How your body keeps you from losing fat on a diet

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N.E.A.T stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Also known as NEPA (non exercise physical activity)⁣
It’s the calories burned from activities of daily living outside of exercise and is the second largest contributor to your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)⁣
TDEE is made up of 4 areas – the biggest one being basal metabolic rate (the calories needed to keep you alive), NEAT, the thermic effect of food, and exercise ⁣
However the body can adjust NEAT quite dramatically, and is a reason why sometimes extreme diets and exercise routines (particularly excessive cardio) can backfire⁣
Let’s say you burn 2500 cals per day and you’re eating at maintenance ⁣
Then you cut 250 cals from your caloric intake and add 250 cals burned from exercise. Now you have a nice 500 cal deficit and will start losing fat. You’re consuming 2250 and burning 2750⁣
But then you decide to add another 500 cals of cardio THINKING that this will give you a 1000 calorie deficit and faster results⁣
Except your metabolism is not a calculator⁣
In this example, it’s common for the body to adjust the NEAT portion of your day⁣
After your hard exercise session, the body starts to conserve calories⁣
You’re a little more tired so you sit down more. You walk a little slower. You move a little less⁣
And very quickly your body is burning maybe 300-400 calories LESS per day in general activity. ⁣
Now that additional 500 calorie deficit has been almost entirely offset by your body adjusting NEAT⁣
This is known as the “energy constraint” model. The body adapts to extreme exercise by downregulating other physiological responses (primarily movement) to keep your TDEE within a certain limit⁣
So when you’re looking for fat loss, the total caloric burn each day is important, and your total energy expenditure will increase with exercise but tends to plateaus at high volumes of exercise as the body adapts to maintain TDEE⁣
This is one of the reasons why weight training is our key training driver for fat loss as it burns calories while you are doing it, keeps burning calories after you’ve finished and builds muscle which burns more calories at rest⁣

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