I understand better how to manage my calorie intake, but what about my output?
One of our previous articles discussed the energy balance equation and the importance of achieving a calorie deficit through different types of diets. This time we will focus on the second half of the equation, “Energy Out”, to learn how to further manipulate the energy balance equation.
ENERGY IN – ENERGY OUT = ENERGY BALANCE
“Energy Out” is also known as total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and there are four components of TDEE:
1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – the amount of energy our body requires to fuel basic life functions and stay alive.
2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – the amount of energy our body requires to digest and absorb food.
3. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – the amount of energy our body requires for low intensity physical activity outside of planned exercise, such as walking, cleaning, etc.
4. Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) – the amount of energy our body requires for planned periods of exercise, such as MMA training or weight training.
Increasing TDEE can increase our calorie deficit and lead to a quicker rate of fat loss. Although we can increase our BMR by increasing lean body mass and increase our TEF by increasing protein intake, both of these methods are unlikely to cause substantial increases in our TDEE.
On the other hand, we can increase our TDEE significantly through TEA and NEAT. In order to increase TEA, we can simply increase our frequency/duration of exercise, whether it be cardiovascular training, resistance training, or sport-specific training.
NEAT is often overlooked, however, it can play a big role in energy expenditure. Although we may not be able to track every variable of NEAT, walking is one of the biggest components of NEAT, and we can track our daily steps through a wrist-based fitness tracker or a smartphone. There are countless ways to increase your NEAT, such as taking the stairs instead of elevators, having a standing desk at work, shopping at the mall instead of online shopping, etc.
The World Health Organisation recommends 10,000 steps as the daily goal; however, 10,000 steps a day is simply an arbitrary figure and has no magical benefit. Instead of aiming for 10,000 steps, we recommend you to track your current daily steps, and try to increase it by increments of 1000-2000 every week until you can no longer increase your steps. Just like dieting, the best daily step count is the one that you can adhere to. So get out there and start walking!