The following is a recent interview with Jon Pearlman, founder of Mission Lean, the leading app for lean fitness. The discussion spans across many themes that include: what is wrong with the modern fitness industry, what is the best combination of workouts and diet to get lean, and why you should download a lean fitness app like Mission Lean to help you achieve your goals.
Thanks for having this discussion with us. What motivated you to start Mission Lean and why is it different from other fitness apps?
Jon Pearlman: Mission Lean was started because there was a gaping hole in the fitness industry for a sustainable and logical system that got people results long-term, instead of quick- fixes that don’t last.
The current trends of what is being offered out there in fitness and nutrition is pushing people towards a weight-lifting, body-building mentality. People are focusing their workout around weight-lifting and then eating a diet based around protein. This is seriously hampering the weight management and long-run fitness of those who follow this approach. Not only that, but recent studies have come out showing that a diet based around protein actually hampers performance and is horrible for long-run health and wellbeing.
Let’s think about body builders for a minute. They are constantly going through weight swings of bulking up (gaining weight) and then “shredding” that weight for shows. For somebody who wants to follow a fitness program for sustainable weight management and a lasting, stable physique, this simply doesn’t work. In fact, following this method is harmful because people neglect the two most important components of a sustainable fitness and diet plan: a well- rounded diet of macronutrients and workouts based around cardiovascular fitness.
Our goal is to pioneer a system that aims to build you up from the ground up so you know exactly how to work out and eat. Our goal is that after using our app, you will never need another app or fitness program again because you will know how to maintain an incredible physique by yourself.
Interesting. Why is Mission Lean different than lifting weights then? Why would someone benefit from this type of workout instead?
JP: When you train with lean fitness, which is the method Mission Lean is pioneering, you are tapping into a physiological response within your body. Our workouts raise your heart rate and keep it elevated throughout the training, whereas a weight-based fitness routine revolves around heavier lifts and a lot of rest time between sets.
When scientists studied the difference between people who were training with lean fitness and those who were following a weight-based training program, they noticed that only the lean fitness exercisers benefited from the most profound changes within their body—at the biological level I’m talking. Improved metabolism. Increased cellular response. And overall more calories burned over a longer period of time. From a physiological standpoint, lean fitness is the gold standard when it comes to changing your body at the biological level. And the benefits of doing this are improved metabolism, better weight management, and increased cardiovascular fitness and a longer and healthier lifespan.
How does diet factor into a lean fitness plan?
When you train with lean fitness, your metabolism changes for the better and so you won’t gain weight as easily. Additionally, because you are raising your heart rate and stimulating your body aerobically, you will have an increased gauge on your appetite and likely won’t overeat. Right away, these two benefits will have an immediate result on your diet and how you eat.
But more generally, Mission Lean provides a well-rounded diet—based around healthy whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein—that provides the full rainbow of macronutrients. We provide recipes, meal plans, and nutrition coaching on the app and the idea is to educate people in how they can eat healthy foods, not be hungry, and have a positive relationship with food. Most importantly, our philosophy is to “eat and train, not exercise and diet.” We want our subscribers to never go to sleep hungry or have weight swings. This can only be achieved through the proper balance between your workouts and diet.
So are you saying that carbs a part of a “lean” diet plan? It seems like carbs are the enemy these days so please explain…
Yes, carbs are a part of a lean diet plan. This idea that a diet centered around carbs can actually help you get fitter, leaner and stronger seems completely counter to everything that is being offered out there these days. Think a bit deeper though about why they’re telling you not to eat carbs, though. With this system in place, you’re constantly coming back to the fitness industry, supplement, and meat industry for more product. The meat industry is thriving because they’re telling you to eat 5 chicken breasts a day. The gym industry is too (the majority of Mission Lean workouts don’t require any equipment—and this is the way you should be working out). The supplement industry is thriving. They’re constantly selling you more whey protein, powders and shakes, all of which are heavily processed and contain artificial ingredients.
The Mission Lean approach, which in many ways stems from the themes I discuss in my book The Lean Body Manual, is the anti of all of this. I’ve been fortunate enough to sort through the mess. You don’t need any of this stuff. It’s hampering your performance and health. These are billion-dollar industries—but if people used a little common sense, none of it would exist.
After all of that, it actually sounds like Mission Lean isn’t such a mainstream workout plan then? How did you get here?
Mission Lean is very much intertwined with an athletic mindset and foundation. I was an All-Ivy tennis player at Harvard and was also an ATP-ranked player on the pro circuit. The co-founder of the company, Lyuda, was a top model for Wilhelmina for 10 years and also appeared on America’s Next Top Model so she knows about what it takes to perform in photo shoots and on the runway.
When you’re aiming to reach peak performance—be it in the sports arena or in a fashion show—you have to hone in on what’s helping you and what’s hurting. Carbs are a great example. Carbs are a must for powering through peak performance training, competition, or a runway show. Without glycogen stores in your muscles, how do you expect to get the most out of your body? You are depleting yourself of one of the most fundamental macronutrients.
At the end of the day, Mission Lean is about combining a logical, well-rounded and healthy diet with targeted, athletic-based workouts. You need to eat for the way you train. It’s a combination of the workouts and diet but when you find the right harmony you can live an optimized, fit, and healthy life. That is our goal. To help people achieve this.
If people want to use the Mission Lean app, how can they get it?
It’s easy. Just go to the Apple Store or the Google Play store and download the “Mission Lean” app onto your phone. You can purchase a subscription right on your phone. But for a limited time, if you use the code “CAL” when you buy a subscription through MissionLean.com, you will get your first month free. On the app there are 10+ fitness programs to choose from, hundreds of workouts, 50+ healthy lifestyle and nutrition coaching videos, and tons of healthy recipes as well as a 3-month lean fitness program and meal plan for all levels—beginner, intermediate as well as advanced. We offer workouts and fitness content for everyone.
This was an interview with Jon Pearlman, the founder of Mission Lean, the leading app for lean fitness. Jon Pearlman is a Harvard grad, former All-Ivy athlete, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He is an ACE-certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist.
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