Beachbody has been a personal highlight of 2020. It connected me with a fun community of positive, health-conscious individuals who support each other and leave politics and negativity at the door. It gave me access to a wide variety of fitness programs I can do from home. And, each program includes tracking sheets, which offered every bit of positive reinforcement this gold-star-getting, list-checker-offer needs to stick with it and stay on track.
So far this year, I have completed Focus T25 (Alpha Round Twice, Beta Round Once), 21 Day Fix Real-Time + 21 Day Fix Extreme Real-Time, 10 Rounds, and MBF + MBFA. I then started Barre Blend, but struggled to really get into it and wasn’t having as much fun as I had with other programs.
Several people recommended LIIFT4, saying it was one of their all-time favorite programs — and I did love Joel Freeman when doing 10 Rounds, and sort of missed the weight lifting from MBF + MBFA — so I decided to give it a go! That also meant, I needed to secure heavier dumbbells first. So I kept doing Barre Blend while I searched, and after a couple of weeks, I scored some on Facebook marketplace.
The Lowdown On LIIFT4
LIIFT4 is an 8-week Beachbody fitness program that combines weight training and intense cardio to build muscle and burn fat. The blend of lifting and HIIT training that targets your chest, triceps, back, biceps, shoulders, legs, glutes, and core is billed as the “ultimate 4-day-a-week body shred” — and yes, you only workout 4 days each week for 30-40 minutes per day.
The program comes from Joel Freeman who also created 10 Rounds and co-created CORE DE FORCE. He designed each LIIFT4 workout to challenge your body so you can break through plateaus and continue progressing toward your fitness goals. Plus, as a trainer, Joel keeps the vibe light and fun by cracking jokes while remaining serious about form and focus.
LIIFT4 is a “real-time” program, which means every one of the 32 workouts is new and unique. When you’re back to work after a rest day, so is the cast. When you’re sore after leg day, so is the cast. When your shoulders hurt from heavy lifting the day before, the cast has the same complaints.
The LIIFT4 Structure
LIIFT4 consists of two phases of work:
- The first 6 weeks are all about building and defining muscle.
- The last 2 weeks are all about shredding weight and burning calories.
For 8 weeks and 32 workouts, you’ll do strength training and calorie-burning, high-intensity cardio (HIIT) as you LIFT. HIIT. REST. REPEAT.
If you start on a Monday, here’s how your weeks look:
- Monday + Tuesday = Lifting and cardio
- Wednesday = Rest day
- Thursday + Friday = Lifting and cardio
- Saturday and Sunday = Rest days
There are three rest days each week! The rest days give your hard-worked muscles time to recover and repair so you can lift heavier and push yourself harder.
Each day focuses on a specific area of the body like chest/back, shoulders/arms, legs, back/biceps, chest/triceps for 30-40 minutes and for each workout, the mix of what you’re doing changes:
- Some days you’re doing a 50/50 mix — half weightlifting and half cardio
- Some days are all HIIT cardio — your legs will be Jello
- Some days are weight lifting intervals — each set of lifting ends with a round of HIIT
- Some days are circuit training — All lifting and no HIIT, but with a burnout that will challenge you
- All workouts end with abs/core work
There are also two 10-minute stretching and recovery workouts included. One uses a foam roller, which I don’t have, so each week, I did the stretch workout on the Wednesday rest day.
LIIFT4 Pros And Cons
I’ve said it before… I can’t do a review without sharing the pros and cons!
Luckily, for LIIFT4, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I loved this program, and I definitely got stronger and was able to increase my weights throughout the program. I began using primarily 8 lb and 10 lb weights, and I ended using primarily 15 lb and 20 lb weights with a 25 lb weight thrown in every once in a while! I also gained a more defined waist and booty.
Overall, LIIFT4 sticks to simple, efficient, easy-to-follow lifting moves that isolate the muscles being worked and help you get the most out of every workout.
- Joel spends the workout demonstrating moves, correcting cast members’ form, pointing out tips to lift safely and use proper form, counting reps, encouraging you to try increasing your weights, and providing motivation.
- There was also encouragement to lighten the weight being lifted if it negatively affected form and even drop to body weight only if needed. It was refreshing to see ripped guys and strong women push themselves then drop to body weight only to finish the round. It also gave me permission to do the same and still feel great about my progress.
- He constantly asks the cast to share the weight they are lifting. I loved this because I identified with a specific cast member and could align my weights with hers. So when she increased weight, it was a signal that maybe I should too.
- There is a short warm up and light stretching at the end of every workout.
- There is a low-impact modifier to follow if you need it but they’re not always visible on screen. While I haven’t tried it yet because I use my Apple TV to stream the workouts, I have heard that through the Beachbody app, you can choose “modification mode” to keep the modifier on screen.
- HIIT kicks your butt. Seriously. So does the ab work, even though it’s short.
LIIFT4 requires a variety of dumbbells. They claim you can do the program with resistance bands instead, but really, you do need dumbbells. So if you don’t have any, you may have to delay getting started like I did while you hunt some down!
Other than that, there were really only two main things I might call “cons:”
- Unlike 10 Rounds where Joel is boxing and working with you, in LIIFT4, he’s the trainer and doesn’t “do” the workout. So the Beachbody promo pictures are misleading — there is no shirtless Joel lifting along with you 😉
- I missed the music from MBF + MBFA! LIIFT4 has Spotify playlists you can use, but it’s not quite the same.
- I sometimes felt like I wasn’t getting enough cardio and even though I was lifting heavy (for my fitness level), I wasn’t getting super sweaty… and weirdly, I have sort of started craving that dripping in sweat feeling. Three rest days also felt like too many rest days!
My craving for sweaty cardio and the extra rest days had me supplementing LIIFT4 with cardio workouts from other Beachbody programs. On days with no HIIT, I doubled up and did one LIIFT4 workout and one Barre Blend workout. I also did a T25 cardio workout or Barre Blend workout on two of the three rest days. This combination really felt great and still gave my muscles a bit of a break. Plus, it helped me finish Barre Blend!
If You Have Dumbbells, Give LIIFT4 A Try!
As someone who isn’t super experienced in the fitness realm and in weight lifting, I really like Joel Freeman as a trainer and that he takes time to explain and demonstrate the moves and help ensure you’re using the proper form. I also like that his programs are a good balance between serious work and lighthearted fun.
If you push yourself, lift heavy, drop down when you need to, and go all-in, you’ll see great results from this program.
The great thing is that other than dumbbells, the only thing you need to get started is a Beachbody On Demand (BOD) subscription that costs far less than a gym membership — and you can do it at home.
Now, along with my workouts, I follow Ultimate Portion Fix off and on (2B Mindset, their other nutrition program, wasn’t a fit for me) and drink Shakeology (with added veggies) nearly every day. You, however, need to do your homework and do what works best for you, your goals, and your budget.
If you’re curious about LIIFT4, Shakeology, what program would be best to get started with, how the Beachbody nutrition programs work, or anything else, I’m happy to have a quick chat, share my experience, or answer questions with zero pressure, zeros sales pitch, and no obligations.