HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is very effective for getting lean because you benefit from both an aerobic and strength-building workout. If your goal is to get lean and build a strong and toned physique, there’s no better option than a high-quality HIIT workout. Let’s explore why high-intensity interval training is so powerful and some HIIT workouts to get lean.
HIIT Workouts for Lean Fitness
If you have limited time in the day to work out, as most people do, a great option is an HIIT workout. HIIT gives you an intense workout in a short period of time. Usually, you will combine a series of 6-8 exercises in a row, and move from one exercise to the next without rest.
By the end of your series, your heart rate will be high—ideally around 80% of your max heart rate. Once you complete the series of exercises, you take a break before heading into the next series (ideally between 2-3 minutes).
This first series of moves, that facilitates your elevated heart rate, is the first “interval” of your high intensity interval training. You should complete several series, which will give you multiple high-burst intervals of elevating your heart rate.
Do HIIT Workouts Burn Fat?
The Mission Lean app revolves around HIIT training precisely because of how powerful these workouts are – and we provide you with hundreds of variations on the app that are effective for both men and women.
By training at a high intensity, you are able to raise your heart rate and tap into fat reserves. This is exactly what you want to be doing when your goal is to burn fat. Getting your heart rate up to a high level (as high as is healthy for you) isn’t sustainable for long stretches of time.
If you’re really pushing yourself, you will probably feel the need to take a quick breather to let your heart rate come down. But just because you’ve hit a high heart
rate doesn’t mean you stop the workout. You keep pushing and get in as many of these elevated heart rate episodes as possible.
Achieving several “bursts”- intervals -within one workout will enable you to get your body into a fat-burning zone. If the HIIT moves are selected appropriately, you will also benefit from improved tone, strength and flexibility.
HIIT Workout to Get Lean
The key to a lean HIIT workout is structuring the moves in such a way that you can get the maximum out of your body. Figuring out the optimal combination and order is an art, and this is why a lean body app like Mission Lean is a great resource to have in your corner to point you in the right direction.
You want to combine aerobically-strenuous HIIT moves that up your heart rate, like mountain climbers, with less aerobically intense, more tone-based exercises, like toe touches.
The idea is to intermingle the aerobically-intense moves with the tone-based moves so you give yourself a “breather” between highly intense exercise moves – but you don’t actually stop your workout. In this way, you will get the most out of every minute you spend working out.
Try this 6 move HIIT workout from the Mission Lean app
- Jump Touches
- 45 Degree Lunges
- Shoulder Touches
- One-Two Touches
Complete 30 seconds of each exercise and move from one move to the next without rest. Once you finish all 6 moves, that is considered to be 1 set. Complete 3 sets. Rest 2 minutes between each set.
For hundreds of additional HIIT workouts, download the Mission Lean app and change it up every day with our lean fitness plan and 3-month workout program. Having access to a variety of HIIT workouts is a huge asset in maintaining motivation and consistency in your workout plan.
You never want to burn out from boredom and that’s why a lean body app like Mission Lean can be instrumental in enabling you to stick to your goals and continue getting in your HIIT training each day.
HIIT and the EPOC Effect
When you use HIIT for lean fitness, by moving from one exercise to the next without rest, you are able to benefit from an incredible intensity to your workout. You will get great tone and strength from the exercise moves, but completing them in a circuit with little rest will enable you to benefit from aerobic output. This is where the EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) comes into play and why you can burn the most calories from an HIIT workout.
The body needs calories to intake oxygen, precisely 5 calories to consume 1 liter of oxygen. If you can up your heart rate enough – to 80% of your maximum heart rate – you will reach what is referred to as the “anaerobic zone.”
This is the heart rate zone where you are no longer creating ATP (energy) through the aerobic pathways. Put simply, oxygen is not fueling your ATP (energy) production anymore, but rather the glycogen stores in your muscles. Hence, you are tapping into the stored glucose in your body and every minute you stay in this “anaerobic” zone you are working out with an oxygen deficit.
Why is this important? HIIT training is particularly effective in raising your heart rate, getting you to the anaerobic zone, and creating an oxygen deficit in your workout.
The difference between the amount of oxygen that you would have consumed had the aerobic pathways been fueling the production of ATP and the actual amount of oxygen that you took in (in an anaerobic state) is the amount of oxygen deficit you created in your workout.
Your body will have to replace that oxygen in the minutes and hours after your workout, and because it takes calories to intake oxygen, you are burning calories after your workout has ended. This is what many people refer to as “the after-burn” effect, and is exactly why HIIT is so powerful.
If you structure your HIIT workouts correctly and are able to raise your heart rate to a significant level with each interval, you will benefit from a very powerful fat-burning after-effect – and in turn continue to burn calories after your workout has ended.
HIIT Is the Best Workout for a Busy Schedule
HIIT can help you get lean because the workouts are short and you can fit them into your day. This is why HIIT workouts are so popular among busy professionals – because you can get a great sweat in a relatively compact period of time. Also, the
majority of HIIT moves don’t require any equipment and are body-weight based, and so you can even do a top-level HIIT workout from home.
Limiting rest time is the cornerstone for getting the most out of your HIIT workout, and incidentally is optimal as well for a busy schedule. If you can get in only 20 minutes a day of HIIT training, but do so consistently, even 5 days per week, you will begin to get lean relatively quickly. Choose from the hundreds of HIIT workouts on the Mission Lean app to get started.
Combine Lean Nutrition to Amplify HIIT Workouts
To get the quickest lean body transformation with HIIT training, you need to complement your workouts with optimal nutrition. Figuring out the best way to eat for lean fitness and HIIT workouts isn’t obvious – and a workout app like Mission Lean can help point you in the right direction. Let’s explore why you must eat in a specific way to get the most out of your HIIT workouts.
Why is eating for lean fitness and HIIT training different than other diet plans? The reason is that when you push yourself with HIIT workouts, you will be getting your heart rate up, ideally to an 80% maximal heart rate. At this heart rate level, 80% of the calories that fuel your body come from carbohydrates, 14% come from fat, and only 1% come from protein.
This is why you can’t be on a diet of chicken breast and salad, for example, when you’re looking to get the most out of HIIT workouts. You need to make sure you are fueling yourself with the right proportion of macronutrients.
The next question then becomes: what kind of carbs are the best for me to eat? Ideally, single ingredient, whole grains should be the main component of your plate. Eat brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and pasta (if you want gluten-free pasta, opt for rice pasta).
Complement these whole grains with a piece of lean protein, ideally wild fish or chicken breast. And then don’t forget to include healthy fat in your diet as well – avocado is a great source.
Structuring your plate with a good assembly of all the macronutrients – and including more carbs on your plate – will be incredibly important for you to feel energized when you commit to an HIIT workout plan. Yes, it may sound crazy that a company focused on getting you lean is advising that you eat carbs.
However, with over 10 years of research and development of the Mission Lean program, we’ve arrived at an incredibly effective formula based on the latest scientific research.
All recent studies point to the fact that Keto and low carb diets are actually harmful to the longevity and weight management of those who follow them. Not only that, but when you’re training in the HIIT heart rate zone, your physical performance will be hampered if you haven’t fueled yourself with a solid serving of slow-releasing carbohydrates.
It’s time to pursue a logical and sustainable plan for fitness, health, and weight management! Let’s do this. Mission: Lean!
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.