How to Get a Calorie Burn on a Busy Schedule.

If you are like the millions of Americans trying to lose weight, you’ve probably been told time and time again to increase your physical activity. While exercise is a small contributor to overall weight-loss, it’s still a critical component. Exercise is not just some calorie burner; it’s great for making your heart stronger, building muscle, relieving stress, and burning unhealthy fat!


The problem in today’s society is not a lack of options; you’ve got gyms, parks, home workout DVD’s, employee incentive programs, etc. You HAVE options.

But with work, your child’s schedule, your spouse’s schedule, making dinner, cleaning your house, and finding the time for “quality family time,” it can be TOUGH to utilize those options.

I used to have fairly similar views to Jillian Michaels when it came to exercise. I had a NO EXCUSES mantra and believed that EVERYONE had time to exercise. Then I actually had a baby and realized…”DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG. When am I going to exercise!?” It totally changed my perspective and gave me a whole new empathy for busy moms and dads.

 These days, I strongly believe your personal exercise routine should be what works best for YOU. Try not to compare yourself to other people because it might be discouraging.

Believe it or not, with a proper eating plan, you don’t have to exercise as much as your fitness instructor leads you to believe! I’m  certainly NOT killing myself with exercise anymore! But I AM doing a few other things to get the weight off; eating aside!

I might not look like that….but not many people do.


Since starting a desk job several years ago, I went from walking around a hospital all day to sitting at my desk 75% of the time.  I am not a lazy person, so I found myself looking for any excuse to get up and move! Our bodies were not meant to sit for such long periods of time! Even now that I’m working from home, I still spend plenty of time at a desk or sitting but I CHOOSE to make a conscious effort to invest in more NEAT activities.

What are NEAT activities you say!? Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.  Okay big word. But to sum it’s the movement you get throughout the day that is not “structured” exercise, but just spontaneous physical activity.

  • Do you take the stairs?
  •  Do you fidget; tap your toes, wiggle in your chair, shake your leg, laugh alot? 
  • Did you walk around the grocery store or the mall? 
  • Are you a waitress on your feet all night?  
  • Did you clean your house?
  •  Scrub your bathroom floor? 
Those are all activities that count toward the amount of energy expended per day that is not classified in the structured “exercise”  category.

NEAT activities have helped me tremendously since entering the work force and becoming a mom. NEAT helps keep me active and get a calorie burn, even with a busy schedule! I try to move around as much as I can, whenever I can.

With NEAT, you could burn an extra 300-500 calories a day! Set a goal. Get up and move around at least once an hour. Whether that involves walking down the hall to speak with a coworker or doing some leg lifts or yoga poses at your desk. Make a tally of how many times you can move around each day and try to match or beat that number each week!


Make NEAT a part of your everyday routine! Before you know it, you’ll start moving without even noticing (and maybe even losing weight because of it).


5 comments to How to Get a Calorie Burn on a Busy Schedule.

  • [...] for you, try to move your body at least once an hour, especially if you have a desk job. These are NEAT activities that will keep your engine burning. Before you know it, you’ll be moving without even [...]

  • Kayla

    Excellent tips! I’m an accountant in the midst of busy season and I’m sometimes sitting at a computer 12+ hours a day… I’ve been pretty down on myself lately for not having a daily exercise routine, but I can definitely benefit from some NEAT activities mentioned here! Soemthing I have tried to incorporate in my evening routine: if I decide to cook an actual meal, I do bursts of cardio exercises, push-ups, pull-ups, fast feet, lunges – whatever comes to mind – while I wait for my food to cook. (Also keeps me from snacking on random things in the kitchen!)

  • Love my new exercise lack of routine:) And I move a lot more now that’s for sure.

    Great tips and tricks.

  • I’m actually posting a similar post this week, about how adding activity into your daily routine can REALLY add up quickly! I mean, why not take the stairs or park further away?! It sounds simple, and it is, but it helps!
    It’s so hard not to compare my daily exercise with what I see on FB, blogs, etc. but this is a great reminder that what I do is what I like, and it works for ME!

  • Great post!
    It is so true! My new job can be pretty sedentary so I always try to walk a lap here and there. Like you said, the little things add up!

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