Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 1/4

You Are Not Fat, You Have Fat

Stop! Read the picture’s words again, and then a few more times.

Let it sink in. It covers everything!

The Formula: (Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

Pretty simple, right?

I’m a big “break it down to the basics” sorta dude. We could talk about how your lower cross syndrome is affecting your quadratus lumborum on the left side and how it’s hyperactive in relation to your hip flexor strength on the right side and therefore you’ll need to purchase at least a 50 session package of personal training sessions up front so I can “fix” you and hopefully one day you’ll be able to reach your fat loss goals….

OR we could chat as friends and I can give you some info to chew (and hopefully act) on. The truth, my friend, is that it’s all about the details!

This 4-part blog series is aimed at two people:

First) The fitness nut, possible personal trainer extraordinaire who already knows where I’m going and what I’m going to say and mostly this is a pow-wow for us to know others in the world go through the same cyclic conversations we do. Easy: share the article if you feel the advice is worthy.

Second) The general population who for a lack of better words quite simply does not get it! (I could cite here: women can’t get manly huge muscles by lifting weights {I mean seriously, can you even do a push up? So how likely are you to get all she-hulk picking up non-pink dumbbells?}, you can’t spot reduce, you can’t flex fat you have to burn it, you can’t starve yourself into a 6 pack, a thirty-day squat challenge is barely going to a damn thing for your derriere, running for fat loss sucks but it’s most guys starting point…)

But I’m not here to pick on you, hell most of the fitness nuts don’t get it either! I will say this: it IS your fault for some reasons and NOT your fault for others when it comes to your body composition (fat vs lean mass) and your physical fitness. For many it’s a lack of knowledge. For others it’s just the lazy gene expressing itself!

Look, I chose this profession. Mostly it evolved out of a passion for the information and the art in applying it. Add that to decent communication skills and a superstar typing speed and here I am 7 years and 7000+ personal training sessions later. You could do that too! You could read every book, every internet article, test every theory on yourself and then on your friends and family, you could take some post-secondary education, you could fall asleep at your desk getting lost in the YouTube world, you could buy every great coach’s DVD or e-book product I own and digest that information OR you could pay us professionals to give you the abridged need-to-know details on how to win the fat loss battle of the bulge.

Most people who walk in my gym’s door blatantly admit they simply don’t do enough activity, eat well enough, work their muscles or their heart enough, nor take some time to de-stress, let alone get a decent night’s sleep. But some do. Some put in hours upon hours in the kitchen, being “healthy and active” and exercising regularly at the gym…but don’t get the results they’re seeking. So why?

Go back to the picture at the top, reread it a couple more times and understand:

If you’re not losing fat at the pace you desire (and feel you’re working for) then the balance of the details in the equation is simply incorrect for you.

Detail #1 (Perhaps the most important of all): NEPA & NEAT


Non-Exercise Physical Activity (NEPA) and its accompanying Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) are likely the single greatest factors as to the size you take up on the planet. The more you move, the less you’ll likely weigh. You sit a lot and oh boy are you quickly heading the other way.


Let’s take Jane, she’s a senior executive for a busy accounting company. She gets up in the morning, eats a small breakfast, hops in her car and commutes for 45 minutes to work where she’s at her desk answering 50 phone calls, at least 100 emails and having her co-workers interrupt her busy day quite frequently. She is so busy she rarely gets to enjoy lunch, instead she slams it at her desk. When her day is done 9 hours later she quickly hops in her car, heads home, helps cook dinner and then exhausted plops on her couch to watch her favorite TV shows, woken up by her hubby telling her it’s time to crawl into bed. Repeat, repeat, repeat.


Let’s look at Sarah, a stay at home mom with a 3-year-old boy, Bobby and a 1-year-old girl, Victoria. She’s up at the crack of whatever unholy hour Victoria wakes her, usually too early in her opinion. She’s rushing up and down the stairs to make breakfast, help hubby get out the door to work, then driving the little Bobby to day care to finally come home clean up the toys scattered everywhere, wash a few loads of laundry, talk to her crazy mother in-law on the phone for an hour as she’s got poor Victoria bouncing away and glued in her other arm. Before you know it, it’s time to pick up Bobby from day care but not before a quick stop to the grocery store where she has to lug the baby carry around, come home feed Bobby a snack, put the rest of the groceries away, get dinner ready for the evening, do some more laundry, and if she’s lucky she’ll get a 45 minute break from the kids once they go to bed, which was an ordeal itself. But don’t worry, it’s looking like a good night where she’ll get about 5 hours sleep!! Whoohoo!!


