Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weight Training and Michi's Ladder: Weight Loss/Healthy Living for Life!

First and foremost, I'd like to say a big THANKS to Anna, who commented on my last post. If you have a minute, go to the Forks Over Knives post and check out her comment. It's good to hear from someone who has actually reversed disease symptoms with diet! So, thanks Anna. I'm glad to know at least one person is reading!

I'd like to talk a little about weight training.

If you're like me (read: A Girl), you've heard some things your whole life:

Weight training will make you bulky!

If you want to lose weight, cardio is the way to go!

It turns out that women don't need to be afraid of getting bulky, and doing cardio alone isn't the way to your best body. So, I've recently been trying to implement a serious weight-training routine. I've been doing weight training in some form for years now, but I decided that I wanted to develop a plan I could stick to: working different sets of muscles on different days, lifting heavy -- basically, I want to lift like a man.

So, yesterday was Chest/Back. My plan consisted of this:
Bench Press
Dumbbell Flys
Standing cable flys
Dumbbell power row
Seated lat pull-downs
Standing cable pull-downs
Wide-grip row

I'm feeling it today, exactly where I should be feeling it.

Tomorrow's Plan (legs/abs):
Walking Lunges
Running butt kick
Jump squats
Barbell squats
Leg extensions
Leg curls
Jump rope
Standing calf raise
Seated calf raise
Ab crunches
Ab crunches on the ball with dumbbell
Hanging leg raise
Bent over cable crunch

Hopefully this, combined with my running (which I haven't kept up with very well this week!) will really get my butt into shape. My plan is to run the Charleston Distance Run this fall (15 miles), which will be my longest distance. Right before I ran the half-marathon last year, I was doing 10 mile long runs on the weekends, now I can barely run 5 miles at a time. I think weight training will really help with my endurance and leg power.

On to nutrition. Have you heard of Michi's Ladder? This is a really cool concept developed by Beachbody Fitness (they are the people that brought you the P90X and Insanity workouts). Now, typically I'm skeptical of these money-making businesses -- especially fitness companies that make outrageous claims about weight loss ("I lost 20 lbs and 10 inches in 3 weeks!") While Beachbody isn't innocent of that, I do really like the company.

I subscribe to the Beachbody newsletter in my email, and there are ALWAYS vegetarian and vegan recipes available. The workouts REALLY work, too. I'm an Insanity graduate, and while I didn't lose 50 lbs in 3 months, I did lose a significant amount of inches on the program and really saw results.

Anyway, they tout this thing called "Michi's Ladder" -- basically it's a tiered system of foods, and you're supposed to eat as many foods from the top rungs as you can, while either avoiding or sparingly eating the foods from the bottom rungs. I've included a photo of it. I think this kind of visual representation of foods is really simple to grasp, and sometimes nutrition can be confusing. Luckily, most all of the foods that I eat come from the top rungs, so I think I'm doing alright. It's cool because they ask you to substitute foods from the top rung in when you can for foods from the bottom rung. If you stick to it, you WILL lose weight. You WILL feel better, be healthier -- it's that simple!

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