Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 by Faye

Pre-Wedding Fitness Primer: Get in Shape, Bride!

For brides serious about shaping up before the big day the workout options are endless. Whether you choose group classes, marathon training, a restricted diet, or plain old healthy eating, the two biggest obstacles between you and your ideal bridal body are the time you have and the amount of weight you want to lose.

Regardless of your goals the sentiment should be the same: starting a new life with the man of your dreams off happy and healthy. Look at getting in shape for your wedding not just as a way to look good for one day, but as a healthy start to a new life! This is the perfect time to learn healthy habits, get into a fitness routine, and make activity a part of your life.  Maybe your soon-to-be husband will take part as well!

Start it right!
Strike a balance between your wedding planning duties, new exercise routines, and healthy eating. You will not be able to lose weight in a healthy manner without both diet and exercise, and you won’t be able to diet or exercise if your schedule is too hectic. Use your fitness routine as a balancing tool; block out 20-60 minutes periods, 3-5 times a week, for solo fitness time or a workout date with your soon-to-be!

Evaluate your current eating and activity habits. Do you sit all day at a desk, eat out for dinner, and then watch TV at night? If yes, you will need to seriously increase your physical activity and clean up your eating habits.  Start adding activity slowly; begin with 2 days per week. Once you’ve committed to this routine for two solid weeks, add another day and commit to getting physical 3 days a week. Two weeks into that routine, add another day.  Keep going from there (adding additional days) if 4 days a week won’t get you to your goal. It is better to start small and work your way up (as your fitness improves), as you’re less likely to get burned out.

Involve professionals. Set up a consultation with a nutritionist or your doctor to work on a healthy eating plan for you and your man.  No nearlyweds should be unhealthy! Make certain you’re getting the required vitamins, nutrients, and calories from your diet and that you are physically able to start a fitness routine. There is a fine line between being thin and wasting away. Your goals should reflect a healthy balance. Take a look at our special to onewed workout plan created by Bally Total Fitness expert David Van Daff to get an idea of what your routine might include.  

A great way to gauge what kind of shape you're in today is to calculate your BMI (or body mass index) using the formula below, and see where that number falls in the standard BMI chart.

BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703

Set a goal!
Loosing pounds is the most common goal for brides-to-be, but maybe you want to tone and tighten, look great in a backless dress, or run a 10k race before the big day. No matter what your goals, short or long term, we suggest writing them down in a fitness/diet journal or adding them into your overall wedding planner.

When setting your weight loss goals keep in mind that losing more than six pounds a month is not healthy and will most likely result in gaining all the weight back once the diet stops. You are building a body for your new life, not only for a ten-hour event! Losing fewer pounds, but keeping them off will be better in the end.

Map out a plan!
Once you have your goals, a fitness expert comes into play. Although the initial expense of meeting with a personal trainer may seem high, they are crucial for assessing your fitness level, setting up a long term workout plan, and getting you pumped up! You don’t need to work out every day with a trainer, but periodic check-ins to take measurements, weigh-in, and add new moves to spice up your routine will help keep you motivated.  A trainer can also recommend the best at-home fitness tools for you and specific exercises to get you wedding day ready.

Look at the upcoming months and be honest about when you will be busy. Plan your most intense workout periods around those times. Look into local gyms, are they offering an amazing bridal boot camp in two months that you want to do? Well, sign up for it! Is there a 5k fun run you and your bridesmaids want to participate in? Great, maybe wear matching bridal party t-shirts when you run just for fun! Are you and your groom are going somewhere tropical for the honeymoon? Think about adding in laps at the pool so you can snorkel in the sun without getting too tired for fiestas at night. Does your husband-to-be love video games? If yes, use a system like Nintendo’s Wii for fitness together.

No matter what you choose to participate in, having classes, events, and fun activities on the calendar will increase your likelihood of being active, staying excited about working out, and getting fit. If you like being a part of a group and enjoy working with others, consider joining a program like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers to help guide your weight loss adventure!

General guidelines for any fitness program should include…

1. Drink more water
Always keep a bottle of water on hand. Nutritionists’ agree most of the time when we think we are hungry we’re actually thirsty!

2. Cut out sugary drinks and salty snacks
Considering the fact that few people drink enough water there is almost no reason to drink sodas, sugary sports drinks, or unnatural juices. Replace these beverages with water, coconut water, fresh-    squeezed juice to load up on vitamins, and if you must, diet sodas. Salty snacks rarely fill us up and usually leave us wanting more, so swap them out for a few almonds or veggie sticks to ease hunger pains.

3. Cut out booze
Besides a celebratory drink here and there, drinking only adds calories, makes skin look dull, and gives you a headache the next morning. Treat yourself to one fancy cocktail and call it a night instead of chugging back beers or mixed drinks.

4. Replace carbs with more fruits and veggies
Instead of potato chips in front of the TV snack on fresh cut vegetables or fruit.

5. Eat smaller portions
Almost everyone eats with their eyes and not their stomachs. Put less on your plate to start and you will be surprised at how it will fill you up.

6. Exercise!
Exercise releases endorphins to help deal with stress, puts you in a better mood, increases cardiovascular health, helps lose weight, builds muscle, and well, the list goes on!

7. Reward yourself with pampering
And remember that spa services are calorie free!  Did you work out 5 days in a week? Have you met your first weight loss goal? Awesome! Reward yourself with a spa treat, a day off, or new dress or accessory.

So there you have it!  We hope this fitness primer helps you get on track to look and feel your best when the big day arrives!  And just in case, here are three more articles to help you along the way: