TheFitDog Talks NEAT (aka Walking)

May 26, 2016

(This is a post from Frankie, the office dog)

Hey guys!

Have you seen the recent fitness news about NEAT? NEAT has nothing to do with wiping your paws, or keeping your biscuits in your bowl.

Apparently it’s about WALKING!

(Editor: well, no, it’s not just about walking…)

Today I wanted to talk to you about why walking is such an underrated form of exercise. And how you can improve your NEAT by doing more of it!

See the world from my point of view: here a video of me going for a walk with a GoPro on my harness!

(Sorry about the head shaking, it was raining)

Check out 01:45 where I do some Crufts-style agility!

(Editor: I’m so pleased there’s a video on YouTube of me in my men’s shorts from Wickes…!)

First up, some facts. I’ll try not to make them too boring (I can’t concentrate for long).

(This info is for humans, although I can’t imagine it’s too different for dogs)

There are 3 things which make up how much energy we use:

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) or Resting Energy Expenditure (REE).
This is how much energy you expend just lying about, breathing and stuff. Most of your RMR is actually from your internal organs, would you believe it! RMR makes up 50-75% off your daily calorie burn.

Activity (including NEAT)
Now this is obviously your exercise sessions, like when Nic goes to the gym. BUT it also includes all the activity and movement you do when you’re NOT at the gym. And this is where NEAT comes into it. More about that in a sec…

Thermic Effect of Feeding/Food (TEF).
This is how many calories you need to digest your food. It’s not much though, so don’t get too excited.

NEAT is “non exercise activity thermogenesis” (full disclosure, I had to get Nic to type that for me).

It’s ANYTHING you do which isn’t considered actual exercise. So not your gym sessions, or your cardio. But any other movement, activity, or stuff which moves your body!

Isn’t that cool? A massive percentage of your calorie burn for the day comes from just moving about and being active. And it’s completely within your power to increase it! Which is great, because not everyone wants to (or has time to) keep on increasing their actual workout sessions. But increasing NEAT is easier, more sustainable, and more fun!

Here are my favourite ways to increase my NEAT:

– go for an extra walk (often around the field at lunch time)
– increase my morning or evening walk (just take a different route, or often we will use my walk to post a letter or something)
– go up a hill on my walk (totally makes me huff and puff!)
– do some faster stuff as part of my walk (ball, stick, squeaky ball, ball-on-a-rope)
– spend more of the day outside (pottering around the garden rather than lying in my bed, or being at someone else’s house and having a sniff about)

How about you?

Here are some great ways for humans to increase their NEAT.

– use a standing desk
– get up more often when sitting at your desk
– walk or bike ride some of your regular commute
– walk more around town to do errands, see friends, post a letter etc
– be more active at home (DIY, decluttering, Spring cleaning)
– do stuff in your garden (even 10-15 minutes every evening would be good)
– wash your car
– do chores by hand rather than automating them
– use a basket rather than a trolley in the supermarket

I’m sure you can think of tons more but you get the idea!

The fab thing about NEAT is that is makes up BY FAR the biggest % of your calorie burn (well, the bits you can influence anyway – there’s not a lot you can do about how much energy your internal organs need). And there’s so much you can do to affect it!

Personally I think the best thing for NEAT is to get a dog haha woof!

Till next time….

Frankie (aka thefitdog) xx

PS Do you have a dog? What’s his/her name? How much walking do you do?

TheFitDog Talks NEAT (aka Walking) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


TheFitDog’s manifesto for walking (for National Walking Month)

April 22, 2013

*This is a blog post from Frankie the office dog*

Hey gang!

So today I am writing a blog on the topic of WALKING. Nic did offer to do it but I said leave it to me. If you want to know about walking, ask a dog!

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Did you know that May is National Walking Month? Well, every month is walking month as far as I’m concerned, but next month is going to even better.

I’m going tell you all about it so you can join me (in a virtual sense, at least) and we can all walk together.

First up, my manifesto for walking. I have spent a lot of time on this so please don’t laugh. I already have a touch of alopecia and I don’t think my nerves could take it.

dog's manifesto for walking

Here are some stats for you sporty folk. Did you know that 40% of adult humans who go to the gym less than two miles away actually drive there? And 13% of the ones who have to go less than one mile drive. You humans are so silly! Walk!

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The charity Living Streets asked me to ask you to walk more during May – National Walking Month. There’s Walk to Work Week (13-17 May) and Walk to School Week (20-24 May) so don’t say they haven’t tried to tempt you!

Living Streets is the national charity that stands up for pedestrians (mostly humans, but they care about dogs too). They’ve been the national voice for pedestrians for 80 years now and it’s them we have to thank for the introduction of the driving test, pedestrian crossings and 30mph speed limits.

Check out the National Walking month website and get signed up before May. I’ve had a look (with Nic’s help) and it’s really good, there are virtual challenges, log books and route planners, it’s really fun to use and there’s so much on there. Registration (which is free) is open now. You can also like Living Streets on Facebook and follow Living Streets on Twitter.

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TheFitDog’s manifesto for walking (for National Walking Month) is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


StepSuccess walking experiment update 4

September 5, 2011

Here’s the latest update in my walking experiment! (The previous updates are here, here and here.)

As my competition dates creep closer, I haven’t been striding around the county with the stripey dog as much as I was a few weeks ago. I’m running low on energy and need to channel it into maintaining muscle (and, you know, doing work and stuff like that!)

That said, here are the vital stats for w/c 29th August from my StepSuccess unit:

Any new PBs?

12,500+ steps on 14th August. That was whilst my husband was in Canada, and it was a Sunday, which meant I walked the dog twice (one being a longer walk than usual, because I have more time at weekends) and went to the gym twice (I walk there and back).
6.14 miles on the same day. Not really surprising!
2 hours 21 minutes on 1st September. I’ve no idea why. That was last Thursday and it was raining. I’d have to get up and find my training diary to shed more light on this little factoid and, quite honestly, I can’t be bothered. Sorry.

Since I started tracking my walking on 2nd August

In summary, last week, I:
– walked 41,136 steps (and plenty of undocumented ones!)
– walked for 8 hours 42 mins (and a few more)
– covered 19.48 miles

I think this will be my final StepSuccess update, as I really won’t be walking any more than I need to this week or next, and after that… well who knows what I’ll be up to! (I’ll certainly be walking with my husband to our favourite local restaurant, that’s for sure. I may not wear the StepSuccess on my shoe, though.) Thank you to StepSuccess for lending me the unit, it’s been fun!

TheFitDog says hi, and hopes you’re enjoying lots of walks yourself.

StepSuccess walking experiment update 4 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


StepSuccess walking experiment update 3

August 28, 2011

Here’s the latest update in my walking experiment! (The previous updates are here and here.) I’ve got two weeks to cover so let’s get on with it.

First up, an apology to StepSuccess! There are several functions I hadn’t even realised it’s capable of, so I need to clear that up right away:

WEEKLY DISPLAY
In my previous post, I was confused about why it seemed to display a week as Saturday to Saturday. It doesn’t. That was me being dim. Actually, the weekly highlights section simply the last seven days.

DISTANCE MEASUREMENT ACCURACY
A few people had asked about the accuracy of the distance/measurement aspect of the device, and I said I thought it couldn’t be very accurate as you’re not asked to input stride measurement (and it doesn’t use GPS). Again, my bad. The unit works by measuring foot contact time with the ground (which has been shown to be inversely proportional to a person’s speed). So, once it has captured this, that’s how it calculates distance and caloric burn. So, initially, the unit is accurate on distance to about 85%, but you can actually configure it to your own stride and this makes it 98% accurate. (You do this online, in the ‘devices’ tab above your activity board – there’s a ‘calibrate actiped’ option. I’m not sure how I missed this!)

Apologies, StepSuccess! I really should read instructions…

OK, so onto this week and last week’s walking stats!

My husband is now back from his Rocky Mountains trip (hooray!) so I’ve been walking a lot less than I was whilst he was away. I didn’t want to go from lots of walking to virtually none, though, so I’ve been doing at least one dog walk a day (apart from exceptional circumstances involving horrendously early starts and work days which turned into evenings), along with one or two trips to the gym a day (it’s about a 5 minute walk from my house).

I must admit there were a couple of days when I forgot to put the unit on my shoe, and then other days when I – *gasp* – wore shoes other than trainers for part of the day (yes, I sometimes wear heels!) However, here are the scores on the doors:

w/c 15th Aug

w/c 22nd Aug

Any new PBs?

Since I started tracking my walking on 2nd August

In summary, last week, I:
– walked 39,336 steps (and plenty of undocumented ones!)
– walked for 7 hours 28 mins (and a few more)
– covered 19.48 miles

And this week, I:
– walked 42,924 steps (and plenty of undocumented ones!)
– walked for 7 hours 53 mins (and a few more)
– covered 20.84 miles

TheFitDog says hi, but he’s a little too sad to comment further on his recent walking adventures. We saw a dead cat on our walk the other day and that made him sad. Then he heard that one of his friends, Boston, had to be put down. That made him really sad. Here is his sad face:

COMP UPDATE
It’s now 14 days (!) until my next comp (the NPA South East qualifier) and 21 (!!) days until the BNBF Finals. HOW has the time flown by so quickly? It has a habit of doing that, I suppose. I’m going to blog tomorrow with an update on training, diet, maybe some progress pics and probably a day’s eats, since that’s something a lot of people ask me about. Brace yourself for a lot of MEAT! ;D

StepSuccess walking experiment update 3 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


StepSuccess walking experiment update 2

August 14, 2011

Here’s this week’s update in my walking experiment! (The previous update is here.)

As explained, a company called StepSuccess sent me one of their pedometer gadgets to trial, and I put it to use whilst my husband’s been abroad – a period of time when I’d be walking to and from the gym once or twice most days, walking the dog at least twice a day and doing various other bits of walking too. It should be noted that I made sure I wore the StepSuccess pedometer for dog walks, and occasionally wore it at other times (I often forgot!)

