Fitness Couch Potato? Why You’re Not Like You Used to Be

You’re crushing it in the gym, hitting a wall with your results, and still wondering why.

Have you considered that you may be a fitness coach potato?

If you are truly crushing it in the gym, you hit the gym somewhere between 5 to 7 days a week.

You do high-intensity cardio, you do low intensity cardio, you lift high rep and low rep weights.

If you’re doing ALL those things and still you can’t get anywhere near where you “used to be”, Consider this.

Much of your younger life isn’t spent exercising, it’s spent being active. So how exactly does the metabolism (the calorie using part of you) work? I borrowed the below graph from bodyshapeshiftersonline.com

Your “metabolism” is made of four parts. The BMR, TEF, NEAT and GYM EXERCISE.

Your BMR is the amount of calories you burn at rest to keep your organs and systems working. That’s about 50% of your total calorie burning power. The TEF is how many calories your body uses to digest food and is roughly 10% of your calorie burn power. Your GYM EXERCISE is about 15% of your calorie burn power.

Now here’s the shocker. Your NEAT is your non-exercising activity. That’s how many calories you burn by moving, walking to class or work, fidgeting or moving your arms and legs and it makes up about 25% of your total calorie burning power….

TWENTY FIVE PERCENT……..2…5….PERCENT……. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now stop and think about you every day life. I don’t want you to think about how many times you go to the gym, or how many times you go for a run or jog. NEAT is none of those. I want you to think about your daily lifestyle. How many days were spent getting up, driving in a car for 45 minutes to work, sitting in a desk all day long, sitting in the car on the way home, then sitting down to eat and sitting on the couch to watch TV followed by laying down back in bed? Now contrast that daily lifestyle with the daily lifestyle of your fittest period of your life….

Fitness couch potato?

College would have been my period of lowest body fat. During that time I would walk an average of 10 miles a day, workout with weights, play a sport like basketball for an hour and then go out with my friends where we would walk, laugh and joke until the wee hours of the morning.

NEAT is so important because it allows your body to expend calories without tearing it down. “Exercise” is the process of applying enough tension to your muscles to cause damage…you get stronger when your body repairs from that damage. Endurance sports are great but done chronically, they tear your body down and send it in to a cycle of survival. They also increase stress hormones that some feel force fat cells to hold on to their fat. The number of clients I get who come over for help after having been competitive in endurance races like triathlons, marathons and ultra runs is astounding.

So do a quick evaluation, how much NEAT are you getting? Have you tried wearing a pedometer? Are you a fitness couch potato?

In the next article, “Recovery, the other side of fitness”, we will dive into recovery and how a lack of it could be stunting your results. The portion of your high intensity program that may be missing!

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