise. It can entail fidgeting, long walks on the beach and yard work. Any
movement not in the planned activity category can be classified as NEAT and it can be the missing piece of your weight loss puzzle. Just get up and move!!
Carl and I sat down in February to go over his nutrition and as suspected, there were several improvements to be made. Carl made the changes and began to lose both weight and inches around his waistline.
Then it happened. As the temperature warmed and the grass greened up, you can imagine my surprise when I heard a lawnmower across the fence and saw Carl in command of a shiny new Toro mower. Soon after that sighting, Carl began to text that he had dropped a few pounds. Then came another text, then another and another. The extra movement in combination with the nutrition changes were the missing pieces of his weight loss puzzle.
Will fidgeting, parking remote, taking the stairs or mowing your yard (let me be clear that this entails using a push mower…that is not self-propelled; I know I’m a buzzkill) be the missing component? Hard to say but it falls into the category of “it won’t hurt and it might help”.
The bottom line is to focus on moving more and sitting less. The more you focus on moving, the more you will move and that equates to higher levels of fitness, better heart health, more calories burned and lower levels of body fat. Be like Carl and you too can be NEAT.
What do you do to get more movement in your daily life?