52 Weeks of Healthy Eating: What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise

This week, I want to look at two overlooked aspects of “exercise”. I want to talk about Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

EPOC- Your body is not done after you get done exercising. In the same manner that your engine in your car is not cold immediately after switching it off, your body goes through a similar process of cooling down. EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function (called homeostasis). It also explains how your body can continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout. A couple of cool things to think about: 1. An exercise that consumes more oxygen burns more oxygen. This equals an increase in net calories burned. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great form to utilize to maximize this effect. It is important to note that intensity not duration is the factor here. A long workout is not the answer, a brief intense workout will do the trick. Think of a HIIT Spin Class, High Impact Aerobics and Tabbatta Sets.

NEAT – Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting. Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic actions that culminate in an individual’s daily NEAT. This is why we focus so much on 10000 steps; it can lead to a caloric burn of 2000-3500 Kc/ week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Taking a 30-minute walk during lunch, parking farther from the entrance of the grocery store, taking the bus and then walking the rest of the way to work if feasible are all ways to add NEAT to your regular routine.

This week’s menu features some comfort food:

Ham and Potatoes Au gratin

Meatloaf and green beans

Also, this week, we will be feasting on Corned Beef and Cabbage as it is St. Patrick’s Day.

For funnsies – we made an animal cracker inspired cheesecake for Sunday’s dinner.

Breakfast is a bit different, eggs and ham steaks and oatmeal.

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