Why Going To The Gym Isn’t Enough – 101 Ways To Boost Activity Effortlessly | BodyPhi

Why Going To The Gym Isn’t Enough – 101 Ways To Boost Activity Effortlessly


Oct 16

You don’t need to be a fitness junkie to be fit and healthy!

Our modern lives are driven by convenience and speed - we want everything quickly and at the click of a button.

To our downfall, we’ve almost completely removed the need to perform any actual physical movement. Technological advances are on the rise, meaning activity levels are plummeting. [1]

Combine this with the abundance of food and overeating, and it’s not had to work out why obesity is out of control. [2]

Yes – it really is as simple as we are eating more and moving less than we used to!


Native populations, as written about in The Blue Zones, are the population who live the most long, lean and healthy lives in the entire world. Yes part due to what they eat, but also due to their incredibly active lifestyles. [3]

No washing machines, remote controls, dishwashers, telephones, cars or other such time-saving devices to effectively zap their health, movement and longevity.

Now clearly we don’t need to banish technology or move to an Amish community to become healthy. We do, however, need to focus on getting as much movement into our days as possible – not just to shed unwanted fat, but for a whole host of reasons I’ll go into below.

I’m not talking regimented exercise either – talk more about this too – just simple walking, stretching, lifting, bending, squatting … aka being human!

To put this into perspective: a desk-bound man takes only 5,000 to 6,000 steps a day – and I’m being generous here. That compares to about 18,000 steps a day for the average man in an Amish community. More than triple! And this is an average!

The thought of formal exercise as we’ve adopted in the West is just plain ridiculous to our unmodernised counterparts. Their lifestyles naturally include everything they need to thrive - with natural movement front and center!


Let’s take a look at the benefits of being active and how you can seamlessly incorporate more activity without adding stress or massively disrupting your already busy life.

A study of more than 200 overweight, sedentary adults found that men who walked briskly an additional 3,500 steps a day without changing what they ate lost 8½ pounds in a year. ~ Dr. Anne McTiernan | Seattle

What You’re Gonna Learn

  • Why being more active during the entire day is more important than the time spent “exercising.”
  • The big benefits of an active lifestyle
  • Simple ways to get more activity into your lifestyle

“Sharif I Go To The Gym – I AM Active”


Not so fast cowboy, this article is still for you and here’s why. Let’s take a more than generous example of a person who goes to the gym and exercises for 30 minutes, five times per week. This is 150 minutes of exercise per week.

However, you’re awake about 6720 minutes per week – 150mins is just over 2% of your waking hours!

Two PERCENT! What on earth are you doing for the other 98%?!

Traditional exercise alone without any tweaks to what you eat is a poor method to lose weight – the three main reasons being:

1. The amount of exercise required to lose a substantial amount of weight is far, far more than most can commit too. For example, one hour of intense cardio will only burn 500–600 calories – tops! That’s equal to a fancy coffee you’d smash in two minutes!

2. Guys tend to reward with food for working out … really dumb! Quick math here – one large pizza, a coke and ice cream for dessert is at least 1,700 calories. That would take about three hours of intense cardio! Yea - not fit enough AND you don’t have the time for this!

3. Your body naturally decreases something called NEAT.

Why Leading An Active Lifestyle Is Key To Fat Loss & Health

“What the hell is NEAT?”

Your metabolism is made up primarily for three parts:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): the calories your body burns at rest –such as digestion, respiration, circulation, removing waste products and regulating body temperature.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): different nutrients require different amounts of energy by the body to process them.

Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): everything that’s not exercise you do – walking, standing, bending, lifting stuff – even fidgeting and nodding your head … aka being human, remember!


Your BMR is correlated with how heavy or light you are. The difference between two people’s BMR is very small and once you’ve optimised your TEF with a high fiber and protein plan (read more about that here) – you’re left with the one factor you can significantly influence. [4]

Yes! - the non-exercise part of things!

The variance in this non-exercise activity from person to person can be up to 2,000 calories per day – that’s insane! [5]

Now whilst this variance highlights extremes of the spectrum i.e. chair-bound (300 calories) to manual farm work (2300 calories) – it does reveal a huge fat-loss potential to tap into throughout the day.

The more active your lifestyle, the higher chance of fat loss and a healthier, longer life. [6]

Only going to the gym just doesn't cut it.

When you consider the following points – you’d be crazy not to rethink how you spend your day!

Appetite & Hunger

Guys like to think “emotional eating” is a chic thing, but that way of thinking isn’t going to help your fat-loss efforts. Stress and boredom are the two biggest reasons we reach for food when we’re not actually hungry.

“Damn there’s nothing on TV … I know … donuts to the rescue.”

