When your big day is set and fast approaching, it can be easy to get caught up in the serious yo-yo diets trying to get that specific look that you envisioned for your wedding day, but you need to stop right there. We have to start by reiterating again and again that, no matter how you look or think you look, you are gorgeous and are going to be a gorgeous bride. However, we understand wanting to look your best (trust me when I say I understand–it took some unflattering engagement photos of myself to realize I needed to make a long-overdue lifestyle change, starting with less work and more “me” time, ie. yoga) and there’s a healthy way to do that, but, it shouldn’t just be for your wedding day and most certainly shouldn’t be for the person you’re marrying. Whether you’re already relatively active or need someone to start, here are some tried-and-tested ways to get the results you want, even if you’re on a budget. But, first thing’s first…
Make a commitment: Like your impending marriage, this is only going to work if you make a commitment to yourself to change your lifestyle. This doesn’t mean restricting your calories to an unreasonable amount or eating celery until your wedding day (because you will turn into a bridezilla, even if you don’t mean to), but means making conscious and healthy choices like eating well (most of the time) and getting regular exercise, whatever that may be for you.
Be accountable: One of the best ways to stick with something is to hold yourself accountable. This can mean logging what you eat and exercise (not to count calories and all that, but paying attention to what and how much you eat of something is a real eye-opener), checking in with a buddy (highly recommend getting a fit pal–what up KB!) or joining online communities and group challenges.
Schedule it out: This one is fairly self-explanatory, but schedule your exercise time. Put it in your calendar like you would any other meeting and all of a sudden it becomes non-negotiable.
Once you’ve prepared yourself for this change, it’s time to choose your course of action. Everyone is different and every bride is different, but if you’re trying to hit some of the more common “problem areas” that brides have, focus on your arms, back and stomach if you’ve got a fitted dress, but total-body workouts are really going to make the difference to your overall health and well-being. For me, I do total body and targeted workouts, but always throw in a few extra sets for my arms and back.
At-Home Sweat: Don’t have access to a gym or don’t have the budget for costly classes? Welcome to the age of the Internet. If you’re struggling to stay on track, I highly recommend choosing a “challenge,” which has everything from meals and workouts laid out for you to take the thinking and stressing out of the equation, so you can just focus. Some tried-and-tested options are Fit Girls Guide (start with the 28-Day Jumpstart, which comes with recipes for REAL FOOD and once you’ve finished, consider repeating again or trying Fitkini Guide) and Tone It Up (TIU even has videos on their YouTube channel that you can do on your own or when you just have time to squeeze in something quick). If you can shell out the cash for some real-deal videos, Beach Body has some serious programs that do work (they actually do–I’ve done ChaLean Extreme and T-25 a couple times, you just need to stick with both).
Outside Inspiration: If you have the resources, try going to classes. Buying a pass or membership at your favourite studio or gym can be the inspiration you need to actually go, since you’ve already shelled out the cash (and if you’re already planning/paying for your wedding, you know what I mean). For those looking for lengthening and toning results, try hot yoga or barre classes (or pilates if you’re feeling super-strong), or work them into your at-home exercises or weight-training.
Gun Show: You may not want to hear this, but if you’re trying to slim down, weights are actually your best friends and don’t mean bulking up. Even using five-pound weights will help you see results, or try kettlebell exercises for an extra challenge.
Seriously sweaty: Looking for the real deal? Most cities have bootcamp programs and lots of studios actually have bridal-specific challenges and workouts. By having someone yelling at you, you’ll be sure to stay on track.
Cardio is Hardio: (Love that line, thanks Barreworks!) It’s gonna suck at first, but yes, it is necessary. It doesn’t have to mean going for a long run or anything like that (I hate running), but if running is your thing, then DO YOU. This just means getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day, three times a week, whether that’s power-walking, elliptical, dancing around your living room to The Queen–whatever gets you going* (*Unfortunately, sex doesn’t count, though consider it one of those “bonus” calorie-blasting add-ons that you should do whenever you want).
The Wedding Planner is an ongoing series where we give you some real-life wedding planning advice, from finding the dress to dealing with that ever-growing guest list, over the next few months as we figure it out ourselves.