Get into Chic Shape for Your Wedding
Many brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride or groom want to look great in the thousands of photos that will be taken of them on the big day. But big gyms, big contracts and big time commitments aren’t for everyone.
As a personal trainer, I’m starting to notice a trend – especially among women – toward group fitness, with an attainable goal and tangible timeline. Boot Camps are actually becoming quite popular because they embody all those needs. Boot Camp isn’t just for soldiers anymore! It’s for women, especially ones getting ready for a wedding. While the term “boot camp” sounds difficult and grueling, it’s actually a very fun way to get in shape and tone up.
There are many boot camps out there, and with any of them, you’ll likely see a positive change in your fitness level. I’m partial to it, but I know that The Cincinnati Adventure Fitness Boot Camp is popular among women because it is a women-only, four-week, 20-session fitness program. It gives you nutritional education along with the five-day-a-week exercise sessions and before and after evaluations so you can see your progress.
Women who participate usually see between a three and five percent decrease in body fat, lose five to twelve pounds and lose from one to three inches around their middle. But I realize Boot Camps aren’t for everyone, so here are some of my best tips for getting in shape for that big day on your horizon:
Add Fitness into Your Wedding Planning
Your fitness should be just as important as planning for your location, dress, wedding invitations and everything else that goes into your wedding. To look your best on your big day you must create a plan several weeks before the big event. Ideally, give yourself between 12 and 20 weeks of dedicated time for your fitness plan, depending on how much change you want to achieve. In the planning process, set smart goals! To stay on track, make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a target date for each goal’s achievement. For example say, “by March 31, 2008, I will lose six pounds, bringing my body weight down to 137 total pounds.”
Apply the Right Nutrition
One of the most confusing aspects of losing weight is understanding the balance between eating the right foods and in the proper quantities. To keep energy high and blood glucose stable and allow your body to use fat as energy, eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours. Blend lean cuts of protein, whole grain carbohydrates and whole fruits and vegetables. Strive to have a small daily caloric deficit between 400 and 800 calories per day. If your deficit is too large, weight loss often backfires. Of course, eating more calories than you expend will add to your body fat stores. Be careful with what you drink…the average American drinks 450 calories each day, so simply replacing liquid calories with water could lead to a loss of nearly a pound per week!
Work All of Your Muscles Intensely
Focus on compound exercises like squats, presses and pulling movements that work multiple muscles groups to give you the best return for your time. An effective exercise session should not take more than an hour. With the right intensity level, you can even do 30-minute sessions from time to time. When working with your weights, shoot for muscle failure (feeling an intense burn in the muscle) on the final sets of each exercise. Remember, in order for the waist to be slim and the arms to look nice and toned, work them until you feel the burn!
Perform Cardio After Strength Training
Our bodies have two primary sources of energy: blood sugar and body fat. Strength training uses blood sugar and cardiovascular exercise can use either. If you perform your strength training prior to cardio, you’ll have less blood sugar available and more quickly use stored body fat to fuel your cardiovascular exercise. And when doing your cardio, if you can hold a conversation with the person next to you, you’re not working out hard enough. Go hard and reduce your time commitment. Remember, your time is already at a premium with all the other things you have to do to prepare for your special day, don’t waste time with long, unproductive exercise.
Planning a wedding is one of life’s most stressful events! Too much stress leads to significant increases in the hormone cortisol, which in turn causes your body to store extra fat. To counteract the demands of planning the big day, make sure you get plenty of sleep each night, schedule a 20 minute power nap each day, learn relaxation skills or listen to calming music. Regardless, take regular breaks from the intense stress of all of the things you do each day. For a 20 to 30 minute routine that combines strength training, toning and cardiovascular exercise, watch this video.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes
Model: Sarah Katsetos