Archive for February, 2010

Fidget Your Way to Weight Loss? Sounds NEAT

February 26th, 2010 No comments

Burn calories without workouts

Some people naturally burn as many as 350 extra calories per day - not because they exercise more and not because they have faster metabolisms. They can do it because of something called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). And the good news is it’s something we can do too.

What the heck is NEAT?
I’ll start with the basics of how we use energy throughout the day. Our basal metabolic rate (BMR) describes the energy expended by our bodies when we are completely at rest. Each of us has an individual BMR that tells us how many calories our bodies need just to perform the most basic functions.

After that energy is used to digest, absorb and store food, which is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Finally our bodies expend energy through something called activity thermogenesis, which can be exercise or non-exercise related.

You may be surprised to hear that most people burn fewer calories through exercise than they do through NEAT. That’s because exercise is often a once daily (or less for some people) calorie-burning spurt, while NEAT describes the calories we burn through any sort of activity all day long.

According to the Mayo Clinic people who are very sedentary may only be able to credit NEAT for 15 percent of their total daily energy (calorie) expenditure, while in active individuals it can account for up to 50 percent.

Things that affect your NEAT
Occupation - People with active jobs can burn up to 1,000 calories more per day than those with sedentary jobs. But you’re not a hopeless case if you’ve got a desk job. Get up often to take short walks around the office or walk to a co-worker’s cubicle to give them a message instead of using email. If you’ve got a really great boss, convince them that a standing desk will boost your productivity.
Leisure time - Do you spend most lounging in front of the TV, or are you always moving? I’m not saying you have to go outside for a run, just puttering around your yard or organizing a closet can elevate your daily energy expenditure.
Fidgeting - People with fidgeting habits - whether they gesture with their hands while they talk, bounce a leg while they sit or twirl their hair around a finger - might just have discovered the secret to staying in shape. These people are constantly in motion. Even though it may not seem like much, a day full of fidgeting can really add up.

What you can do to take advantage of NEAT
Since NEAT is a combination of everything you do throughout the day, it’ll take a lot of lifestyle adjusting to get the full benefits, but there are many easy ways to start.
Use a push or manual mower when you’re cutting the lawn
Avoid drive-through windows
Choose stairs over elevators
• If you must watch television do a bit of household tidying at each commercial, and change channels without using the remote.
Get a little restless - If you have the urge to move your hands, feet or other body parts don’t fight it
Laugh out loud, and do it often
Tell great stories - the more wild gestures the better
Stand instead of sitting whenever possible

Boost Your Strength Training Calorie Burn

February 5th, 2010 No comments

Supersets help you get things done faster
When most people tackle the weight room, they start with a plan that includes straight sets. This method involves performing two or more sets of each exercise, with about a minute or more rest in between each set. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing straight sets, it does have some negatives, including the fact that your sessions take longer to complete and your body will eventually adapt and quit realizing results. That’s where supersets and all its variations come in.
What are supersets?
Supersetting is when you perform two exercise sets without rest in between. Some pros recommend you perform sets on opposing muscle groups, meaning if you do one set of barbell curls to work your biceps, you immediately follow it with one set of skull crushers to work your triceps.

You can also perform two exercises that target the same muscle, such as leg extensions and squats. This method is known as pre-exhaustion supersets because the first move isolates and fatigues the quads and the second involves them in a compound exercise. Post-exhaustion supersets are the exact opposite, you do the compound move first and the isolation move second.

Why you should try supersets
• Supersets are a great way to blast through a weight loss plateau because they challenge your body to do work it isn’t used to.
• They make gym time go a lot faster since you’re resting less.
• They allow you to reach muscle fatigue without lifting heavy weights. This is good for someone working out without a spotter or who doesn’t want to lift heavy.
• They make for an easy session. All you have to do is pick two exercises, rest, then repeat. While you’re resting after those two you can decide on two more, until before you know it you’re done.

Types of supersets
Pre-exhaustion supersets - See above.
Post-exhaustion supersets - See above.
Tri-sets - This one is pretty self-explanatory. Perform three exercises in a row instead of two.
Opposing muscle groups - As explained, this method involves working one muscle group and then its opposing group. It can be very beneficial because you’ll be working both muscle groups evenly.
Compound supersets - Two different compound exercises are performed in a row.
Isolation supersets - This is also known as same-part supersetting. An example would be doing incline curls followed by barbell curls.
Staggered supersets - This type of supersetting involves performing an exercise for a larger muscle group, followed by one for a smaller muscle group.
In-set supersets - two different exercises within a rep. One example would be doing a dumbbell bench press and transitioning immediately into a dumbbell flye.
Upper body/lower body supersets - It doesn’t matter which part of your body you target first, just that you follow up an upper body exercise with a lower body one, or vice versa.