By Dave Smith
Low-Intensity Fat Loss, often referred to as LIFL, is a style of exercise that combines the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with the benefits of low-intensity steady state (LISS) cardio.
(If you're not too familiar with HITT or LISS, check out this in-depth comparison that highlights all the pros and cons of each)
Clearly, HITT and LISS aren't perfect exercise solutions for people who want to lose weight. HITT is far too intense for most people, to the point that it can be quite dangerous. LISS is much safer, but the results it can offer are very limited - at some point it will always lead to a plateau.
This is where Low-Intensity Fat Loss becomes so useful. Keep reading to learn who LIFL is best suited for, how it works, and how you can try it out for yourself.
Where Did LIFL Come From?
Years ago I bought into the "no pain, no gain" mentality of exercise. If I could walk properly the day after a workout, then I hadn't pushed hard enough. Exercise was supposed to hurt. Exercise was supposed to look like this...
And it did hurt...
My first major injury was a hernia, then two knee reconstructions, then a torn rotator cuff... the list kept growing until I finally realized that I was asking too much from my body. I couldn't exercise the way I did when I was 20 years old.
My body breakdown left me searching for a new way to train my clients. After all, if I believed that "go hard or go home" wasn't good for my body, how could I ask them to exercise that way?
The only catch: I had to find a way to exercise more safely while still helping my clients lose weight, get toned, and feel really healthy.
That's when Dina came to me looking for help losing weight. You can read about what happened next here - this was the start of Low-Intensity Fat Loss (LIFL).
Since working with Dina, I have been on a mission to change the way people approach exercise for weight loss. If that's your main goal - if you want to lose weight without killing yourself in the gym, keep reading...
What's Considered "Low-Intensity" When It Comes to LIFL?
The intensity of your workout is best measured by your heart rate. Exercise more intensely and your heart rate goes up. Pretty simple.
LIFL workouts aim for a heart rate that falls somewhere between 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate this, start with 220 and subtract your age. For example, a 40-year-old would get 180 beats per minute (i.e. 220 - 40 = 180) as her max heart rate.
Continuing with this example, a LIFL workout for a 40-year-old would target a heart rate range of 108-126 beats per minute (i.e. 180 x 0.6 = 108 and 180 x 0.7 = 126).
This is more intense than LISS workouts, which usually target 50-60% of your max heart rate, but it is much lower than HIIT, which aims for 80-90% (or even higher) of your maximum.
A LIFL heart rate at 60-70% of your maximum is very manageable for most people. It will feel like a bit of work, but won't leave you feeling like you got hit by a truck for days.
LIFL targets the intensity sweet spot.
What Exercises Work Best for Low-Intensity Fat Loss?
While there is no "one best exercise" for losing weight or for reaching any other fitness goal, there are many workouts that lack important exercises. Incomplete workouts will not only prevent you from getting the best results, but they can also lead you to injury.
The following video is taken directly from my LIFL exercise program. It explains the 6 (+1 bonus) types of exercises that EVERY workout program should include.
Does you routine include all of these types of exercises?
If after watching this video you think your exercise routine might not hit all of the 6 necessary movements, it's time to add some variety into your program. If you need some help putting an improved workout plan together, consider hiring a personal trainer or ask me for some help.
How Often Should You Practice Low-Intensity Fat Loss Exercise?
If you want to lose weight, there are 2 exercise ingredients that will help you achieve your goal: First, you need the right exercise program, one that's appropriately challenging and one that includes all of the exercises outlined in the previous section.
Second and more importantly, you need consistency.
The following video is another tutorial that my clients go through before they begin their new workout routine. It explains the "2% exercise" concept. Take a look...
Would you ever brush your teeth like I explained in that video? Of course not. It just doesn't make sense that you would get better results doing it that way.
The same is true for exercise. You will get the best results when you do LESS but do it consistently. That's why the "2% exercise" approach of LIFL works so well.
How Can I Get Started with LIFL Workouts?
Low-Intensity Fat Loss (LIFL) is something you can begin today. Remember the key ingredients: LIFL = Target heart rate + 6 required movements + 2% exercise. You can do this!
If you'd like help getting started, here's a LIFL program that has already prepared for you. I've taken hundreds of women through this exact program and the results have been amazing. Here's one comment I received recently: