Listen up! We get that your energy levels have decreased during quarantine. You're probably moving much less than usual but there are ways around that.
First, let's have a little lesson about how your body uses energy, and then get to ways you can improve that.
How does your body use energy normally?
The energy used in your body is called TEE or total energy expenditure. TEE is made up of three factors.
ONE: 🧘 BMR or your basal-metabolic rate.
This is how much calories you burn at absolute rest.
TWO: 🏃 Exercise activity level.
Most people understand this already, taking time to workout helps you burn calories. Crossfit, running, side planks, all burn calories.
THREE: 🔥 Thermic effect of eating.
Digestion takes energy, and unprocessed foods with more complex molecules take more energy to absorb. Protein digestion takes a lot of work.
FOUR: 🙋 N.E.A.T or non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
These are all additional activities outside of the higher intensity workouts, for example doing chores or fidgeting.
NEAT contributes to increasing total energy expenditure and helps you in the long run. Factors that influence your NEAT include things such as walking to work (or around your room and back to your desk), doing housework, carrying grocery bags and more. Sitting won’t increase your NEAT, but doing activities while you sit can do that.
Right now, our physical activity level has decreased and we have to try to keep it as high as possible at home. Aside from our daily workouts, we can enhance our PAL by increasing NEAT by doing various activities while seated or standing.
Best practices to burning more calories:
1.💪To increase your BMR, increase your muscle mass.
That way, even at absolute rest your body will need more energy to maintain itself. We made a video specifically on how to get muscle definition and maintain it with high protein meals.
2.⏰Set a routine to exercise every day for 20 minutes.
Now that we’re in quarantine, you can consider trying new workouts, like holding a side plank for 3 minutes. We give more examples of how to increase calorie output during a pandemic here.
3. 🍅Eat more natural, unprocessed foods and less sugary, processed ones.
If you’re eating lots of lean meats and vegetables, your body needs to work hard. Sugary foods are already broken down so your body absorbs it right away.
4. 🙋Move around more.
This might seem obvious, but some people stay stationary when they're not exercising. Moving around doesn’t always have to be a full blown workout. If you walk around instead of sitting when mulling over a problem, or become more expressive with your hands during video calls, you use up more calories. Here are some examples:
NEAT Ways to Use More Energy
1- Walk while you talk.
Taking a call? Walk and talk. Practicing for a client presentation? Walk and talk.
Walk or pace around whenever you talk to someone on the phone. Also consider doing some squats or moving from one leg to the other while you talk.
2- Schedule your moving breaks.
Schedule regular breaks during the day to go for a walk, do some light stretching.
Schedule regular breaks during the day at every 30 – 60 minutes to get up and get a glass of water, stretch, or go for a walk around or at home ( doing some laundry and dishes).
Set an alarm to remind you to move every 30 minutes. When it goes off, do some NEAT housework or random exercise – such as skipping, squatting, jumping jacks, stretching – for two minutes.
3- Get a standing desk.
This will help you spend more time on your feet.
4- Take the stairs.
Skip the elevators if possible.
5- Dance while cleaning.
Turn up the music while you clean. Wash your dishes with your hand and spend more time standing.
6- Step by step laundry
While loading the washing machine, take small steps from side to side. Fold and iron your clothes while standing. Rather than putting them away all at once, do it one by one.
7- Move while you are sitting:
Making fists and release them. Tap a finger, move your leg up and down, any movement helps. Try raising your heels, lifting and stretching out your arms, maybe even pull out that stress ball! Have some fun with it, try playing a musical instrument or playing with your pet!
Where to start?
From this list above, choose 2-3 points and start applying to your routine.
Have a planner and start writing your daily goal for your physical activity. For example when you completed your first NEAT write 7:00 am working out for 1 hours, 10:34 am 2 minutes of skipping, 12:00 pm 5 minutes of stretching , 4 pm 2 minutes of air squat, 7 pm 15 min of dishwashing etc.
What's the best way for you to remind yourself? Get creative, you can leave a note for yourself in the bathroom mirror, on your fridge, the kitchen table, wherever helps for you! Or just set more alarms!
Be consistent on your NEAT goals. Download our free 5 Healthy Days Guide.
Now how about the ways energy enters your body? You might be thinking, pshhh easy! I eat and sleep to get energy.
You will have less energy if you are not digesting properly!
Sorry! Even if you are counting your calories and macronutrients, that does NOT mean you are absorbing it all. Food that we put into our mouth may not equate to the nutrients we are absorbing. These discrepancies are because of a couple things:
How do you get energy from your food?
ONE: 🧘 The way your body digests.
Your body is different from your neighbour’s. Just like your natural skin colour or how strong your immune system is, these are biological factors we don’t have complete control over.
TWO: 😋 How you eat.
There are simple practices to ensure you are digesting as best as possible.
How to get the maximum amount of nutrition you absorb:
If you’re like our co-founder Robyn, you may like to inhale your food. Set a clock if you have to, and slow down. Try to increase your time by one to two minutes.
If you are stressed out, reading the news or working at your desk while eating, you’re making it harder for your body to absorb all the nutrients.
The easiest way to eat slowly and let your body focus on absorbing nutrients is to take the hour to yourself. Go on a lunch break, and rest.
These little practices go a long way. Keep in mind that calculating what you’re absorbing with 100% accuracy is next to impossible. Listen to your body and be mindful of the way you eat.
👋Need some help?
If you have any questions or want specific feedback from a nutrition coach, give us a call.