Sound familiar? Yea, stuffing your face for entertainment IS emotional eating … doh!


WTF Sharif, what’s this got to do with being active?

Okay – upping your activity levels works in four ways:

1. The reward part of your brain that lights up by eating can also be stimulated by activity. Don’t be lazy and eat when moving could do the same job.

2. By focusing on ways to boost movement throughout your day, you cancel out the chances of being bored. Being active with other things equals no time for mindless eating.

3. A 20-minute walk, for example, has even been shown to have beneficial effects on appetite regulation, meaning you’re less likely to eat when you're not hungry. [7] One step closer to tackling those Hunger Hurdles

4. Finally, activity is a far smarter way to relieve stress than eating your way out of it AND it lasts way longer too, not just a quick fix.

Stress Relief

One of the biggest payoffs of an active lifestyle is the awesome stress relief. I'm sure you've all heard of endorphins right? [8] In case you haven't, these are feel-good hormones your body releases during activity.

Walking, especially outdoors in nature, is one of the most natural ways to feel-good and destress. Combine this with a mindful-meditation approach and you’re on to a winner, and it’s so simple. [9]

All you have to do is keep the pace slow and pay attention to your footsteps, counting “one, two, one, two” and visualise the numbers in your mind as you go. Simple and immediate! Read more about how stress affects fat loss here.


Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for smashing your fat-loss goals, in fact research shows you can lose up to 55% more fat by optimising your sleep hours. [10] A smart way to do this is getting in some early morning activity, like a 15–30 minute brisk walk first thing in the morning. [11]


Many of my clients swear by this AM burst of activity, try it! Just park or exit your transport 15-minute’s walk away from work and feel energised for the day ahead as well as a restful night when you go to bed.

Brain Fog & Mood

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that activity and exercise positively affects mood and mental clarity. [12] In fact, increasing activity levels has long been prescribed in the treatment of depression and other mental health conditions.

It doesn’t need to be anything crazy to get feel-good hormones moving around your system, and hey presto, instant mood enhancer and clear thinking.

Check out these awesome brain scans – one after sitting with no exercise versus one following a simple 20-minute walk. You can see that there are numerous more pathways lit up and activated.


Heart & Lung Health

Yea, I get it – the long-term health benefits of exercise aren't as apparent and sexy as chiseled abs or impressive arms. However, if you're all in with the long-haul BodyPhi™ approach, then looking after your long-term health is paramount.

The positive effects of activity and exercise on heart health and lung capacity have been well documented. [13] [14]


Yes, of course you need a lunch break to fuel up with food, but guys often overlook the need to “fuel up” on activity too. You can easily get in a 30-minute brisk walk and still have time to enjoy a delicious lunch. Why not kill two birds with one stone and walk to lunch?


Remember my first point about boredom – it’s too easy to just eat when you've nothing better to do than kill time!

Not only does focusing on an activity-based lunch breaks boost overall productivity, afternoon sleepiness is reduced massively following a more activity-plus-eat approach. [15]


Self Confidence

In my book, productivity and self confidence go hand in hand. Every time you rack up a small-win in the activity department, the knock-on effects are massive – healthier food choices, less stress and anxiety and more confidence to repeat more of the same. [16]

As you’ll see below simple activities like squatting while brushing your teeth are such a no-brainer way to small-win your way to success and fat loss. #Momentum



Still not all in with this move more idea? That’s disappointing. What about a boost in testosterone levels?

Yea, sounds good to me too. Well – turns out if you’re body fat percentage is on the high side (15% and up), not only does fat loss boost T-levels – increasing physical activity levels too may yield an even better result. [17]

For men, healthy levels are important for general health, disease risk, optimal fat to muscle ratio, sexual function and just about everything else. [18]

No excuses guys – get moving!

Bone Health & Muscular Strength

Resistance training is a must to change your body shape and look great naked, however, there’s more to it than that. Just simple daily activity such as walking, doing the gardening or house chores ensures your muscles stay active and are used.

After about the age of 30, our muscle mass is on the natural decline, but you can slow down this processes immensely if you simply stay fit, healthy and active. [19]

Not to mention the awesome long-term benefits on bone density, heaven forbid you do have a fall in your later years – it will be far less likely to be life threatening. [20] That’s huge!



What if I told you that you could take a magic pill that could slow down the ageing process? Would you take it?

Of course you would. The good news is that you can – that pill is exercise. It is literally the closest thing we have to the elixir of life. [21]

We’ve just discussed how having a decent level of muscle mass as you get older can help with a number of things, but what if I told you that how much muscle mass you have is directly correlated with lifespan and longevity! [22]

Get moving. Your life literally depends on it.

