In the past few weeks I’ve been talking to a few people about what it takes to get lean. It would appear the general consensus is that you MUST incorporate some form of cardio – which is absolutely FALSE.

I’ve been seeing way too many people in the gym trying to get lean by killing themselves using HIIT or some mundane intense cardio that they clearly don’t enjoy. Lets be clear here cardio has it’s place and I would definitely recommend some form of cardio that you actually enjoy, i.e basketball, or punching a bag, even a long walk is beneficial.

What I want to emphasize in this article is that to get lean it’s all in eating fewer calories than you burn. With an effective dieting strategy, this is totally doable and even possible to lose close to 5-10 lbs of fat per month. So let’s start by talking about what HIIT is and how we can actually create an effective fat loss strategy that is enjoyable.

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. A HIIT workout mixes shorts bursts of activity with even shorter rest periods. During those short bursts of activity, you work yourself close to maximum capacity. Because you are pushing your limits the workouts tend to be shorter – which is nice. HIIT is flexible and you can create different formulas for the work-to-rest ratio, but the most popular is 2:1. For example, you work for 40 seconds at your max and rest for 20, repeating this pattern for five to 10 sets.

Is HIIT effective for fat loss?

People who enjoy cardio believe swear HIIT is the most effective way to lose fat. Is this actually the truth?

The biggest thing I want to advocate here on level up aesthetics is sustainability. So if it’s something that is sustainable then that’s awesome. However, I want to inform you that you’re not actually melting fat off during the workout as some people believe. What you’re doing is increasing energy expenditure allowing yourself to eat a little more. This may be effective for some but I know getting my calories mixed with intermittent fasting is enjoyable and I don’t feel the need to free up an additional 300 calories. Yeah, you heard me 300 calories, realistically that’s roughly about what you will burn.

HIIT lovers stand by it because of its supposed excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) also known as the after burn effect. However, this is not as glamorous as it may appear. Studies reveal that the EPOC comprises only 6-15% of the net total calories burned. Which is roughly 40 calories if you burned 300 calories, the equivalent of a small cookie.

What does an effective strategy for fat loss look like?

BIGGEST thing that makes something effective is whether it is SUSTAINABLE or not. So I want to advocate that nailing your nutritional numbers is the key focus for staying lean and losing fat.

Your body is like a machine that uses energy to keep it moving. You have a total energy expenditure at the end of each day. You just need to eat about 500 calories below maintenance. You can use my calculator tool to determine how many calories you need to burn fat.

When you focus on giving your body the appropriate amount of macronutrients i.e protein, carbs, fat ensuring it has the proper balance to keep your metabolism running correctly. Then you will start to see yourself loosing weight and maintaining muscle.

You can try out my calculator to see how much protein, carbs, and fats you need.