Episode 05: How to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Fat Without Actively Exercising!

Episode 05: How to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Fat Without Actively Exercising!

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu, 

Welcome to the Best Versions Podcast, where I help you unlock your fullest potential to move from average to excellence in Worship, Energy, Love and Legacy.  

I’m your Host, Rushdhi Ismail. A computer engineer turned nutrition and life coach. I’m going to use my experience of over 25 years in the personal and spiritual development field to provide you with practical tools to move from average to excellence, bi’idnillah

Today I’m excited to share with you a tool that I guess most of you have never heard of. That tool will insha Allah help you boost your metabolism and lose body fat without actively exercising.

Now don’t get me wrong. Exercise is incredibly important for health, and I’m someone who exercises regularly. Insha Allah, in the future episodes, we’ll surely talk about exercise and many other forms of workouts that are highly beneficial for our body and mind. But my goal in these podcasts is to show you, first and foremost, simple, zero-cost tools so that you can start practising immediately and move from average to excellence in the most crucial areas of your life.

So these initial tools I provide you with are simple and easy, and that’s important because I want you to implement these tools to improve your life, regardless of your age, gender, location, or other things. Most of the tools I provide are simple, easy and highly effective.

These tools will, insha Allah, certainly enhance your life quality, provided you put these tools into practice. I mean, that’s obvious, right?

Great, I started saying that the tool is simple and will help boost your metabolism and, therefore, will help you lose body fat.

This tool has nothing to do with exercise in the traditional form, and yet this tool can help you burn a whopping 800 to 2,500 calories per day. Yes, you heard right, this tool will help you burn a considerable amount of calories every single day.

And as usual, whatever I claim has a basis from the Quran and Sunnah or solid science.

The tool I’m going to mention is based on solid science, and I’ll link to a few studies in the show notes. You can check them on the bestversions. me/podcasts/05.

Now, what is this tool I’m referring to?

Well, the tool I’m referring to is NEAT. N-E-A-T. NEAT is an acronym that stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

That is the “science-y” way of saying that you can also burn calories with activity outside of structured exercise sessions.

So any activity that falls outside structured exercise sessions falls into NEAT.

So NEAT is at play when you are working, playing, running errands, doing laundry, standing, fidgeting, tapping your legs etc. Any “stuff” that requires movement during the day falls into the NEAT category. Every tiny movement except when you sleep, eat, and exercise counts towards your NEAT. That’s why scientists estimate that NEAT activities are responsible, on average, between 15% to 30% of your daily burned calories. 

Yes, you heard it right. It’s between 15-30% of your overall calories burned, whereas a 30 minutes exercise session a day accounts for around 5% of your daily burned calories. 

So, as you can see, NEAT, which is a non-exercise activity, has a lion share in burning calories. So if you want to burn more calories, simply increase your NEAT activities. 

The fact is, for every living moment, you expend energy. So, logically the more you exert yourself, the more fat you burn.

Having said that, NEAT is certainly not a replacement for exercise, as exercise is super beneficial for our body and mind, and everyone should strive to get a good portion of exercise in our life. However, if you are a busy mum, dad or student and don’t always get the time to do your workouts, this tool NEAT comes in very handy.

Now, before we look at how to implement this tool in our lives, let’s quickly try to understand how such subtle movements throughout the day contribute to a big fat-burning effect.

For this reason, I need to briefly explain how fat burning actually works.

As far as fat burning is concerned, it’s a two-part process. The first part deals with mobilising the body fat from the fat cells. Basically, it’s about getting those stored fat cells to move around in the bloodstream. Once the fat is mobilised, the body can use it for energy, also called fat oxidisation or utilisation. That’s the second part of the fat-burning process.

I hope it’s easy to understand. Let me repeat. There are two parts to the fat-burning process. The first part is about mobilising the fat from the cell, and the second part is about using that fat as energy.

One of the tools that will help you mobilise and oxidise your fat is subtle movements. Yes, all these little fidgety movements you do improve that process. These low-level movements of our limbs and our musculature actually trigger a neurotransmitter called epinephrine. 