Of course, we all are going to age at some point, I unfortunately haven't found the cure for that yet. There is evidence, however, that we can protect against a good few degenerative age related diseases such as Alzheimers, if we commit to that active lifestyle even as we age. [24]


101 Simple Ways To Be More Active EVERY DAY!

1. Get a dog or offer to walk a mate’s dog
2. Attend trade fairs & exhibitions more often
3. “Actively” play with your kids or pets often
4. Take the stairs at every opportunity
5. Walk and stretch on your lunch break
6. Go bungee trampolining
7. Play table tennis
8. Challenge your mates & family to sprint short distances
9. Visit galleries or museums regularly
10. Walk to kiosk to pay for petrol
11. Get active with your sex-life
12. Play football
13. Swim more often
14. Do calf raises in queues
15. Play golf or visit a driving-range more often
16. Stand when waiting for appointments
17. Keep walking on moving walkways
18. Take the long way through shops & stores
19. Take up gardening or help a friend that does
20. Exit public transport early & walk the rest
21. Talk, walk & stretch on your mobile
22. Do knee-raises during the commercial breaks
23. Take up scuba diving
24. Play cricket
25. Cycle to work or to meet mates
26. Carry your shopping to the car
27. Test your vertical jump on getting home
28. Do lunges between video game levels
29. Every 15 minutes get up and move around
30. Rollerblade
31. Take up fencing
32. Open your garage door manually
33. Climb a couple of flights of stairs every hour
34. Alternately stand on one leg while waiting
35. Body squat while brushing your teeth
36. Carry a basket instead using a shopping trolley
37. Go line dancing
38. Take up boxing
39. Stand & stretch while watching TV
40. Hold plank position while reading tablet/phone
41. Team up for a charity assault course
42. Use DIY car wash and vacuum services
43. Get a standing desk
44. Instigate standing or walking meetings
45. Join a hiking club
46. Take up parkour
47. Go abseiling
48. Park further away from any destination
49. Arrange a camping trip with mates
50. Take up Tai Chi
51. Play miniature golf
52. Climb a tree
53. Learn to juggle
54. Take up Salsa
55. Replace chairs with stability balls
56. Get a treadmill desk.
57. Wash dishes by hand.
58. Clean the house.
59. Take extra trips up and down stairs
60. Tap your foot while sitting
61. Do star jumps while the kettle boils
62. Plan a ski trip
63. Park and walk inside at drive-thrus
64. Go caving or potholing
65. Take up archery
66. Cook you own meals
67. Do extra squats when picking stuff up
68. Wall sit in the commercials
69. Paint, wallpaper & DIY your man cave
70. Go wireless & pace on conference calls
71. Play pool & snooker
72. Go horse riding
73. Rearrange the furniture
74. Take a yoga class
75. Stretch while undressing and dressing
76. Do a few push ups on waking up
77. Go bowling
78. Take self-defence lessons
79. Go skateboarding
80. Play tennis
81. Visit a theme park
82. Play Wii
83. Go mountain biking
84. Go paint-balling
85. Visit the zoo
86. Take up a martial art
87. Clean windows
88. Go target shooting
89. Chop wood
90. Go hang gliding
91. Rake leaves
92. Take up rock climbing
93. Go ice skating
94. Stand on public transport
95. Visit museums & art galleries
96. Go canoeing
97. Play darts
98. Go surfing
99. Go shopping at the mall instead of online
100. Fly a kite
101. Go water skiing


How to smash 10,000 steps in a day & burn 500–600 extra calories!

Get a fitbit to track your progress – here’s a typical day with a bunch of small-wins:




15-minute brisk walk on way to work



Hourly 3-minute walk – for water, loo, talk rather than email



Pace on telephone calls



Alternate standing and sitting – 2 hours standing


20-minute brisk walk at lunch



Alternate standing and sitting – 2 hours standing


15-minute brisk walk from work



10-minute brisk after-dinner walk






This really isn’t difficult guys. With some simple planning you can easily smash an EXTRA 500–600 CALORIES every day! Change nothing else in your life and you could be 16 pounds lighter in 4 months.

That’s over ONE STONE OF FAT just by picking up some of the super-simple tips as laid out in this article.


In A Nutshell

Our modern lifestyle and environment are zapping our potential and natural instinct to move.

Traditional exercise alone, whilst hugely beneficial just isn’t enough.

The benefits of being active go way beyond just looking good – including:

• Less overeating

• Less stress

• Better sleep

• Improved mood

• Positive effects on heart and lung health

• Increased productivity

• Boosts self-confidence

• Higher testosterone levels

• Improved bone health & muscular strength

• Anti-aging benefits

With a bit of planning you can smash an extra 500–600 calories a day leading to over a stone of fat loss in a short few months!