When people decide they want to lose weight, they should really say they want to lose fat, because that’s much closer to the truth, but that’s a whole different topic.
The normal procedure for fat loss in most people’s eyes is a couple of half-hearted weekly sessions on the treadmill, the rest of the time they sit on their arses their metabolism ticks over on idle.
The key to losing fat and keeping it off is to constantly keep your metabolism revved then really give it some welly when you’re in the gym – most of us are pretty good at doing that, but I see very few people who know how to stoke their fat-burning furnace throughout the day.
This is where N.E.P.A comes in, before I tell you what that is, I’m going to say that this wasn’t a term coined by myself, but the genius writers at T Nation – website you should read religiously.
So N.E.P.A stands for Non-Exercise Physical Activity i.e. anything you do outside of your normal exercise regime that can be considered vaguely active, and for me, this includes something as trivial as simply standing up instead of sitting down.
Studies have indicated that merely standing up over sitting down burns significantly more calories, so imagine how many more calories you could burn just by doing something simple like going for a walk…
Obviously everyone’s circumstances are different so I’ll tell you what I do for N.E.P.A
- I always walk up 5 flights of stairs to get to my flat
- I always walk up 3 flights of stairs in my office to get to my desk
- I go for a 30 minute walk at lunch-time
- When standing up over sitting down is a realistic option, I do it
Now, be aware that this alone won’t make you ripped to shreds, neither will doing all this once in a while have much effect, but if you do stuff like this day after day it will have a cumulative effect that will make a sizeable contribution to the amount of fat you carry.
If you have an office job, sitting in your chair for eight-hours straight is not good for your body composition. Break up the day with a walk at lunch, then make sure you have a couple of extra breaks, ascend the stairs to use the toilet or the water cooler, it sounds insignificant, but as I say doing this again and again WILL help you lose fat.
Just look at professions that require a lot of standing or general movement, and I’m not talking sportsmen or personal trainers; but construction workers, cabin crew, postmen – you see very few overweight people in these jobs compared to office or driving-based professions.
The take home message is try to avoid being seated for long periods, and if you can make your day more active in any way, do it.