Raise your hand if this phrase has come out of your mouth, “I wish I could lose (5, 10, 20) pounds before the wedding.” Or maybe for you it’s not so much about losing weight, but having Michelle Obama arms in your sleeveless dress?
If you have pre-wedding fitness goals, it might be time to think about talking to a personal trainer.
I recently sat down to talk to Giulia (pronounced Julia) Isetti, owner of Coaching by G in the Chicago area. Giulia is not only a certified personal trainer, and cycling coach, she’s also a former chef and holds a PhD in Chemistry. All in all, she knows quite a lot about fitness, lifestyle, and nutrition. Originally, I wanted to talk to Giulia about how to hire a trainer, but as our conversation progressed, we wound up talking not just about how to hire a trainer to get you in shape, but how to think about getting in shape.
1. Use your wedding as a starting point, not a goal
Attempting to lose a certain amount of weight by your wedding is not a great goal. It may even be counter-productive. Although our culture has changed, our bodies haven’t. So, your body can’t tell the difference between stress over a weight-loss goal, or a work project and stress over the fact that your bronze-age village is experiencing a famine. This means that when you’re stressed, your body will do everything it can to hold on to fat, to keep you alive.
A better goal is to realize that your wedding is the starting point of a new phase of your life. It’s a great time to start new habits, and make a commitment to taking care of yourself. This is especially important if you’re planning on having kids in the future. Women with children have a very hard time finding time for themselves. Try to make a commitment now to doing something healthy for yourself every day.
Hopefully, your fiancé is someone who has your best interests at heart, and helps you be a better you. This is what you want in a trainer, too.
2. Be realistic
If you work very, very hard and watch everything you eat, you may lose one pound a week. But, how much fun does that sound? The most muscle mass anyone has added in a year (this is a good thing, turning fat into muscle) is something like 17 pounds. He was a professional weight lifter. No matter what you do, you probably will not look radically different six months from now. If a trainer promises you that you will lose weight, or re-shape your body, walk (or run if you’re up to it) in the other direction.
3. Focus on the positive
Guess what? Being 20 pounds overweight is not the worst thing in the world. It’s not great, but we all focus on what’s wrong with our bodies and our lives, instead of what’s right with them. The most important thing is to be healthy and strong. You don’t choose your friends based on their bodies, and you don’t love your fiancé more or less if he gains weight, so give yourself the same leeway.
If you’re getting married, you’ve found true love, focus on that, not on what you perceive as your flaws.
4. Join a gym, and use It
Joining a gym is a relatively cost-effective way to start your new habits. Make sure you join a place where you feel comfortable. If you walk into the gym and feel fat, or like you don’t fit in, you won’t go. Most gyms have a ton of free classes, from spinning to step, to dance. Take different classes and see what you like.
5. When hiring a trainer, it’s not all about looks
Giulia says that one of the biggest mistakes she sees people make when hiring a trainer is choosing someone based on his or her body. Just because your trainer has a body you admire, doesn’t mean you can follow his or her instructions and then magically look like him or her. So much of the way our bodies look is about genetics. Also, keep in mind that it’s a large part of your trainer’s job to work out. Unless you plan on being at the gym as much as he or she is, you probably can’t achieve that same look.
6. Ask about certifications
Not all trainers are certified, even if they work in a health club or gym. Ask about certifications and experience before following advice. This is especially true if you have injuries or other issues.
7. Get referrals
If you’ve read any of our other Top Tip articles on hiring wedding vendors, you probably already know this tip. It’s the single most important thing to do, and it’s why OneWed lets you rate and review wedding vendors, even health and fitness providers. If you go to a gym or health club already, this is a great place to start. Watch the trainers and see whose style you like. If you don’t already belong to a gym, or you haven’t seen anyone you like, talk to friends and family, or check out an online referral service. OneWed has some trainers listed under Health and Fitness. In the Chicago area, Giulia recommends using the Personal Trainer Network.
8. Know what you can afford, and be upfront about it
A typical personal trainer will cost between $40-$60/hour. If you’re paying more than that, you’re probably a professional athlete. Knowing what your budget for this is will help your trainer come up with a plan. For example, if you can afford 10 sessions, you might want to meet with the trainer 3 times a week for 3 weeks, then check in a month later. This lets you learn good form, and form good habits.
If you're already a runner, cycler, or swimmer, you might want to consider hiring a coach instead of a trainer. Because a coach can work with you on the phone, or over email, sessions are less expensive.
9. Pay as you go
You should pay for each session as you have it. A legitimate trainer should not attempt to talk you into paying in advance for a package. But, if you’ve worked with someone and know you’re comfortable with him or her, it’s worth asking if you can strike a deal. For example, if you have the money to pay for 17 sessions upfront, your trainer may be willing to throw in 3 sessions for free.
10 . All brides are beautiful
At OneWed we try to remind people that no one will ever know if your napkins are the wrong shade of blue. The same is true for your weight. If you’re happy, you’ll look beautiful.
Thanks again to Giulia Isetti of Coaching by G for her expertise and her wonderful perspective.