Epinephrine plays a crucial role in stimulating the mobilisation of fat and oxidising that fat at higher rates. As you see, there is so much neurochemistry behind losing weight. 

Researchers say that people who engage in such frequent subtle movements burn more calories than those who exercise for a few minutes a day and then spend most of their time sitting. That’s because your bodily activity triggers the release of epinephrine neurotransmitters which helps mobilise and oxidise body fat. 

Now understanding this piece of science will help you understand certain mysteries. I’m sure you’ve come across people who can eat a lot and yet maintain their weight. Those are the people who go for the second or third serving of chocolate cakes or doughnuts. I always wondered why they never put on more weight. 

Only after learning the science of NEAT do I understand that those people who eat more than others are also people who are very active in their lives. They are kind of always on the move.

It turns out that it’s not the kind of caloric burn that we normally think of, like running, lifting weights, swimming, or doing any other forms of large coordinated or rhythmic body movements. Rather, the studies indicate that our low-level activities oxidise our body fat in a different mechanism than when we exercise.

While both exercise and NEAT activities are important, recent studies confirm that NEAT is more important than exercise to weight management and overall well-being. That’s because, as I said before, NEAT is responsible for up to 30% of our daily caloric burn. By increasing our NEAT activities, we can surely increase burning more fat.

So if you are looking for ways to lose some weight or maintain your healthy weight, NEAT is something you need to incorporate into your life.

But NEAT activities help in other ways too. They are also associated with enhanced mental clarity and energy. Published studies from several universities show improved academic performance among students who regularly move throughout their school day.

Also, office workers can achieve more mental clarity and enhanced energy by moving every 30-60 minutes during their workday. I try to move for 30 seconds every 30 minutes while working on my computer. I call it the 30-30 protocol. Move for 30 seconds every 30 minutes.

I take a few steps or do a few body squats or, at times, do a few push-ups or burpees during these 30 seconds. It’s entirely up to you what you want to do. But make sure you do move. Make sure that you disengage from inactivity and do some form of activity.

These consistent daily movements also contribute to lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. In fact, they even improve your sleep quality, improve joint health and regulate your mood.

Actually, the list of benefits for the NEAT activities is really long. That’s because Allah subuhanawuta’la created our body to move. When we move, we flourish; when we are sedentary, we suffer.

Now, given the constraints in your life, how can you put this NEAT tool to work?

Let me give you a couple of examples from my life, how I increase my movements.

First and foremost, I use this 30-30 protocol very often. I make sure I move every 30 minutes. 

Then, I also include a lot of short walks during the day. If I need to call someone, I start walking while talking to them. 

And I also use a standing desk to work. That helps me spend a considerable amount of time standing during my working hours. 

Then, I rarely ever use the lift. I take the stairs, and I often love running on the stairs. 

Instead of looking for the nearest parking, I look for the furthest one so that I can move a bit more. 

Each and every one of us is different, and our circumstances are different too. However, by being a bit more creative, every one of us can make use of this simple tool by increasing subtle movements throughout the day. 

Now, it’s entirely up to you how you want to put this tool into practice. I sincerely hope I was helpful to nudge you towards more movements in your life. 

That’s all from me for today. 

You’ll find the show notes and the transcript of this podcast at bestversions.me/podcasts/05.

Thanks so very much for listening to my podcast. I sincerely pray that this episode helps you go from average to excellence in worship, energy, love and legacy. 

And last but not least, please subscribe to my podcast, and share the podcast with your family and friends. I’m confident you can make a difference in others’ lives by sharing this kind of information with them.

Until we meet in the next episode insha Allah next Friday, I pray that Allah subuhanawuta’la showers his choicest blessings on you and your family. 

Love you all for the sake of Allah subuhanawuta’la

And, as usual, let me end the podcast with the greetings of Jannah, Asssalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu.

Show Notes

Here are two studies that confirm what I’ve mentioned in the podcast.

Sensory and sympathetic nervous system control of white adipose tissue lipolysis

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)