increase neat (Non-Excercise Activity Thermogenesis)

Increase Neat – How You Burn More Calories In Everyday Life

Author: Anne Jonson

Diet & Nutrition Expert

NEAT is your key to higher calorie consumption. And maybe a more eventful life. One thing is certain: you have never burned calories so easily.

In the fitness area, the abbreviation NEAT stands for “Non-Excercise Activity Thermogenesis”. It still sounds cryptic, but it simply describes the calories that you burn off through exercise during the day even though you are not doing any sport.

Activities that contribute to your NEAT value are, for example, going to the office, cooking, shopping, walking the dog, doing housework and so on. Simply any movement that you do without the goal of exercising.

Calculate NEAT - This is how many calories you burn on the side

How many calories you burn through the NEAT effect cannot simply be calculated with a formula. After all, your calorie consumption through NEAT depends on how much you move. Age, gender and your general fitness and health also always contribute to your calorie consumption.

To get an idea for the NEAT portion of your daily calorie expenditure, take a look at your everyday life. How many steps do you take on an average day? How much do you ride a bike Do you stand often? The less sitting you have in your everyday life, the higher the proportion of calories you burn through NEAT.

The percentage of additional calories consumed with NEAT fluctuates between 15% and 30% of the total calorie consumption, depending on lifestyle.

NEAT is not your basal metabolic rate - understand calorie consumption

Attention, risk of confusion. NEAT is not to be confused with your basal metabolic rate or the afterburn effect. Your daily calorie requirement is made up of various energy sales.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

Your basal metabolic rate describes the calories your body needs to maintain the vital mechanisms – without you moving. These include, for example, breathing, the proper functioning of all organs and the supply of your muscles with nutrients. Therefore, the following also applies: the more trained you are, the higher your basal metabolic rate.

Food-induced thermogenesis (Thermic Effect of Food, TEF)

Food-induced thermogenesis is any additional calories you burn from eating something. Sounds contradicting at first glance, but makes perfect sense at second. Your body has to process the food you have ingested.

The food is broken down into its individual components, nutrients are transported to where they are needed and everything that is superfluous is eliminated. This process takes energy and therefore burns calories.

Sport independent activity thermogenesis (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, NEAT

Calories burned from NEAT are those your body uses for activities like climbing stairs, going from your desk to the kitchen, doing household chores, repairing your bike, and other everyday activities.

Training (Thermic Effect of Activity, TEA)

Exercise burns calories, that goes without saying. You burn more calories on exercise days than on rest days. You benefit from the afterburn effect, especially with intensive H.I.I.T. units.

Incidentally, no workout ideas are considered an excuse. You will find the right workout for every goal in our workout database.

The calories you burn through NEAT and exercise are often summarized as performance expenditure. The common formula that you can use to calculate your calorie requirement is: basal metabolic rate + work rate + leisure metabolic rate = calorie consumption.

But it is easier to calculate your actual calorie requirement with our free calorie calculator.

Increase NEAT - 7 tips for a higher calorie consumption

With NEAT every movement counts. No matter how small she is. The fidgeting on the desk chair, the train station you got off earlier or the 10 minutes of standing instead of sitting.

Taken in isolation, it doesn’t matter much. All of these small movements add up to significantly increase your NEAT calories.

Exercise routine instead of social media or snack

How often do you catch yourself a.) Checking your social media or b.) Getting up to grab a snack while you work at the desk? If you, if most, are fine, the answer is probably “too often”. Good for you!

This is your chance to establish a new exercise routine. Have you always wanted to learn handstands, do more abdominal muscle training or simply stretch more often? Great.


Every time you pull out your smartphone or want to have a snack, do a handstand, 5 crunches or a little stretch instead. The latter can even be done on the office chair if necessary. But getting up would be better for your NEAT value.

Bike or feet instead of cars or public transport

The classic, for those who want to move more: ride a bike instead of public transport or a car. Sure, the more exercise, the better. But baby steps also count: get off the bus one station earlier. After parking, walk up and down the street again. Whatever suits you. And the good thing: you can decide every day what is right now.

Stand instead of sitting

Whether on the train, on the phone, in a meeting or at your desk: just stand up. Standing burns more calories than sitting, thus increasing your NEAT calories. In addition, your cardiovascular system and muscles will thank you for the variety.

Stairs instead of escalators

Climbing stairs for 15 minutes burns an average of 120 calories. Think about how many stairs there are in your everyday life. If you take every option, you’re sure to get 15 minutes.

Nice side effect: climbing stairs is a great workout. If you touch down with the ball of your foot, the calf muscles have to work. If you concentrate on a strong footprint over the whole foot, you also train the entire thigh and gluteus muscles. Win win!

Carrying shopping bags instead of driving

Carrying shopping bags is functional training par excellence. And all for free and without spending any time. So pack your shopping bags about the same weight and carry them home instead of loading them into the bike basket or trunk. A backpack also counts. Incidentally, it is particularly easy to climb stairs with.

Walking instead of waiting

Whether at the bus stop, when your date is late or you’re just somewhere too early, just take another lap instead of sitting down. Aside from the effect on your NEAT, your intervertebral discs also love to walk a little between longer sitting cycles.

Entertainment stroll instead of couching up

Telephone session, podcast, coffee chat. Almost everything can be enjoyed while walking instead of on the couch. Exercise in the fresh air also strengthens the immune system and is a welcome break for eyes and head that are tired of the screen. Can you think of any excuses? Neither do us.

Summary: How to increase NEAT

  • NEAT stands for Non-Excercise Activity Thermogenesis
  • In German, NEAT means activity thermogenesis that is independent of sport
  • Exercise increases the amount of calories burned by NEAT
  • Lots of small movements in everyday life make a big difference overall.
  • The proportion of calories burned by NEAT in the total calorie consumption is individual, but averages between 15% and 30%.
  • The higher your NEAT, the higher your total calorie consumption.