Q: I heard a personal trainer say it’s important to just move more when it comes to weight loss. I don’t think he was talking about exercise per se. Thoughts?
A: The trainer was right. We simply don’t move enough any more, and what he was likely referring to was NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT is essentially the energy we expend when we’re not eating, sleeping or exercising. Unfortunately, with desk jobs, TV watching and web surfing now the norm, the calories we burn doing general daily tasks has diminished greatly. Some researchers actually believe that the movement from a manual labor-based workforce to a desk-centric one has been the biggest factor in the obesity epidemic. They point to the fact that our collective calorie intake hasn’t increased much at all in recent decades, despite the prevalence of french fries, potato chips, soda, and frothy, high-calorie drinks. This particular issue is debated in the scientific community, but the fact remains. We are more sedentary than we’ve ever been before. Break up your workday with mini-walks, keep the TV off for an hour or two when you get home, and disconnect from cyber-world for a bit. These small changes will alter your movement patterns, which could ultimately affect your waistline and your overall health.
Q: When I’m motivated, my workouts and diet are rock solid. But that’s my problem — motivation. Any tips to help me stay on track with my goals?
A: Absolutely. Even those of us in the health and wellness field struggle with motivation from time to time. There are several things you can do to keep yourself motivated. First of all, set small goals. It’s important to know the big picture, but the journey to get there can be daunting, so break it up into smaller, more achievable chunks. Scheduling your activities helps a lot as well. If you treat exercise like an important meeting, it’s more likely to become a priority. Partnering up is also an excellent idea. It would be difficult to find a better motivator than a friend or family member keeping you accountable to your workouts, your diet and your newfound lifestyle. Last, but not least, pay for it. This may sound a bit odd, but if you have some skin in the game, the game dramatically changes. Buy a gym membership, join an online health website, purchase a credible book or throw down some cash for a heart rate monitor. Making an investment in your health will pay dividends in the long run.
Shannon Jungman is the club manager and Trainer at Anytime Fitness in Johnston. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at Johnston@anytimefitness.com.