Tell me what these two women have in common? They’re both busy, they could both be any age (20-45), they both don’t get enough sleep, they both have a lot of stress, they both most likely do not have time for prepping high quality and frequent meals, they both have very little time for themselves and are probably both so bloody exhausted come that time that the idea of exercise would send them onto the floor laughing at your suggestion.



                 which one is likely thinner?


Jane wakes up and is in short order sitting 45 mins in her car where she ends up sitting at a desk all day, then back to sitting in her car 45 mins to get back home, does maybe an hour of shuffling about the house before sitting on the couch and finally sleeping in her bed. This gal doesn’t move. It’s sit, sit and sit. And yet she’s exhausted all the time.


Now Sarah, holy S*&%balls, does she ever get to sit? Even when she does she’s likely fidgeting with something or holding a baby. She’s got a reason to be exhausted. Hell, it was exhausting typing up her day (so I have big time respect for the stay at home moms)!


The truth is that the above question shouldn’t have to be answered. Sarah wins hands downs and should be thinner because of the insane amount of moving she does. And 8/10 times this will be the case when comparing apples to apples.


The other 20% of the time the variance will be because of other details (workouts, food, stress and sleep levels).


Since you’re going to watch a TV show at some point anyway, I’ll be so bold as to say take an hour of your life and watch this one with your spouse (and later make everyone you know watch it).  This fantastic documentary drastically changed how I approach helping my clients achieve their goals and has drastically reduced my exercise (in a gym) prescriptions.


BBC’s The Truth About Exercise: http://vimeo.com/51836895

(35:00 mark of video they talk about how high NEPA/NEAT makes a difference but seriously do yourself a huge favor and watch the whole thing, even if you know it all)


So when someone asks me if they should go from 2 exercise sessions a week to 4, while I encourage your efforts and will never tell you that’s not a great idea, I will always first enquire…but how many steps do you take in a day? Don’t know? It’s time to find out!


Buy a pedometer (they’re $10 for a cheap and good one) and wear it for 2 work days and 1 off day. Take the total and divide by three (days). That’s your average. If it’s below 7500 steps GET MOVING!! If the average is over 10,000 then likely NEPA is not the problem, one of the other details of the formula is.

22k Pedometer Step Count


This is one of my high work days (low is ~12K, best ever was 28K)


In terms of activity’s effectiveness on fat loss it’s best to look at this:

High Amount of NEPA/NEAT > Muscle Training > Cardiovascular Training.


Quite plainly, cardio sucks and should never be your first go to if you really want to have your time and effort equate to results.


What can you do to boost your pedometer count, get your NEPA way up and get NEAT working for you?? Anything. Park at the back of the grocery store’s parking lot. And carry baskets instead of using a cart. Forget how to operate an elevator for a week.  Clean the garage you said you were going to last fall. Paint the bedroom, that color is sooo 1990’s. Get out of your chair every two hours if you sit for a living. I mean really, if you can sit for longer than two hours you’re not drinking enough liquids to force you to the bathroom which is likely another problem to solve. And while you’re up, stretch your hamstrings, for they’re likely tight and a possible culprit to your low back pain and on your way back take a second to fix your posture! Limit your TV time to <90 mins a day (here are some scary stats for you: http://www.statisticbrain.com/television-watching-statistics). Remember: sexercise is exercise! Pretty please read this blog and really take it on for it may be the best advice you ever receive!

One last question: when was the last time you remember gazing upon the Big Dipper? Might wanna go check if it’s still up there!


The point is: Get off your ass! Often! For longer periods of time! Repeat! Period!


In the next installment I’ll explain muscle training (stimulation vs annihilation, free weights vs machines, how to program a great workout, etc) versus cardiovascular training (different types, which is “best” and when too much can back fire your results). I’ll help you figure out how both are important details within the formula and how best to make them work for the time you’re willing to commit to them. Because that is the point, no?


Of the 168 hours we are all allotted in a given week, I want every minute, every hour and every workout to count for something. Who wants to workout 4 hours a week, week in-week out, to look and feel exactly the same next year?



BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com


11 comments on “Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 1/4

  1. […] let’s jump to it, shall we. In Part 1 I made it clear: MOVE, a lot; walk, pick stuff up, clean your car, get outta your chair, take the […]

  2. Nicole says:

    Interesting info….never heard of NEPA/NEAT before and I thought I knew everything.

  3. […] make much sense without having already invested your time into reading or perhaps even re-reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this […]

  4. […] Part 1 – Introduction to “The Formula”, NEPA/NEAT and the importance of moving! […]

  5. Shane Mclean says:

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Reblogged this on callum23blake and commented:
    Really excellent article. Well written, insightful and full of helpful information

  7. […] This month more than any other your diet is going out the window. The weather is the pits so NEPA/NEAT is going down the crapper (and with it your fat loss). If you’re a dude you start talking […]

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