So, what are the walking totals from this past week? Let’s have a look:


(The software automatically uses Sunday-Saturday as a week – I’ve no idea why!)


(I could custom-set the dates here, so this is Monday to Sunday)


(Since I started on Tuesday 2nd August)


(We love PBs!)

You’ll notice a big drop in steppage yesterday – Saturday. That’s because I was at my nephew’s birthday party and some friend’s offered to walk the dog for me… bliss… huge thank you to Tim and Hayley!

In summary, this week, I’ve:
– walked 64,848 steps (and plenty of undocumented ones!)
– walked for 10 hrs 52 mins (and a few more)
– covered 31.3 miles (although distance is debatable, as StepSuccess doesn’t measure stride nor use GPS)

No wonder I’m knackered! Now if I can just take a couple more steps to the kitchen, I’m going to have my dessert…

(The dog says to tell you he’s pretty knackered too. You should hear the snoring!)

StepSuccess walking experiment update 2 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


StepSuccess walking experiment update 1

August 8, 2011

Hi all,

As I explained in this post, I’m doing a lot of walking for a couple of weeks as my husband’s away (read his adventures here – from the point of view of his training partner in crime Richard of Richard’s TransRockies). So, as well as training once or twice a day, working, keeping the house relatively clean and tidy and doing all those little chores life throws at you, I’m also solely responsible for exercising our young, lively dog.

He needs at least two, if not three, walks a day. They need to be at least 30 minutes long (he’d prefer 45-60 minutes each time) and they need to be fast (he’s got energy to spare).

I won’t lie, all that walking on top of my own training is exhausting, particularly as I bring my calories down to come in nice and sharp for the BNBF Finals. But, we have a dog, so what am I going to do? He needs walking and, if I’m honest, I like walking. Podcasts, audiobooks, my wonderful Bose earphones (love) and a stripey dog on a lead. What’s not to like?

StepSuccess sent me one of their gadgets to trial during this period, so I can see just how much walking I’ve done whilst my husband’s away, and assess how useful simply walking is as a form of exercise. It’s my opinion that walking (at a decent pace) is a vastly underrated method of cardio. Why run when you can walk, unless you particularly love running or are training for a running event? Walking rocks.

So, I’ve had the StepSuccess clipped to my shoe for every dog walk since Wednesday afternoon (husband did his last dog walk on Wednesday morning). Here are some screen shots from the StepSuccess online software. You can click to enlarge.



In a nutshell

Since Wednesday afternoon I’ve walked 51,685 steps with the dog (this doesn’t include other walking, like to the gym and back, for meetings, around the supermarket etc)
We’ve walked for nearly 8 1/2 hours
The dog and I have covered 24.6 miles (although, as StepSuccess doesn’t require you to measure your stride, this is debatable)
I’ve used up 1400 precious calories walking (again, the accuracy of this is debatable since it’s not linked to heart rate or anything else specific to your body, just stepping)

I’ve been asked:

– do you have to measure your stride?
No, so I’m not sure how accurate the distance aspect of it is. However, used as a pedometer which synchs with your PC/Mac and gives you lots of feedback (which you can compare to other people in your “team”), it’s useful.
– what info do you input?
Your own stats – DOB, weight and height.
– is it easy to use?
Very! You just clip it to your laces and walk. Then take it off, put the USB stick in, shake the clippy thing around near the USB and it synchs in about 5 seconds. Then log on and have a look at your stats.

Stay tuned for more walkies! And let me know if there’s anything in particular I can address/answer on this topic.

StepSuccess walking experiment update 1 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


A walking experiment (StepSuccess review)

August 3, 2011

I was recently asked to review an activity-tracking device called StepSuccess. Since I do a lot of walking – both because I’ve got a dog, and because it’s great low-level cardio and suits my contest prep – I said yes. Then I thought… I can go one better than that. I’ll test it over a period of time and do a blog series about it.

My husband’s away at the moment, which means I’m doing all the dog walking (two or three walks a day – and we don’t dawdle!) For that reason, coach Kat agreed that, for this period of time, powerwalking with the dog should be my only low-level/steady state cardio.

I’m not sure what the experiment is exactly (look, I’m only married to a scientist, I’m not remotely scientific myself). Basically I’m going to use the device for all my daily walks, update here with the stats and feedback (probably not daily, maybe a round-up every few days) and then let you know how it went once the walking experiment is over. I guess what I really want to know is:

how far do I cover when walking an enthusiastic pup twice or even three times in a day?
what impact does this have on my fitness, energy output, weight loss?
how many steps do I take just walking to and from the gym and around my house?
– is there a level of steppage (<— possibly not a real word) I need to hit before I start seeing positive effects from walking?

I'll let you know how I get on. In fact I think I'll put all the relevant posts in a new category ("walking"?) In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more about the StepSuccess gadget, take a look here.

A walking experiment (StepSuccess review) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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